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Expressing and Releasing Emotions Safely

The information below is not to be taken as professional advice or direction. Application of this information is solely at your discretion. Consultation with a counsellor is highly recommended. Phone 07 34581735/0409272115

An emotion is defined by dictionary.com as

  1. an affective state of consciousness in which joy, sorrow, fear, hate, all the like, is experienced, as distinguished from cognitive and volitional states of consciousness

  2. any of the feelings of joy, sorrow, fear, hate, love, etc

  3. any strong agitation of the feelings exceeds waited by experiencing love, hate, fear, etc and usually accompanied by certain physical logical changes such as increased heartbeat or respiration, and often over manifestation, as crying or shaking

Emotions have the potential to interfere with the daily functioning of life and if we don’t have time to smell the roses we certainly don’t have time to work out what to do with emotions.

Many people are concerned that if they start expressing their emotions, then they will somehow completely overpower them to the point of making them seem weak or rendering them incapable of functioning. But emotions require expression so how do we do that in a way which is not can cripple us.

Firstly, we need to understand what happens should we give expression to an emotion. We need to understand that emotion is not going to overpower us and break us. The scariest thing about expressing emotions is the way that they seem to build as we give expression to them.

The best understanding that helped me to realise that emotions when expressed don’t get out of control was when I understood that emotions were like waves.

As a wave approaches the shoreline, it first appears as a mound of water moving towards the beach. The mound of water is the wave that surfers catch. As the wave starts to move closer towards the shore, we see it mound up and peak before breaking and continuing to roll towards the shore. When it reaches the shore is nothing more than shallow water racing up the sand before the sea pulls it back into itself.

Emotions expressed are like this they start off as a little mound, but as we express them, they seem to build up and build up before finally breaking and dissipating. Emotions expressed will reach a peak and then fall away.

The best way I know to express an emotion is to go into a room by myself and give voice to how I feel. There is no one else in the room who can argue with me as to the right or wrong of my feelings, they just exist. And if something’s happened to me that really hurts I’m entitled to say, “that really hurts, that sucks” and so on. I have a right to feel the way I feel. I have a right to have a “pity party”. The important thing is that once I’ve had it, I don’t stay there.

Safely expressing emotions is a powerful thing. If you don’t the only other choice is to lock them in the basement. If you want to know what happens when you do that see the article “the Origins of Anger”.

© StartPoint Counselling 2018

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