The fact that you're still standing is an achievement on its own. Don't give up on yourself and instead find a way to make yourself happy.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on January 24, 2020. It has since been updated.
For so long, from childhood, we have been told to constantly suppress our feelings and to not let anyone know of our inner turmoil, especially by our parents. It was taught to us that we had to bottle up our emotions, pick ourselves up and move on as if nothing had happened. But at some point, as adults, those years of tamped down emotions started to slip out of that fragile box we had created and that outpour threatened to wreck our daily lives.
From constantly going through life, somewhat unfeelingly, to suddenly having no outlet for our overwhelming emotions, it affected our relationships and our inner peace. And this, in turn, led to us feeling depressed and suffering mental health issues, something that was pointed out to us through various studies. We needed to express our emotions in order to feel better. One such example was a study published in the International Journal of Psychotherapy Practice and Research which stated the following: "...it is clear that expressing one’s true emotions and the feeling[s] is crucial to physical health, mental health, and general well being, while a reliance on concealment gives rise to a barrier to good health."
But while some may find that outlet, not all of us can even recognize what we're feeling. And certainly, not all of us can figure out what to do when we're feeling so emotionally overwhelmed. However, asking yourself these five pertinent questions may just help you wrest back some control and make you feel able to experience your emotions in a better way:
Our minds and bodies are quite connected. When we feel anxiety, our hearts start to race and our hands become clammy. So when you're starting to feel overwhelmed by emotions, ask yourself how your body is reacting. Do you feel breathless, feel like crying, feel like your heart is about to burst out of your chest? Emotionally, are you angry, anxious, jealous? Being able to recognize these can actually help you gain some control and remove yourself from the situation to find some calm and peace.
How you physically respond to someone can give you a clue to your behavior. Trying to remember what someone said to you and how you felt at the time can also help you look back and see if there needs to be a change. If it offended or angered you, then a quick recap can aid you in really figuring out if what they said was harmless but the tone they had was what triggered you.
Are you trying to fulfill someone's real or imagined expectations? If yes, whose? What about a particular situation actually matters to you? By questioning your own beliefs, you give yourself the opportunity to evaluate your feelings. In turn, identifying these stressors can help you avoid them in the future or give you a solution to keep it from leaving you overwhelmed again.
In the heat of the moment, you might not realize the emotions flowing through you or even recognize them. But by constantly looking back, even if you're just tired and want to move on, you allow yourself to see patterns in your responses. Do you feel like you're constantly receiving criticism that makes you want to break down? Do loud or raised voices make you flinch and feel afraid? When someone is late to meet you, do you feel like you're just not important? Recognizing this pattern can do a lot in your healing process.
After answering all these questions, you should ask yourself this last one. Because at the end of the day, only you know what will truly make you feel happy. Whether it's talking to a friend you trust, writing your emotions and rants in a journal or even just going for a walk, this thing that is purely yours can help you fight the overwhelming feelings and give you the courage to take the steps to heal yourself.
Cry if you want because this is never easy for someone to handle on their own. But you aren't alone and you are important to one or more people. However, at the end of the day, you also need to matter to yourself and talking to someone about these emotions in the form of a release can do so much for your healing. You deserve to feel happy and not like you're spiraling into darkness. You deserve better.
Disclaimer: This article is based on insights from different sources. The views expressed here are those of the writer.