How to release repressed emotions and overcome feeling numb

release repressed emotions
Photo by Domingo Alvarez E on Unsplash

Have you ever heard the saying, “fake it till you make it?” That means pretending things are already the way you wish they could be. The belief here is that reality will catch up if you keep your mindset right.

But refusing to release repressed emotions can wreak havoc on your system. Neglecting to tell the truth about negative circumstances has been proven to heighten anxiety and increase the chance of developing a disease.

Contrary to popular opinion, we can’t think ourselves into a better situation by ignoring the way we feel. Denying reality causes cognitive dissonance. Our bodies know the truth even while our minds are singing ‘la-la-la’.

If you’ve had a lifelong habit of repressed emotions, it will take some work to release them. Here are 5 ways to stop feeling numb and start feeling authentically.

1. Acknowledge repressed emotions.

When unpleasant feelings come up, notice them rather than pushing them away. Resist the urge to judge whatever you’re feeling and simply pay attention to the feeling itself.

See if you can name the feeling. For those of us used to avoiding emotions, naming how we feel can be challenging. Are you sad, angry, irritated, confused?

Noticing rather than judging or feeling shame over your feelings helps you see yourself as separate from them. You are not your feelings; you have feelings.

2. Listen to what they’re telling you.

Emotions are not inconvenient obstacles for us to dodge and run away from. Our feelings carry important information that can help us change our lives for the better.

Our feelings carry important information that can help us change our lives for the better. Click To Tweet

If you’re wondering why your quality of life never improves, it’s possible you’re struggling with repressed emotions. Anger and sadness can feel intense, but that’s because they’re working to get our attention.

Anger can tell us what needs to change in our lives. Have you considered that PMS symptoms might carry signals about what’s not working in your life?

Sadness can offer us much-needed time alone to reflect on our inner world. To go deep inside and see what we need to nurture ourselves.

3. Respond positively to repressed emotions.

release repressed emotions

We’re used to pushing our feelings aside to get on with things. Rather than listening to their messages, we treat them like intrusions on our real lives.

Try responding to those repressed emotions by checking in with yourself. What is the underlying need this emotion is bringing to your attention?

What is the underlying need this emotion is bringing to your attention? Click To Tweet

Is it self care in the form of some time alone? This could be a simple retreat to a quiet space for some deep breathing. Or it might be asking for a few days away.

Check in with your body and what it needs right now. Wrap yourself in a hug or take a warm bath. Make a nice cup of tea, or journal your frustrations in a notebook. The possibilities are endless and simple.

4. Go for a walk.

More than the obvious benefits of exercise, walking can help release repressed emotions. The forward stride and side-to-side eye movements when we walk have healing effects.

Some PTSD treatments incorporate moving the eyes from side to side. Going for a walk can emulate this treatment and bring calming relief.

That’s why returning from a walk can feel like you’ve untangled a mess in your head. The emotions have moved from overwhelming to manageable.

5. Watch a sad movie to release repressed emotions.

Have you ever felt like you wanted a good cry but couldn’t get the tears to come out? As someone who used to suffer with repressed emotions, I put my hand up for this one.

To help process my sadness and get the tears out where they belonged, I’d watch a moving film. A quick Google search should bring up a list of qualified choices.

Sometimes, we’ve been dealing with repressed emotions for a lifetime. It makes sense if we need a little help to get those feelings out. Sometimes that help comes in the form of characters in a sentimental storyline.

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