We spend a lot of time suppressing and controlling emotion but there are a lot of very good reasons to invite it into our lives.
Reason #1: It provides a physical release for pressures stored up inside. Imagine a balloon that never releases any pressure or a boiling pot on the stove that can't let off steam.
Reason #2: It removes blockages. Unexpressed emotion stores itself as distressing mental or physical energy. It can make our brains feel scrambled and our bodies feel tense. Why not just let it go?
Reason #3: It bridges forward motion. With emotions blocked up inside, it makes it more difficult to move forward. Once we release an emotion, there is the possibility for thinking more clearly, and perhaps, moving forward on a given issue.
So you want to release some emotion? You have some choices. It can be pretty or it can be really ugly when it happens.
There are at least three options from which to choose:
Option #1: "Explosion" Method (Not recommended.)
This can happen unexpectedly when we store emotion without giving it a proper and regular release. Ever experienced the shock of a balloon pop? Ever seen a balloon flying all over the room? You don't want that to be your emotions. It could get very messy. Avoid at all costs!
Option #2: "Pinched Release" Method (Better than nothing.)
It's better than no release at all but, let's face it, it's not pretty either. Imagine releasing air from a balloon while you stretch the "blow hole" real tight. Hear that loud screeching sound? You don't want it to be you. I suppose "Pinched Release" is, ultimately, better than no release at all, but nobody wants to hear it. We can do better!
Option #3: "Strategic Release" Method (Highly recommended.)
*From a physical standpoint, emotion stores itself as mental energy that can be released through movement. The key is to intentionally and regularly move the energy that is inside of us. Any of the following methods will move the energy and can add clarity when done with intention: Dance, talk, write, pet an animal, laugh, dig, run, etc.
*In a communication setting, energy is captured when we store up "things left unsaid." Imagine feeling like you are a balloon ready to pop unless you express your dissatisfaction about . In these situations, the strategic release method would suggest that you think about the outcome you hope to achieve from addressing the subject. If your purpose is solely to change the other person, you might reconsider your message. Think about formulating a flexible message that creates consensus and allows them to feel unthreatened and willing to listen. Plan your message in advance and select your timing with care. I'd suggest looking at the situation from the other person's point of view. Perhaps there are some concessions you could make. Chances are that the other person has stored up some energy on the same topic. Make sure it's not a double explosion - that leaves quite a mess and someone will either need to clean it up or ignore it. Look for more communication guidelines at Refreshment Zone.
Plan to productively release some emotion this week. It will be good for your soul - lighten your load, improve your mood, increase your presence and increase your energy. Empower yourself to move forward.
Enjoy the release!
© Kathy Sturgis, Ph.D. Kathy is founder of Refreshment Zone and is an organizational and personal development specialist with a doctorate in communication. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on motivational programs.