Psychology

The Therapeutic value of Releasing old Emotions and Resolving Past Experiences



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"Emotion.- a conscious mental reaction (as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body "[Webster]

What I love about emotion is its relationship to movement. E-motion is e-motive, it is feeling which pushes us through life, creates change and takes us forward on its energy. If we are shut down emotionally, we stagnate and grow stale. Normally emotions flow and we keep growing and developing. If, by suppression or oppression of our natural emotional responses to life, we can get "stuck" in a certain emotional state. This is not a healthy way to be and it is important that we take conscious action to open up to these trapped emotions and set ourselves free to live fully once more with issues from the past dealt with and filed away under "R" for "resolved"

Our bodies hold emotions. Emotional responses to past events, if they are not freely expressed at the time, can get stored in our bodies and begin to create a pathology. They can become fossilised within us and create a state of atrophy. Unexpressed sobbing gets stored in our solar plexus area, rage can get stored in our lungs, the desire to run away can become stiff leg muscles, miserliness can cause arthritic hands which are permanently in a state of grasping and we can get back ache, sore throats, headaches, constipation and a myriad of other physical symptoms caused by blocked emotions and unresolved issues. Everyday expressions show how emotions relate to the physical body. We use terms like "Get it off your chest" and "Spit it out" . We refer to people as being " a pain in the butt" or "tight fisted" and call constant moaners "belly achers" who give us "earache"

Carrying all these old feelings around in your body is like carrying around bags full of garbage. It takes a lot of energy and can leave you exhausted. At night , when you need to be resting, feelings have a way of attempting to surface from the depths of the subconscious when you are not looking and that can cause sleeplessness or nightmares. It is important to take time in your emotional life to sort out the rubbish and get rid of emotional garbage you are carrying around which you no longer need and which is taking up space which could be filled with new experiences and energy. Letting go of old emotional stuff is really important because you cannot "put new wine into old bottles" as it says in the Bible.

How do you go about processing emotions which have been stored away perhaps since early childhood? It can be frightening to open those old
emotional cupboards. Some feelings may be buried so deep that they are hard to access. Where do you start?

It is important to have a safe place in which to begin to sort out your emotional garbage bin. Some people will fell threatened by your tears or your rage and try to block your expression because it distrurbs their own feelings. They may offer you a drink so you will swallow your feelings. They might tell you you are being irrational. They may try to change the subject or block you in some other way. The person you need is the one who sits with the tissues or holds the cushion while you punch it. The person you do not need is the one who says "pull yourself together" or " you should not be angry". A trained therapist or counsellor is the best person to support you through the process because they will actively guide you towards areas you may be afraid to go on your own. Watch the movie "Analyse This" with Robert de Niro. It shows with great humour and understanding how old traumas cause current problems and how therapy can help access and release those old feelings and move on to new life.

For some people, writing provides a safe place in which to heal old wounds. It can be a very healing and cathartic experience to delve into you emotional depths throught the power of the pen. Painting , music and dance can all be used to unblock emotional energy and there are systems of therapy which use all of these art forms in a therapeutic way. Writing a life story is very popular and effective way to expunge the past but do keep it private if you do not want to hurt or offend anyone close.

Looking at old photographs can be a useful tool. If you still hold negative feelings towards a dead relative , for example, you may find it helpful to look at a picture of them and hold a "no holds barred" conversation in which you say all the things you never dared say to their face. Keep a cushion by you side to punch out any anger and tissues to mop up any tears. Put on a piece of music which reminds you of them and let it all out!

Massage, cranial osteopathy, homeopathy and acupuncture are all therapies which can help to unblock trapped emotional energy within your body. These require the services of a qualified therapist to be safe and effective. One method which is becoming very popular is called EFT which basically means "emotional freedom technique". It is a very powerful and effective way of transforming and healing emotional energies and is freely available to everyone via the internet.

Emotion needs to flow freely. Like water, it can be clear and sweet or it can be murky and stagnant. You can do a great deal yourself to clean out the old stuff through writing , dancing and techniques like EFT. The Bach Flower Remedies are also safe to use yourself to rebalance emotional energies. If something really nasty is stuck down deep down in the system you might need to call in the emotional equivalent of dyno rod , like acupuncture or homeopathy. What is certain is that your stored emotional waste is not doing you any good. You can hoard it if you choose but how much better to have a spring clean. It can be released through a variety of techniques leaving your energy sweet and pure again , flowing freely to revatilise and refresh the garden of your life.

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More about this author: margaret hillcroft

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