Understanding Repressed Emotions: Healing the Past


repressed emotions


When I was growing up, I had no idea that I’d been learning from a young age to repress negative emotions. I was simply living my life, oblivious to what was going on under the surface. I grew up in an environment where emotions were often left unaddressed and unacknowledged. Raised by parents who struggled to contend with their own negative emotions and past traumas, I was inadvertently taught to repress my own feelings as well.

Basically, the art of coping with emotions was an unfamiliar territory in our household, and as a result, I found myself navigating through life with a heavy burden of unexpressed emotions.

This emotional repression took a toll on me, leading to a pervasive sense of depression and anxiety that lingered throughout my formative years and beyond.

But here’s the thing.

We can learn to release those emotions we’ve been repressing for decades, little by little. It wasn’t till I hit my mid 30’s that I started an inner healing and spiritual awakening journey, and I’m so glad I did. It’s a testament that doing the inner work can help us mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Repressed Emotions: What Are They?

Repressed emotions are feelings that we unconsciously push down and hide from ourselves. They can be the result of past traumas, societal expectations, or personal beliefs. These emotions can range from anger and sadness to fear and shame.

Basically, when we repress our emotions, we deny ourselves the opportunity to fully process and heal from them. Instead, they remain buried deep within the psyche, affecting our mental and physical well-being.

Granted, we’re not consciously repressing emotions – at least when we are young. It’s just something that the psyche (ego) does as an attempt to help us survive the unpleasant emotions that we’re feeling.

It’s a survival mechanism.

You can learn more about the dynamics of what happens mentally and physically when we repress emotions in this article:

Ego Death & Spiritual Awakening: What’s It All About?

It is important to acknowledge and understand our repressed emotions, because when we do, we can begin to unravel the layers of our emotional experiences and address any unresolved issues.

You know, the baggage.

And sure, this process can be challenging, as it requires us to confront painful feelings and memories – which can feel uncomfortable in the body.

However, it is also incredibly empowering. When we allow ourselves to feel and express our emotions, even stuck emotions from the past, we create space for growth, healing, and personal transformation.


repressed emotions


The Impact Of Repressed Emotions On Mental Health

Repressed emotions have a profound impact on our mental health, and it is important to acknowledge and address them in a healthy way. Many of us have experienced situations where we feel the need to suppress our emotions, whether it be fear, anger, or sadness. However, keeping these emotions bottled up can lead to long-term consequences on our mental well-being. It is crucial to understand that acknowledging and expressing our feelings is not a sign of weakness, but rather an act of self-care and empowerment.

When we repress our emotions, they don’t simply disappear; instead, they manifest in different ways. This can lead to increased stress levels, anxiety, and even depression. Our emotional well-being is interconnected with our mental health, and neglecting our emotions can have a detrimental effect on both. By acknowledging and addressing our repressed emotions, we can take steps towards improving our mental health and overall well-being.

When I was a child, I learned to repress my emotions as a way to cope with the challenges and difficulties that life threw at me. Perhaps it was because I grew up in an environment where showing vulnerability wasn’t encouraged, or maybe I felt that expressing my feelings would just add weight to my parents’ problems. Regardless of the reasons, this habit of suppressing my emotions had a profound impact on my emotional well-being as I grew older.

During my early years, I encountered various events that stirred up powerful emotions within me. However, instead of allowing myself to process and express those feelings openly, I buried them deep inside, pretending they didn’t exist. At first, it seemed like a practical solution – I avoided confrontations and appeared strong on the surface. But what I didn’t realize then was that by pushing my emotions away, I was inadvertently building an emotional wall around myself.

As time went on, I became increasingly numb to my feelings. It felt like I was living life on autopilot, merely going through the motions without experiencing genuine joy or sadness. The more I repressed my emotions, the harder it became to recognize them even when they demanded my attention.

Eventually, the weight of all those unexpressed emotions began to take its toll on my mental health. I started experiencing anxiety and a constant sense of restlessness. It was as if a storm was brewing inside me, but I couldn’t identify its source. I couldn’t pinpoint why I was feeling this way because I had long forgotten how to connect with my true emotions.

Initially, the numbness seemed like a protective barrier shielding me from the world’s challenges, but over time, it transformed into a suffocating prison that kept me isolated from life’s variety of emotions. As my emotional state became more unpredictable, anxiety took hold, and I grew apprehensive about letting anyone get too close. The thought of revealing the tangled web of repressed emotions within me frightened me, causing me to push others away.

