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11 Signs of Suppressed Emotions + How To Control Your Emotions

Emotions are intense feelings linked to situations that are either imagined or real. They are messages from the brain signaling either a reward or a threat that has been identified in our environment. The messages are then accompanied by a physical response that drives you to either turn towards the reward or turn away from the threat.

According to the book “Discovering Psychology” by Sandra E. Hockenbury and Don Hockenbury, an emotion is a psychological state which involves 3 distinct components:

  • a subjective experience;
  • a physiological response;
  • an expressive response.

Emotion suppression involves intentionally avoiding distressing feelings by thinking of other things or holding things in.

Suppressing your emotions, whether sadness, anger, frustration, or grief, can lead to physical stress on your body. It can affect memory and blood pressure. Over time, there’s an increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

According to statistics, men suppress emotions more than women, but women experience more symptoms of depression.

List Of 11 Signs of Suppressed Emotions:

1) Loss Of Interest

You may lose interest in sex. You might not bother with hobbies you used to love. You might not like being around friends.

2) Excessive Sleepinessdeam sleep

Sleep is essential for regenerating the body and replenishing energy. People who have excessive sleepiness feel sluggish and drowsy most days, and these symptoms frequently interfere with school, activities, work, or relationships.

The relationship between emotions and sleep is complex since disrupted sleep can lead to emotional changes, clinical depression, or anxiety; however, these conditions can also compound or further disrupt sleep.

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3) Weight Gain

There are many behavioral reasons why suppressed emotions could contribute to weight gain — an individual who is depressed might seek comfort in foods that are high in trans-fats and food preservatives or might not feel motivated to exercise. They may also take antidepressant medication, which according to research, can cause modest weight gain.

4) Superiority Complex

Superiority complex is a term that was coined by Alfred Adler as part of his school of individual psychology. Superiority complex is a psychological defense mechanism that, paradoxically, rises from the deep-seated and repressed feeling of inferiority or lack of self-esteem.

Suppressed emotions can also inflame antagonistic anger, which motivates an individual to challenge the beliefs or feelings of others, especially of those in authority.

5) Anxiety & Depression

Depression affects an estimated 1 in 15 adults in any given year. And 1 in six people will experience depression at some time in their life.

Depression is a mood disorder described by persistently low mood and a feeling of sadness and loss of interest.

But, the most important characteristic of depression is the absence of positive emotions (like gratitude, joy, hope, pride, altruism, satisfaction, or enthusiasm). Furthermore, depression is linked with sleeping problems, as one might lead to the other and vice versa. Also, the lack of restful sleep can lead to anxiety.

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6) Elevated Stress Levels

Your nervous system isn’t very good at distinguishing between emotional and physical threats. If emotions start to build up inside, so is your stress level, which will lead to higher cortisol (the primary stress hormone) levels.

Often, an increased cortisol level is normal in response to short-term stressors, but it starts to become a real predicament when your body starts making excessive amounts.

Tip – maintaining a positive attitude, exercising, not consuming caffeine, not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, enjoying a healthy diet, having healthy sleeping patterns, and practicing mindfulness meditation are good ways to deal with stress.

7) Being Overly-Sensitive

People with many suppressed emotions are quick to take offense. Comments that other people might laugh off can irritate someone who has a bad disposition.

When you are overly sensitive, any insecurity or perceived judgment becomes a tangled mess of negativity you struggle to overcome. Additionally, some people with suppressed emotions are always waiting for others to screw up.

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8) Avoidance

People with suppressed emotions avoid people, things, or places that remind them of the emotions they don’t want to feel.

Avoidance behaviors are problematic because, in the long run, they only serve to increase anxiety and fear.

9) Specific Facial Features

Suppressed emotions affect the facial features and empower a penetrating glare, tense facial muscles, furrowed brows, pronounced frown, enlarged pupils, flushed complexion, and prominent veins.

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10) Using Alcohol Or Other Drugs To Take Away Emotional Pain

alcoholism man


Alcohol only creates more problems when it comes to emotional pain, and it is not productive in forgetting your troubles at all.

Moreover, alcohol is a depressant (especially if a person consumes more than the body can handle), so not only will it not numb your pain, but it will most certainly add to it. Also, regular alcohol intake tends to have a way of freezing the person in time – meaning that it freezes your emotional development.

11) Memory Issues

According to research conducted at Stanford University on female undergraduates, emotions that are not allowed to be expressed have negatively affected memory.

The results of the research clearly showed that if emotions were suppressed, the processing of information – especially short-term memory, was negatively affected.

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How To Control Your Emotions

1) Don’t React Right Away

Reacting immediately to emotional triggers can be an immense mistake. It is guaranteed that you will do or say something you will later regret.

Tip – before refuting the trigger with your emotional argument, take a deep breath and stabilize the overwhelming impulse. Continue to breathe deeply for several minutes, feeling as your heart rate returns to normal and your muscles become intense. As you become calmer, affirm to yourself that this state is only temporary.

2) MeditateMeditation woman meditation in a room

Meditation trains you to be resilient. The more you can learn to stay with all the lows and highs of your physical sensations, emotions, and thoughts, the more strength you can bring to each moment.

Meditation also stimulates the branch of your peripheral nervous system, which helps your body return to a relaxed state after the threat of danger has passed. When this branch is activated, your body can naturally repair, rejuvenate, and rebuild itself.

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3) Label Your Emotions

Put a name to your emotions. Keep in mind you might feel many emotions at once, such as – frustration, anxiety, and impatience.

When the brain is actively categorizing data to name a feeling, it actually shifts from a state of irrational emotions to a state of rational analysis.

Tip – keep in mind that anger occasionally masks emotions that feel vulnerable, such as – embarrassment or shame. Therefore, pay close attention to what’s really going on inside of you.

4) Take Responsibility

It is true that other people’s actions and words affect you; however, you also need to take responsibility for the emotions you feel in response to those actions and words.

No one can make you feel anything; it’s always your choice.

Images credit – Shutterstock & Getty

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