Part of living with depression and anxiety means that sometimes, my emotions are…heightened. I don’t always know the reasoning behind it, but there are a lot of emotions I feel more intensely than I’d like to feel. I know a part of this is my empathetic nature, part of it is life and part of it is just in my personality, but it can be tricky. I don’t always know what to do with my emotions – and in some situations, this can get in the way of being mentally healthy.
I’ve written before about why it’s not very healthy to push our emotions down – instead, it’s better to feel how we feel and say what we need to say so that things don’t get bottled up. When you bottle up emotions, it’s almost inevitable that they spill out, and it isn’t always pretty.
But even though I don’t want to bottle things up, I also don’t want to spill out every emotion in real time as it happens. I like to be more reserved with my words and actions, which often means holding on to emotions for a little while. And often, this is the part that I struggle in doing.
Unfortunately, I also don’t know if I have a great answer to this question. Instead, my goal when I feel like this to work on self-validation – validating my own feelings and emotions in order to understand that it’s okay to feel how I feel. And for people who struggle with worth issues, validating your own experience isn’t as easy as it might be for others.
And this is what it comes down to for me. I spend so much time thinking: thinking about my thoughts, thinking about my emotions, analyzing everything I feel until my brain is pounding. And in that moment, that’s not what my emotions need. My emotions need to be recognized and validated, and I’m the only one who can get that done. They don’t need to be thought about – they just need to be acknowledged and considered. That might not sound like a big difference, but it can be eye-opening in the way I control my feelings and emotions.
So, what should we do with our emotions? Do we say how we feel in the moment, or do we hold on to those feelings? Every person is different, but in my experience I’ve seen the most success when a person works through understanding their emotions – however long that takes – before sharing those feelings with others. It takes a bit of foresight and isn’t always easy but in my experience, it’s led to regulating my emotions with more success than I’ve ever had before. I’d like to improve even more at regulating my emotions and understanding my feelings but for now, it’s an effective way for me to manage my anxious feelings in as healthy of a way as possible.
Feelings and emotions are often very frustrating, but everyone is different in how we handle them. Is it better for you to get those emotions out ASAP? Or is it better for you to hold on to them for awhile? Let me know in the comments!