Ways to Release Your Bottled-Up Emotions

flickr image by ash_taylor
flickr image by ash_taylor

Why Do People Bottle Up Their Emotions?

* They are unable to fight back in an argument situation (eg the "opponent" is more dominant or it is someone of authority that it may impact their employment).

* They think that if they show their emotions it is a sign of weakness.

* They believe it is not normal to be feeling a certain way, so try to conceal their emotions from others.

* They are afraid of what other people might think.

* They feel that they have to deal with their emotions or problems on their own because "no one else will understand".

* A situation may have occurred that has placed someone in shock and they just don't know how to deal with it or they just block it out because don't fully understand it makes them feel (or don't feel) a certain way.

* They feel they have to be "the rock" for others.

* They don't want to be hurt so they swallow their emotions back down.

flickr image by paisley chanel
flickr image by paisley chanel

What Happens When You Pent Up Your Emotions

* You can become crabby to be around & start snapping at other people for now reason.

* You get to a stage where you have bottled up your emotions to the point you "explode" - often the victims are loved ones, friends, co-workers.

* You turn to escapism (alcohol, cigarettes, drugs) for short term solutions, to avoid confronting your emotions.

* You become depressed and numb and don't know how to get out of the situation.

* Often the pent up emotions will manifest themselves physically in the form of diseases and can make you very ill.

* Some people commit suicide because they see no other way out.

Ways To Release Those Bottled Up Emotions

Write. Putting your feelings down on paper not only enables you to begin unloading your emotional baggage, it also allows you to process the situation so that perhaps you may a) gain objectivity, b) understand the other person's point of view, and more importantly c) be free to move on with the more important and pleasant things in life. Plus, if you do this regularly in the form of a journal or diary it makes a fascinating read many years later.

Music. If you play an instrument, write a song about what is bothering you. Not only is it a release, it is a way to take that negative energy and be creative with it positively. The song may be dark in subject or it may have some explicit lyrics but you will have fun putting it together and feel empowered every time you perform it or listen to the recording. Sometimes it may be a song that no one else will hear, but that's fine. It would have served its purpose. If you're not musically inclined, listen to someone else's song about a similar subject. Music has the power to move you deeply and by the same token has the power to heal.

Confide in someone. If you feel you can't talk to the people in your immediate circle, look outside it. If you know someone you haven't been in touch with for years, give them a call and see if you can catch up. They do not know the details of your life as they have been out of contact so may be able to provide an objective point of view or "outside advice". Similarly, you can go to the park and find a stranger to talk to. You never know. I realize some people do not like the idea of going to see a psychologist. It scares them and it also costs money, but I've always been impressed with the kindness of strangers. Bear in mind, if the advice given is not what you wanted to hear, do not be angry and defensive toward someone who is trying to help. Be honest with yourself.

Pray. Even if you're not religious, even if you don't believe in God, just give it a shot. You have nothing to lose by asking for help. Don't be surprised if you bump into someone the next day that will make you smile, or you see an ad on tv or a show that makes an impact on your life for the better. There is always a solution, no matter how bad the problem is. (And no, the solution is NOT suicide). 

Talk to pets or nature. If you're uncomfortable talking to people, try nature. Animals are not dumb. In fact, they often sense the emotions of their owners or other humans. You've heard stories of dogs howling when their owners have passed away in the other room, or stories about plants growing more quickly to a bigger size when exposed to music.

Everybody bottles up their emotions at some point. The trick is to realize that doing so is not healthy. When you learn to let go of the hurt or anger or frustration within and are no longer carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, you will feel much happier with life. Your smile will generate opportunities and with the bad experiences behind you, you can also begin to help other people.

Comments 42 comments

goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 7 years ago from Free and running....

good hub. I try to keep cool in a crisis situation and then later it explodes on the page.

