To Hold in Emotions or to Release Them? That is the Question

It is very damaging to hold in emotions. We could liken it to holding in a bowel movement. Imagine the damage that that would do to the body. The same is true for emotions. Holding in emotions may result in physical dis-ease, depression, anxiety, over-reactivity, and uncontrollable anger, and intrusive thoughts. Holding in anger and pain could result in maladaptive coping skills as well such as addiction. So, the effects of holding in emotions is much more destructive than flowing with emotions, or as Mary Magdalene calls them, the River of Love.

Mercedes Kirkel in Mary Magdalene Beckons: Join the River of Love wrties, “Resisting pain holds it in place, while opening to pain allows it to move, complete it’s work, resolve itself, and dissolve. Some people have described the word emotion and e-motion, or energy-in-motion. Allowing our emotions, or feelings, to move, rather than holding them back and keeping them stuck, permits them to move through their natural cycle: we experience and possibly express the emotion and then let it carry us to the source of the feeling, which is ultimately the Divine” (p. 171).

If feeling our emotions, allowing them to flow and come to conscious awareness is so vital for our health and well-being, then why do we resist?

There could be many possible reasons we experience resistance. It is important to look at how you view emotions and what subconscious thoughts are keeping you from opening up your heart and body to the emotions flowing through them.

Possible reasons for suppressing emotions:


Often in mainstream society we deem emotions as not very important. Achievement and staying tough are often more valued in our society than flowing with emotions and being vulnerable. In such a competitive capitalist society, there are a lot of subconscious fears about our survival, that expressing vulnerability is viewed as a weakness, as we hunger for safety and materialistic things. Thankfully, our views on emotions are changing! From parents being more compassionate and empathic to men learning to express emotions, we are making changes. Being vulnerable is so very powerful. Being vulnerable and flowing with our emotions opens up our hearts like a rose and allows our inner light to blossom.


How did your parents or guardians view emotions? Sometimes people view emotions as completely unnecessary to express. Did you internalize this thought and behavior? Did your parents or there parents experience abuse or trauma? If so, expressing thoughts and being vulnerable becomes much more difficult if the trauma and abuse went unhealed and unprocessed.


When trauma happens our bodies go into flight or fright mode. We may be perpetually stuck flight or fright and not be able to express what happened. We need to develop calming and coping skills first before we can begin to talk about and process the trauma. Furthermore, if we experience trauma when we are young, we might not have had the support in place to process the deep emotions. So, some emotions like shame and anger might get stuck in our bodies, in our subconscious mind.


Sometimes we hold emotions in for family members who are in pain or we just pick up emotions of people around us. So, when we hold in emotions from other people we don’t consciously realize it until we actually stop to say, ok, let me relax and be with this bodily tension so I may release it. We may have to ask ourselves or our Spirit Guides, where is this emotion coming from because it doesn’t feel like it is from me.


We are afraid. Mercedes Kirkel writes, “Most of us assume, at some level, that opening to pain will increase our experience of it, perhaps even to the point of burying us in pain” (p. 171). We sometimes hold pain because we are afraid of what might happen to us if we let go. But when we let go, we are connected to our hearts, to our core, and often feel a great sense of intra-connection.

Furthermore, when a trauma first happens, the experience of it may be so overwhelming that we don’t have the mental and emotional resources to handle the emotions. If we continue to be in flight or flight mode after the trauma, then we may be still be taxed and overwhelmed from the experience. But after learning relaxation techniques, breathing techniques and coping skills, we can begin to let the emotions surface so they can be dissolved.

As you continue on your healing path, you will feel lighter in body and clearer in mind. Your mindbody and Soul will rejoice in love!!! Remember, you are infinitely loved. You are infinite love!