It took me years to realize that my emotional shutdown was the root cause of my struggles. With the help of therapy, self-reflection, mindfulness, and meditation, I began to break down the emotional barriers I had constructed over time. It’s been a challenging journey, as I had to confront the pain that I had hidden away for so long. But in doing so, I am learning that expressing and processing emotions is a vital part of being human. Suppressing them only perpetuates the cycle of anxiety and numbness.

As I started to open up and embrace my emotions, I noticed positive changes in attitude and emotional state. The anxiety began to subside some, and I felt more in touch with myself and the world around me. I’ll tell you one thing, it’s been liberating to understand that vulnerability isn’t weakness, but a path to genuine strength and healing.

Looking back, I wish I had been encouraged to express my emotions freely as a child. But I’ve come to accept that the past cannot be changed. What I can do, however, is continue to nurture my emotional growth, being kind to myself along the way. I’ve learned that emotional repression may have shaped my past, but it doesn’t define my future. Embracing my emotions and allowing myself to feel has been the key to unlocking a healthier and happier version of myself.

Recognizing Signs Of Repressed Emotions

Recognizing the signs of repressed emotions is the first step towards healing and emotional well-being. One common sign is experiencing unexplained physical symptoms. Our bodies have a way of manifesting what our minds cannot express. So, if you find yourself frequently experiencing headaches, stomachaches, or other physical ailments without any clear medical cause, it may be a sign that you have repressed emotions that need to be released. Pay attention to the correlation between your emotions and your physical well-being to gain insight into what you may be suppressing.

Another sign to look out for is a persistent feeling of numbness or apathy. If you find yourself going through the motions of life without feeling any true joy or passion, it could be an indication that you have repressed emotions that need to be addressed. Ignoring or burying our emotions can create a sense of emotional detachment and make it difficult for us to fully engage with life’s experiences. By recognizing this sign, you can begin the process of reconnecting with your emotions and rediscovering your zest for life.


repressed emotions


Techniques For Releasing Repressed Emotions

Repressed emotions can have a negative impact on our mental and physical well-being. It is important to find healthy ways to release these emotions and free ourselves from their hold.


One effective technique for releasing repressed emotions is through journaling. By putting our thoughts and feelings on paper, we can gain a better understanding of what we are experiencing and begin to process and release those emotions. It allows us to express ourselves without judgment or fear of being misunderstood, and provides a safe space for us to explore our emotions in a constructive way.

I started using guided journaling when I attended Codependent’s Anonymous and used their 12-Step workbook. It baffled me how I could not really answer the questions with more than a couple of words. I was so unaccustomed to self-inquiry and could not understand how to know what emotions I was feelings. This type of guided journaling is what got me so interested in the practice of journaling and later, creating a series of guided journals. {You can find them here}

Physical Exercise

Another technique for releasing repressed emotions is through physical exercise. Engaging in activities such as running, walking, dancing, or yoga can help us release built-up tension and energy in our bodies. Physical movement not only helps us release repressed emotions, but it also promotes the production of endorphins, which are known as the “feel-good” hormones. These endorphins can help improve our mood and overall well-being, making it easier for us to let go of negative emotions.

Professional Help

In addition to journaling and exercise, seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor can provide valuable guidance and support in releasing repressed emotions. They can help us identify the root causes of our emotional repression and provide effective techniques and coping mechanisms to release them in a healthy way. Therapy offers a safe and non-judgmental space where we can openly express ourselves and work through our emotions with the guidance of an experienced professional.

Somatic Exercises

If you have been struggling with repressed emotions, it’s important to know that there are somatic practices that can help you heal and release these pent-up feelings. Somatic practices involve using the body as a tool for emotional healing, allowing you to connect with and express your emotions in a physical way. By engaging in somatic practices such as yoga, dance, breathwork, tai chi, qi gong, the Feldenkrais Method, bioenergetics, or sensory awareness, you can create a safe space for these emotions to be acknowledged and released.

One of the benefits of somatic practices is that they allow you to bypass the limitations of verbal communication. When emotions are deeply repressed, it can be challenging to put them into words. However, by engaging in somatic practices, you can tap into the wisdom of your body and allow it to guide you towards releasing these stored emotions. This can be a powerful and transformative experience.