Kulsum Mehmood profile image

Kulsum Mehmood 7 years ago from Nagpur, India

Great write up marco. When I face a problem I confide in my close friends and pray and it really helps a lot. Also one should sleep on the unresolved problems and when you wake up in the morning you see the problem in a new light and its solution clicks to you suddenly. My affirmation when faced with a problem is as follows :- "Out of this situation only good will come. This is easily resolved for the highest good of all concerned. All is well and I am safe". Best wishes.

marcofratelli profile image

marcofratelli 7 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks for sharing your techniques, I appreciate it

Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

When the rest won't do the trick - friends, music, Coco (my labrador) - I go to a really secluded place or an open space and scream my lungs out! It's really cathartic :D But I guess i'll try talking to nature next time as you suggested above, instead of hollering! Nice hub :D

Pam Roberson profile image

Pam Roberson 7 years ago from Virginia

Marcofratelli, you have covered it all so incredibly well...why we keep emotions bottled up, what happens when we do that, and how we can let our emotions out in a healthy way. Bravo to a job very well done! :) Anything creative allows emotion to come out, so writing and music is wonderful advice. Getting our hands dirty helps too, like gardening. Meditation is something else that helps.

LOL @ Cris! I can see how hollering would be very cleansing too! :)

JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Cris, I knew there was something about you that seemed familiar.  I am a great believer in going out in the middle of nowhere and screaming my guts out too!  The idea being tension and anger is getting in the way of a solution to the situation.  If one can't get to an open space, beating the top of a bed (empty of course) with a baseball bat or tennis racket works as well a the screaming thing. These are tips recommended by a former boss who'd been the head of a mental health association.  Under her, our office was the most productive and stress-free place ever. Our "open space" was the sound proof boiler room next to our office, and during certain times of the year, it was used a *lot*.   

Marco, thanks for mentioning that anger and buried emotions can (and usually *will*) manifest as diseases.  I have a theory that many tumors begin as pent-up emotions, because the body has to store "bad feelings" somewhere. Just a theory, no proof, only that many of the relatives and friends who had (and died of) cancer were "bury it" people.  I've just instinctively known keeping feelings bottled up is NOT good.   

Frieda Babbley profile image

Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

I've used all those ways to release my bottled up emotions. I grab what I can from them. Just let myself go. Turn my emotional energy from a lump in the throat to something more powerful and beautiful. Yes, a scream can be most beautiful. I've found that out many a time.

Princess Kari profile image

Princess Kari 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

hey. i think that this is such a great and necessary topic to write about. but what happens when we have been bottling feelings up for so long that we no longer know what they are?

Smart Dad profile image

Smart Dad 7 years ago from Northampton

We should all really be aware of as many signs possible thx for your voice

YEisHere profile image

YEisHere 7 years ago from The Universe

Greetings! EXCELLENT! Insightful and above all, truly helpful!

PR: wait... I: wait... L: wait... LD: wait... I: wait...wait... Rank: wait... Traffic: wait... Price: wait... I: wait... L: wait... C: wait...

celistina profile image

celistina 7 years ago

Great hub; this is very well written. Bottling up emotions is extremely unhealthy and detrimental for our mental health. Thanks for writing this marco!

marcofratelli profile image

marcofratelli 7 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks so much for the feedback everyone! I can't believe the response this hub is getting! Keep sending in your own Ways To Release Your Bottled Up Emotions. I'm interested to know what has really worked for people.

amadavit profile image

amadavit 7 years ago from Cairns Far North Queensland, Australia

Interesting post Marco...thanks. I think that sharing who we are, our issues, problems, etc, is the first step towards feeling less alone. Isolation is probably one of the chief causes mental angst and confusion...we all need feedback so that we can measure the soundness of our being.

If I tell myself I'm an idiot, this may lead to me feeling depressed...a friend may help me challenge this thinking..a therapist would help me develop strategies to 'stand up' to this thinking.

The biggest reason I might not want to open up to somebody, is the fear of being not heard, minimised, discounted and judged. It is a risk to open up, and a lifetime of ridicule would give someone the message that they're not okay or important. However, friends can only provide so much support, and a friendship should be a shared time together, with a reasonable balance of an exchange.

Princess Kari raised a good point about losing touch with what it is we're feeling, if we've bottled up our feelings for too long. We would probably need guidance from say a trained emotion therapist. Art therapy is a good way of getting our stuff out, and once done, a sensitive therapist would help us to begin identifying themes, feelings etc. The point and the crux being, is to get it out and to get help to identify what it is and where it comes from, once it's out.

