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Some people consider themselves strong if they don’t cry easily. They think that showing emotion might make them weak, that revealing how they truly feel about situations will only upset other people and themselves. Suppressing emotions typically conveys that a person is “strong” — strong enough to stand in the face of stress and weather any storm — but it actually has several adverse effects on the human body and mind. Here are a few reasons you shouldn’t bottle up your feelings.
1. Your Emotions Worsen
Ignoring your feelings won’t make them go away. When you ignore your feelings, they’re left to fester, and you might harbor hatred or grudge after a time of neglecting yourself. You might find that your emotions become more polarizing and sour. It’s best to talk about your emotions with someone as soon as possible so you can avoid a darker headspace.
2. You Can’t Live in the Moment
Bottling things up forces you to live outside the moment. Instead of spending precious time with loved ones, you’ll focus on what’s wrong and likely be unable to think of anything else. You may not get to see your loved ones often — so spending as much time with you can, fully aware of the moment, is crucial.
When you aren’t feeling well, you might turn to distractions. Unfortunately, distracting yourself from the problem and letting it fester only makes things worse and adds more stress to you. Plus, it takes time away from the people you love. When you keep your emotions to yourself, to a hindering degree, you take away the chance of you having fun and others bonding with you.
3. Happiness Is Hard to Come By
You might find it increasingly difficult to be happy when you keep stewing over your negative emotions. Suppressing emotions is more detrimental than you might think, especially if it hinders you from enjoying the little things in life. A day of self-care might be just the thing to reset your stress levels and help boost your mood. Look for the small things that make you happy every day. Remember to stay grateful for what you have, and in the rough times, that gratitude can help you find just a glimmer of happiness on an otherwise dark day.
4. You’ll Gain Weight
Gaining weight isn’t the worst thing in the world, especially when compared to several of these other adverse side effects, but it can be a slippery slope for those with darker mental states. Some people might rationalize it as everything is spiraling out of control in their life, even their weight.
Weight fluctuates due to several factors, though — and it’s not as important as your mental state. If you start to notice side effects of stress and suppressing emotions that you don’t like, work to open up about how you’re feeling. Then, you can work on improving your life little by little — and whether that entails losing weight or simply ensuring you eat healthily is up to you.
5. You Add Stress
When you contain all of your emotions inside yourself, you add stress on your body. Dealing with issues alone can take a toll on you over time. Talking to someone about your emotions and problems can help you understand more about yourself and the things you’re feeling.
Stress can affect several bodily functions. In addition to physical pain as a result of being too stressed, you might find that your mental state and behavior change to help you cope with your stress. Irritability and snapping are part of these ways your brain, body and behavior try to cope, so it’s not always healthy or effective for you or anyone around you. The best way to deal with stress is to take care of yourself by any means possible, and that means by acknowledging your emotions, positive or negative.
6. Your Immune System Weakens
As a result of stress, your immune system may not work as well as it once did. Immune systems weaken when people are distressed, and if you find your negative emotions affecting you so adversely, you’re likely more susceptible to illnesses. Make sure to take vitamins and supplements to boost your immune system when you’re under massive stress. Dealing with your emotions is one of the easiest ways to decrease your stress, especially when much of it comes from another source, like work, school or home life.
7. Shorter Lifespan
While it might not be a direct link, people who suppress their emotions might lead shorter lives than those who express them healthily. These risks of an earlier death, including a higher chance of developing cancer, likely come from not expressing yourself and your emotions. Bottling up your emotions could lead to several factors that shorten your life, even if you’re unaware of them. Suppressing emotions is never a good thing to do, so you should strive to care for yourself and acknowledge how you feel, even if it may not be how you want to feel.
Suppressing Emotions Is Never Good
While some people may think it makes them tough not to talk about their emotions, they have to have an outlet of some sort, or their feelings will explode over time. You can only bottle so many things up for so long. One way or another, they’ll come out — possibly explosively. To save yourself and the others around you some hurt, work on learning to avoid suppressing emotions. You’ll feel like a healthier person overall, and you might avoid these adverse side effects.
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