Human beings are emotional creatures, we tend to live a large part of our lives being governed by our emotions. Sometimes, we even sacrifice our rationality for the sake of gratifying our emotions. However, some of us are more comfortable expressing them than others. It could be that they don’t want to be perceived as emotionally needy. And they don’t want others to think that they cannot handle the problems of the real world. It could also be that they don’t feel comfortable being vulnerable in front of others. Whatever the case may be, the end result is that they become frustrated.
If you think that frustration is the only side-effect of bottling up your emotions, my friend you are gravely mistaken. In fact, suppressing your emotions wreaks havoc on your body in ways you can’t even imagine. Before you start panicking, let us read about the ways in which they affect your body, so you can be aware of them and prepare beforehand.
1. Losing Out On The Benefits Of The Cuddle Hormone
You must be familiar with the warm sensation that floods our bodies when we hug a friend. Ever wondered why the jaadu ki jhappi made you feel that way? Well, it is because the act of hugging causes our body to release a hormone called oxytocin, also known as the cuddle hormone (1). This hormone is a magical ingredient inside our body; from helping new mothers’ bond with their baby, managing stress levels, to pain management, it does it all. So, when you suppress your emotions and don’t express them for the fear of appearing extra sensitive, you lose out on the benefits of this magical hormone.
2. It Messes With Your Gut Health
Have you ever felt a loss of appetite before exams? Do you remember feeling nauseous before an important meeting or an interview? These situations when your stomach is in knots is indicative of your mental state. Researchers have even found a link between people suffering from chronic constipation and anxiety (2). In fact, your brain and your gut work in very close association with each other. So much so that even a single thought about food can signal your gut to produce the digestive juices. Now, if your brain is working overtime to suppress your emotions or contain them, it ends up affecting your gut in a negative manner. So, you better let go of that anger, if you want to have a pleasant experience on the pot.
3. It Causes Your Weight To Fluctuate
This is no secret that one of the most common ways of dealing with emotions is binge eating. This ‘emotional eating’ doesn’t necessarily satisfy your hunger, but it is a way of dealing with negative emotions and maintaining a happy mood (3). We opt for comfort foods which are often unhealthy and loaded with oodles of calories. This ‘emotional eating’ becomes a perfect way of expression for those of us who prefer bottling up their emotions, but at the cost of our weight. So, the next time you want to gorge on that packet of chips just because it feels good, pause and analyze that there might be more going on in your head than what meets the eye.
4. Your Heart Might Be At Risk
Scrolling through this list you might have realized that suppressing your emotions is never going to be good news, though it might seem like an easy way out. Since it affects our body largely in a negative way, it’s no surprise that the heart also becomes a target. Some researchers have found that apart from major factors such as lack of exercise, smoking, etc., your everyday stress is also a major factor contributing to heart issues (4). Not only that, in some cases, they have found that victims of a heart attack had a history of depression (5). All the more reason for you to let the emotions flow, right?
5. Your Cortisol Levels Might Be Out Of Whack
Cortisol is the body’s stress hormone. It is responsible for maintaining the body’s fight-or-flight response. It also regulates a lot of bodily functions such as its blood pressure, energy supply to the body to respond in times of crisis, etc. (6). Now that we have established how crucial cortisol is for the functioning of our body, you can only imagine what happens if there is an imbalance of this hormone. If you are stressed for a longer period of time, your cortisol levels would not get back to normal level and this affects the body adversely with a number of side effects such as weight gain, memory issues, etc.
Remember, you do not have to justify your emotions to anyone. If you are feeling overwhelmed, just find a healthy outlet for those emotions so that at the end of the day, there is nothing weighing you down. Not to sound morose, but suppression of emotions has also been linked to an early death (7). We don’t want to be a bottle full of emotions ready to explode, after all, we are here to have a gala time. If you have any thoughts or suggestions to manage your emotions, share them in the comments below.
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