Somatic practices also provide an opportunity for self-expression and exploration. Through movement, breath, and mindfulness, you can connect with your body and listen to what it has to say. Your body holds valuable information about your emotional state, and by paying attention to its signals, you can gain insight into your repressed emotions and begin the healing process.

Furthermore, somatic practices can help you develop a deeper sense of self-awareness and connection. By engaging in these practices regularly, you can become more attuned to your body and its sensations. This heightened awareness can allow you to recognize when repressed emotions are surfacing and take the necessary steps to process and release them.

Remember, releasing repressed emotions is a process that takes time and patience. It is essential to be gentle with ourselves as we navigate through these emotions. By utilizing techniques such as journaling, physical exercise, and seeking professional help, we can gradually release the weight of repressed emotions and move towards a healthier and more fulfilling life.

The Benefits Of Embracing And Expressing Emotions

Embracing and expressing our emotions is not always easy. We often try to suppress or repress our feelings, fearing that they will make us vulnerable or be seen as a sign of weakness. However, it is important to recognize that emotions are a natural part of being human, and embracing them can actually bring about several benefits in our lives.

One of the main advantages of embracing and expressing our emotions is that it allows us to have a deeper understanding of ourselves. When we acknowledge and accept our feelings, we gain insight into our own needs, desires, and values. This self-awareness can help us make better decisions and take actions that align with our true selves.

Another benefit of embracing and expressing emotions is improved mental health. When we suppress our feelings, they tend to build up inside us, leading to increased stress and anxiety. On the other hand, when we allow ourselves to feel and express our emotions, we release this pent-up energy, which can bring immense relief and a sense of emotional well-being.

Furthermore, embracing and expressing emotions can enhance our relationships with others. When we are open about our feelings, it allows for more authentic and meaningful connections. By sharing our emotions with loved ones, we create an environment of trust and understanding, fostering deeper connections and stronger bonds.

Seeking Professional Help For Dealing With Repressed Emotions

Dealing with repressed emotions can be a challenging and overwhelming process. These emotions can build up over time, causing a significant impact on our mental and emotional well-being. However, seeking professional help is an effective way to address these repressed emotions and find healing.

A trained therapist or counselor can provide the necessary guidance and support to navigate through these complex emotions. They have the expertise to create a safe and non-judgmental space for individuals to explore their feelings and experiences. Through various therapeutic techniques, professionals can help individuals identify and understand the root causes of their repressed emotions, enabling them to process and release these pent-up feelings. Seeking professional help is a courageous step towards self-growth and emotional well-being.

Remember that you don’t have to face your repressed emotions alone. Seeking professional help is a brave and empowering decision that can lead to significant positive changes in your life.

Healing And Moving Forward From Repressed Emotions

In the journey of life, I’ve come to realize that healing from repressed emotions is a process that never truly ends. It’s an ongoing exploration of self-discovery, acceptance, and growth. I’ve learned that it’s okay to have moments of vulnerability and emotional upheaval because it’s all part of the healing process. Though it may feel daunting at times, with conscious effort and time, it does get easier.

Repressed emotions are like dormant seeds buried deep within our hearts, waiting for the right conditions to sprout. For me, these emotions tend to be triggered most in intimate relationships, where the closeness and vulnerability with another person can unearth past wounds and unresolved feelings. It’s during these moments that I have the opportunity to heal further, to face those emotions head-on, and to give myself the compassion and care I deserve.

Acknowledging and understanding these repressed emotions is the first step towards healing. Sometimes, it feels like unraveling an intricate tapestry of past experiences and traumas. It can be painful, and there might be times when I feel overwhelmed or tempted to retreat back into my emotional shell. But I’ve learned that pushing through those difficult moments, with support from loved ones or professional help if needed, can lead to profound growth and freedom from the burdens of the past.

As I delve deeper into my emotional landscape, I’ve learned to be gentle with myself. Healing is not a linear process, and there will be setbacks along the way. Instead of berating myself for having repressed emotions resurface, I now try to embrace them as valuable messengers from my subconscious.

Each emotion that emerges is an invitation to heal and to release what no longer serves me.

I’ve found solace in various healing practices, such as meditation, journaling, or seeking therapy. These activities provide a safe space for introspection, allowing me to process my emotions and gain insights into their origins. Additionally, sharing my feelings and experiences with trusted friends or a partner who understands and supports my healing journey has been incredibly beneficial.

