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From Repression to Healthy Expression

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. Today we're going to talk about how to shift repression of emotions to healthy expression of emotions. So repression of emotions can sometimes be actually difficult to identify because it can feel like a subtle irritability, resentment, low mood. Maybe even shows up as fatigue sometimes. Sometimes we're aware of a kind of stuffing down of something or keeping something in.

But other times we may not realize that we're suppressing something. Either way, by pushing down our difficult emotions, we only prolong and deepen them. And we've probably all had times when repressed emotions suddenly come out in really reactive, really unhelpful ways that we often regret later. In fact, I remember once I came to work after a difficult weekend, and I realized that one of my colleagues had taken the credit for some work that we actually did together the week prior. And I felt all of this anger surfacing towards her, but I was feeling tired and I just didn't want any confrontation.

I didn't want to deal with it. So I pushed my emotions down and just said a very cold hello to her and sat down to work. I tried not to think about it, but for days this irritation and anger just kept simmering inside me and I kept being very stony in my communication with her. Have you ever had a similar scenario to this? So I was always particularly prone to repressing anger. It's something I still work on.

But mindfulness has taught me over the years to notice and acknowledge when difficult emotions arise, and it's taught me how to honestly face my emotions and then I can work with them more skillfully. So what might that look like? Well, for me personally, now, instead of repressing anger, if it arises toward someone, I pause and take a deep breath and acknowledge what I'm feeling and thinking. And I also acknowledge what it is that I'm needing or wanting in that situation. So for instance, in the example, above with my old coworker, I really wanted to be treated fairly. I wanted my work to be acknowledged.

So whatever the situation, once we've become mindful of our emotions and honestly checked in with what we're feeling and needing, we're well-placed to have a clear, calm and kind conversation with the other person about any issues, or if that's not needed, we can work to find our own ways to meet our needs. For instance, a feeling like loneliness, instead of being repressed could be listened to and honored. And that can be a catalyst to going to find more connection in our lives. That's a healthy response to that emotion, a healthy expression, a seeking of connection. So repressing our emotions, when it comes down to it, really doesn't work.

They don't go away when we numb them, push them down or try to ignore them. They're actually still there and they'll probably stay there until we acknowledge them and find out what they may have to teach or show us. So the invitation for today and ongoing is to let go of stuffing things down or sweeping them under the rug and practice, listening to the difficult emotions when they arise, bring mindfulness and compassion to them, and shift your repression to healthy expression. As always, thank you for your practice and your presence here with us. And now let's settle in for today's meditation.

Melli O'Brien

4.6

From Repression to Healthy Expression

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. Today we're going to talk about how to shift repression of emotions to healthy expression of emotions. So repression of emotions can sometimes be actually difficult to identify because it can feel like a subtle irritability, resentment, low mood. Maybe even shows up as fatigue sometimes. Sometimes we're aware of a kind of stuffing down of something or keeping something in.

But other times we may not realize that we're suppressing something. Either way, by pushing down our difficult emotions, we only prolong and deepen them. And we've probably all had times when repressed emotions suddenly come out in really reactive, really unhelpful ways that we often regret later. In fact, I remember once I came to work after a difficult weekend, and I realized that one of my colleagues had taken the credit for some work that we actually did together the week prior. And I felt all of this anger surfacing towards her, but I was feeling tired and I just didn't want any confrontation.

I didn't want to deal with it. So I pushed my emotions down and just said a very cold hello to her and sat down to work. I tried not to think about it, but for days this irritation and anger just kept simmering inside me and I kept being very stony in my communication with her. Have you ever had a similar scenario to this? So I was always particularly prone to repressing anger. It's something I still work on.

But mindfulness has taught me over the years to notice and acknowledge when difficult emotions arise, and it's taught me how to honestly face my emotions and then I can work with them more skillfully. So what might that look like? Well, for me personally, now, instead of repressing anger, if it arises toward someone, I pause and take a deep breath and acknowledge what I'm feeling and thinking. And I also acknowledge what it is that I'm needing or wanting in that situation. So for instance, in the example, above with my old coworker, I really wanted to be treated fairly. I wanted my work to be acknowledged.

So whatever the situation, once we've become mindful of our emotions and honestly checked in with what we're feeling and needing, we're well-placed to have a clear, calm and kind conversation with the other person about any issues, or if that's not needed, we can work to find our own ways to meet our needs. For instance, a feeling like loneliness, instead of being repressed could be listened to and honored. And that can be a catalyst to going to find more connection in our lives. That's a healthy response to that emotion, a healthy expression, a seeking of connection. So repressing our emotions, when it comes down to it, really doesn't work.

They don't go away when we numb them, push them down or try to ignore them. They're actually still there and they'll probably stay there until we acknowledge them and find out what they may have to teach or show us. So the invitation for today and ongoing is to let go of stuffing things down or sweeping them under the rug and practice, listening to the difficult emotions when they arise, bring mindfulness and compassion to them, and shift your repression to healthy expression. As always, thank you for your practice and your presence here with us. And now let's settle in for today's meditation.

Melli O'Brien

4.6

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