The Dangers of Emotional Constipation

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Holding Back Our Emotions

For most people, we hold back our emotions. In today’s busy society, it makes sense that we may want to hold back our emotions, ESPECIALLY the ones that are more “shameful” to carry. Emotions such as anger, rage, depressions, grief, disappointment, and anxiety. On the other hand, some people mask the positive emotions as well (i.e. love, intimacy, joy) because they can also be a scary thing to carry and we are afraid of other’s judgments.

Emotional Build Up

Through months and months of emotional disregard, people often develop what some dynamic psychology theorists fondly refer to as “emotional constipation”. This means, we can experience a buildup of unprocessed emotions in our systems that need an outlet. When we are “emotionally constipated” and also hold back on expressing our emotions, we often look to alleviate the stress of holding everything in with something that gives us comfort. This is because the act of suppressing emotions is literally physiologically stressful on the body and mind. Similar to holding it in when you need to use the restroom, it can be very stressful, it’s unnecessary, unnatural, and can really hurt us. 

Holding Back Our Emotions Causes Stress

Stress that comes from emotional constipation always seeks an outlet. One of the most socially accepted and common outlets people find comfort in is food. Oftentimes, binge eating, emotional eating, and overeating are all signs that our emotions are seeking an outlet. Our feelings need attention and processing, and when they aren’t getting that attention, they can orchestrate acting out through our eating behaviors to get our attention in a big way. Feelings are meant to be felt. When we allow this natural process, often times are eating concerns can begin to resolve in an easier, more natural way. 

How to Let Go of our Emotions

So how do we remedy “emotional constipation”? FEEL your feelings. Be honest about them. Let them be. Be curious about them. Contemplate what may be beneath them. Listen to what they are asking for. Even hatred and jealousy can provide insight into what we are really seeking and what personal boundaries we feel are being violated. When we are able to understand, embrace and let go of our emotions, we are not controlled by them. Feeling our feelings results in clearer emotional avenues. It also creates better relationships with ourselves and ultimately, food.

Questions? I’d be happy to answer them via email here or give me a call at (316) 201-6047.