While healing from repressed emotions is a continuous journey, I’ve come to appreciate the progress I’ve made so far. Each step forward brings me closer to a more balanced and fulfilling life. I know that it’s natural to encounter emotional challenges along the way, but I am now armed with the knowledge that with effort, compassion, and patience, I can navigate through them and emerge stronger and more resilient.

Conclusion: Embracing Emotional Freedom For Personal Growth

Repressed emotions can manifest in various ways, including anxiety, depression, anger, or even physical symptoms like headaches or digestive issues. Addressing these emotions is crucial for our overall health and happiness. Professional therapists are equipped with the knowledge and tools to guide individuals through the process of working through repressed emotions. They can provide effective strategies and coping mechanisms to manage and express these feelings constructively.

By seeking professional help, individuals can gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their emotions, leading to increased self-awareness and personal growth. It’s important to remember that seeking help is not a sign of weakness but rather a strength in acknowledging that we need assistance in dealing with our repressed emotions.

Don’t hesitate to reach out for support – you deserve to live a life free from the burden of repressed emotions.

Sending big love your way,


dominica applegate


Further Resources


The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma” by Bessel van der Kolk

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment” by Eckhart Tolle.

Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child” by John Bradshaw.

Support Groups – Joining support groups or online communities focused on emotional healing can provide a sense of connection and validation. Hearing others’ stories and experiences can be empowering and reassuring.

Apps – Headspace, Calm, and Insight Timer offer guided meditations and mindfulness exercises.

Emotional Release Techniques: Techniques like Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), also known as tapping, and Somatic Experiencing (SE) aim to release stored emotional energy from the body. These practices can help process repressed emotions in a gentle and effective manner.


FAQ 1: What are repressed emotions and how do they affect us?

Repressed emotions are feelings or emotions that we consciously or unconsciously suppress or push down. They can be the result of past traumas, societal expectations, or personal beliefs. When we repress our emotions, we deny ourselves the opportunity to process and express them in a healthy way. This can have detrimental effects on our mental and physical well-being.

FAQ 2: Why is it important to recognize and address repressed emotions?

Recognizing and addressing repressed emotions is crucial for our emotional and mental health. When we ignore or suppress our emotions, they don’t simply go away; they remain buried within us, often intensifying over time. This can lead to a variety of negative consequences such as increased stress, anxiety, depression, and even physical ailments. By acknowledging and working through our repressed emotions, we can release the pent-up energy and find healing and inner peace.

FAQ 3: How can we begin to heal from repressed emotions?

Healing from repressed emotions starts with self-awareness and self-compassion. It’s important to give ourselves permission to feel and validate our emotions without judgment. Seeking support from a therapist or counselor can be immensely helpful in navigating through these emotions. They can provide a safe space for us to explore our feelings, identify the root causes of our repression, and develop healthy coping mechanisms.

Additionally, practices such as journaling, meditation, and engaging in creative outlets can also aid in the healing process. Remember, it’s never too late to address repressed emotions and embark on a journey of personal growth and emotional well-being.

Rediscovering Sacredness Guided Journals

Here at Rediscovering Sacredness, we provide people with the tools and resources they need to better their mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Our guided journals and useful guides are designed to help you work through your problems and grow in a safe, healthy way. We believe that everyone has the potential for greatness, and we are here to help you find it. With our products, you can regain control of your life and reclaim your happiness.

To learn more about our guided journals and resources, please visit our shop.

Inner Healing Shadow Work eCourse

In this course, we will delve into the “shadow” aspect of your psyche, or the unconscious parts of yourself. We will work to improve our understanding of emotions, open our hearts, learn to regulate an anxious nervous system, and awaken to a deeper sense of spirituality. Through this process, we will aim to tear down any walls we have built around our hearts and embrace a greater sense of self-awareness and emotional intelligence.

And speaking of guided journaling, as a bonus to this course, you’ll get to download our most popular shadow work journal as a PDF that you can use on your mobile devices or print out.

shadow work course


Rediscovering Sacredness offers helpful resources & guides to help you identify and heal your inner wounds. Regardless of where you are on your spiritual journey, there’s hope for emotional healing, growth, and spiritual awakening. We focus on digging deep, doing the inner healing work, shadow work, ancient wisdom techniques & rituals to assist you live the kind of life you were meant to.