- Joe White
Bottled Up Emotions
Updated: May 7, 2021
Isn’t it great to be able to get up, get dressed, grab that amazing breakfast, say have a great day to your loved one and head off to a job you absolutely love with co-workers whom you always chat with and a boss who constantly praises everything you do? I mean we all have that perfect job, right? Yeah, not so much. Not all jobsare perfect. Some people dread heading to work or constantly feel anxious because they don’t know what they will expect during that day. Take John for example. John has been going through a difficult time at work because he works in a high stressed job. He constantly second guesses himself and is always worried about making mistakes. There was one day that John was so stressed that he ended up lashing out at one of his co-workers,which nearly turned into a fist fight. John ended up getting written up by his boss,and John felt so embarrassed for his behaviour.
John’s experience not only affected him at work, but it also affected his personal life. His job constantly made him think about his self-confidence and his self-worth. It also triggered memories of John’s childhood where he was constantly ridiculed as a kid. John never shared his childhood experience with anyone as he was the type of person who would keep his feelings to himself. However, the problem with keeping your thoughts and feelings bottled in often leads to a sudden explosion. Think of a coke bottle and every time a bothering incident occurs, you shake that coke bottle. What happens eventually? So, no surprise that John lashed out at his co-worker. When we keep our emotions to ourselves, they can also trigger other emotions towards ourselves or others. Emotions like irritability, fatigue, anxiety or nervousness. For John, he sometimes would feel irritable towards his wife and kids, and, at times, he has been known to snap at them.
That sudden snap can help release that anger that’s bottled in, but at what cost? John hated lashing out at his family. It may have helped in releasing that anger, but it’s not always the best form of support we’re looking for. It’s common to have frustrations, anger, stress and irritation and it’s helpful to release all those emotions. However, there are healthier ways to get rid of that buildup of emotions. Ask yourself what usually helps you release that anger? For some it’s exercising like walking, running, swimming or working out. For others it’s starting a new hobby like drawing, painting, cooking, or playing an instrument. There are other strategies like starting a journal or having coffee with your friends. When doing any these, what differences do you notice about yourself? Would you be happier? How do you know you’re happy? What would your loved ones see differently in you?
Reaching out to a loved one, a family member, a friend plays an important role in our mental well-being. Having a conversation about your thoughts and feelings is another useful way of releasing those emotions. If you are too embarrassed to speak to someone you know, then I recommend reaching out to a third party like a counsellor, someone with a non-bias opinion and who is there to listen without judgement.