When we go to school, one thing we hate the most is heavy backpacks loaded with books. Carrying a heavy backpack comes with the feeling of being weighed down, straps cutting into your skin, and the constant need to adjust your back to accommodate the burdensome weight. The only way to fix this problem is to put that bag down, take everything out, organize, and let go of those unnecessary loads.
In life, we also have that invisible backpack strapped on us, and as time goes by, it could get heavier as you continue filling it with memories and experiences. If left unorganized, it could become a piece of emotional baggage that could weigh you down and affect your present life and relationships.
What is an Emotional Baggage?
Emotional baggage happens when a person carries past traumas and negative emotions from previous experiences in life, career, and relationships. When past stress and trauma are left unresolved, it can take space in one’s mind and body, thus creating metaphorical baggage filled with all these buried emotions of pain, grief, anger, and sadness.
Some people who take therapy sessions to deal with their emotions describe the feeling of tension around their shoulders and neck as well as headaches, which feels exactly like when one wears and carries a heavy emotional bag.
People with problems with repressed emotions can experience frequent anxiety, feelings of sadness, and even anger and violence. It can also manifest in habits like overspending, drinking, eating, and bouts of rage or sudden emotional outbursts.
Emotional baggage can affect your physical well-being. It can hold you back in life and influence your goals and how you build connections with people around you.
Before your emotional baggage weighs you down, ultimately, here are some ways to lighten that load.
1. Acknowledge your feelings
This may be easier said than done, but you must acknowledge that you’re not okay and have parts of your life to work on. When people deal with something stressful or painful, it’s a coping mechanism to forget about it and bury it away. This action of denial and dismissal causes an unhealthy emotional buildup.
A crucial part of letting go is acknowledging the negative emotions. You can grieve and cry if you want. Slowly connect with your inner self again, try to understand it, and notice where it hurts. Remind yourself that it’s okay to feel that way and that you can get through it.
2. List Down Where It Needs Work
Often, the mind knows something is wrong but doesn’t know what to make of it. Working on your trauma or problems should not be stressful too. Sit down, grab a pen and paper or open your notepad on your phone and try to make a list.
Try listing down the things that have been bothering you the most; you can work from the most recent ones to your past negative experiences or vice-versa. Also, look into what adaptive strategies you used when those problems came into your life. Identify the areas where you feel the most bothered and start there.
You have to look at those problems and assess if there are actions you can take to solve them or not. It may take time, and seeking professional help is advised if you can’t figure things out on your own.
3. Move to Release
Another way to release your bottled-up stress and negative emotions is to move your body. Intentionally moving your body can help open that stored-up tension caused by past traumatic experiences or daily stress.
If you’re having a hard time facing your emotions, you can use the body-first approach so you can work on release and work towards your emotional healing. Intentional movements help your body recognize the difference between relaxation and tension.
You can do intentional movements at home like dancing, stretching, meditative walking, belly breathing exercises, and shaking. But if you want to challenge yourself, learning martial arts, yoga, and tai chi are also amazing options.
Still, ensure that you’re moving healthily and not overworking yourself just to forget the problem.
4. Try Staying Still
If you don’t feel like moving, practicing stillness is another way to start your healing process.
If you’re ready to face your emotions fully, stay still and reconnect with your inner thoughts and feelings. Put your brain in an idle state momentarily and allow it to disengage from external stimuli to provide space for your emotions to enter.
Some practices you can try are meditation, breathing exercises, listening to calming music, or sitting in nature.
Practicing stillness can nourish the body and be therapeutic.
5. Seek Professional Help
If your repressed emotions are interfering with your daily life, don’t hesitate to seek help from a professional. If you can’t handle things on your own, maybe therapy is the best option. Have someone more knowledgeable and trained to deal with problems like yours to help you.
It’s not easy to accept that we need to seek therapy, but always think of your well-being and your loved ones.
The bottom line is, if you’re not feeling well with all your pent-up emotions, there are ways to help you release them.
While these methods may sound easy, dealing with trauma and negative emotions is never easy. It takes time to heal or feel better about yourself and others. Don’t force yourself and approach things slowly. It would help if you could find new hobbies to release stress and a strong support system when you finally start the journey of unpacking layers of emotional tension built up over the years.
Most people have repressed feelings and heavy emotional baggage they carry as they go through life. Don’t let that completely turn you for the worst.