How Our Bodies Store Repressed Emotions

How Our Bodies Store Repressed Emotions

Last update: 15 September, 2020

Do we really know what’s happening in our minds? Do we know ourselves? Can we control what happens inside us so that it doesn’t negatively affect those around us? Do we really know what we feel and how we feel it in each moment? Understanding our repressed emotions can be the most powerful weapon to help us understand our behavior. 

Since the late 20th century, the study of neuroscience has been focusing on the relationship between the brain and our emotions. How we feel has taken on the importance it always deserved. Emotions are no longer simple automatic reactions. They’ve begun to have scientific relevance.

A new idea also emerged: that it’s necessary to teach people how to identify, understand, and manage their emotions in order to prevent repressed emotions from guiding their behavior.

“Each repressed emotion will stealthily leave its imprint on our behavior through emotional patterns that decide for us.”

-Elsa Punset-

That’s why we currently place so much importance on understanding our repressed emotions. This way, we’ll get to  know ourselves and identify what happens inside us. It’ll also allow us to manage our emotions and act in favor of how we feel.

You can begin to understand yourself by understanding your repressed emotions.

Understanding our repressed emotions helps us understand our identity

To know what happens inside you is to know yourself. Repressed emotions are those that we don’t want to listen to or try to ignore. However, they’re the ones that end up directing our behaviors and thoughts.

“What you deny submits to you. Everything that happens to us, properly understood, leads us to ourselves.”

-Carl Jung-

Understanding our emotions gives us the opportunity to know why we act in one way or another. Everyone filters situations according to their feelings, which is why everyone acts in different ways. Our experiences lead us to see the world in a special and unique way. Each situation generates different emotions inside us. That’s why knowing ourselves leads us to understand how we act.

When we suppress emotions like anger, let ourselves get carried away by fear, don’t allow ourselves to be sad, or feel we don’t have control over our pain, we give way to an independent functioning of un-managed emotions. This is when emotions speak for themselves through our actions.

Stanford University conducted a study on emotions. It revealed that individuals with a tendency to repress their feelings reacted with a much greater physiological activation in trigger situations than others who, for example, showed anxiety or anger.

For this reason, it’s also normal for those individuals who don’t express their feelings or who have much more difficulty doing so to have more somatic problems such as muscular tension, headaches, skin reactions, or complicated illnesses. Their emotions find ways to be channeled in less functional ways.

A woman and a key.

The memory of both body and mind

Sometimes we face situations and react in ways that surprise us. This occurs through the memory of our experiences, which we integrate either consciously or unconsciously. When we repress our emotions, we don’t process them. We allow them to creep into our memory without realizing it.

Our job is to know what happens and what we feel at each moment. If we don’t know how to identify emotions, then we won’t be able to manage them. Therefore, the first step is to be aware of our emotions and give them a voice when they ask to speak. If we don’t do this, we end up repressing our emotions and allowing them to act autonomously.

When we know what we feel, we can shape our emotions and try to digest them. When we listen to ourselves, we can understand and manage our behavior in order to act in an integrated and understandable way. Only when we give our repressed emotions a voice can we begin to understand our true identity.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.