TonieTate profile image

TonieTate 7 years ago from Metro-Atlanta

I like putting my emotions on paper. Thanks for sharing this hub

emzneale profile image

emzneale 7 years ago

unreleased emotions or complete denial of your emotional self can make you very ill indeed. the body, mind and heart can only take so much.

i like to write, to draw, have a rant with my best buddy. just get it out and then let go.

marcofratelli profile image

marcofratelli 7 years ago from Australia Author

A rant in any form is healthy, you let it out in a blog or in a Hub as well. Just don't take it out on someone else :) Thanks for your feedback everyone!

Patti Ann profile image

Patti Ann 7 years ago from Florida

Great article - this is so true. I use a daily journal. It really helps to write out your feelings. Sometimes writing it out helps you to discover a solution to your problems.

marcofratelli profile image

marcofratelli 7 years ago from Australia Author

Absolutely, thanks Patti Ann! Keeping a journal makes for a great read after many years as well! :)

DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 7 years ago

Great Hub!

You have made some good points and given very healthy ways to move towards resolve.


marcofratelli profile image

marcofratelli 7 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks DeBorrah!

BEAUTYBABE profile image


I just read your hub as it came up on my website when I was doing my most recent hub. It is very interesting indeed, very informative. I am afraid I am guilty of this crime. I do bottle things up too much. I have however, found that playing my guitar and singing enables me not to think about what is going wrong. I can shut all that bad stuff out, till I stop and then I start all over again. I also pray a lot when I am troubled about anything major, and do other things with family and friends. It was a great hub. I would like to follow you because you are an aussie like me, I am from Brisbane. I have not checked your profile yet, I will when I finish here. Lovely to meet you God Bless Beautybabe.x

marcofratelli profile image

marcofratelli 6 years ago from Australia Author

Hi Beautybabe! Thanks mate, we're all guilty of doing it sometimes. With music, it can be great listening to songs that speak to you at the moment, but when I write something original, it helps brain dump so I'm not dwelling on it as much. Then when I hear the original or perform it, I'm empowered! Best of luck :)

6 years ago

Thank you so much. This advice helps alot. My boyfriend often gets mad at me because i dnt share my emotions. It makes me feel better not telling nobody. My anger has just always stayed in. I feel like it won't ever come out so i don't really have no worries.

marcofratelli profile image

marcofratelli 6 years ago from Australia Author

You're welcome. Maybe you just have a very high tolerance level, but if you feel like yelling at someone and don't (or can't) then you should find a way to express yourself in some form. Otherwise you might get sick. Thanks for reading!

treasuresyw profile image

treasuresyw 6 years ago from Savannah, GA

It is so easy to start holding things in. Some people start this in childhood. But this hub is very informative and I enjoyed reading it. Thank you. Peace

marcofratelli profile image

marcofratelli 6 years ago from Australia Author

It is VERY easy to hold things in. Some people don't even realize they do it. Cheers treasuresyw

hypnodude profile image

hypnodude 6 years ago from Italy

I'll add a link here from my latest health hub. Let me know if it's ok for you. Great hub man. :)

marcofratelli profile image

marcofratelli 6 years ago from Australia Author

That would be an honor! Thanks hypnodude

hypnodude profile image

hypnodude 6 years ago from Italy

Done, the hub is about self hypnosis and cancer.

Have a great day!

inventorofaids 6 years ago

My name is Justin. I am 12 years old and i bottle my emotions up. I sometimes think of commiting suicide and people think less of me. Im only 12 so i dont have permission for therapists or pets or instruments or plants or anything. Suggestions?

marcofratelli profile image

marcofratelli 6 years ago from Australia Author

Justin, thanks for leaving a note. I'd try my hand at just plain old writing, about any or all thoughts going through your head. They may be dark or don't make sense but that's ok as long as you get it out. No matter what your situation though I can tell you with absolute certainty that self harm or suicide is not going to fix the problem. You might even like to publish some hubs here to help other people in similar situations?

fucsia profile image

fucsia 6 years ago

From some time I learned (or better I am learning) to release my emotions. I do it writing and confiding with a person very important to me. This goes hand in hand with an increase in my self esteem and a greater "lightness" of live .

Great Hub!

Sweetie 6 years ago

I always keep my emotions inside of me never crying. When two of my close grandparents died I cryed, but not enough. My sister thought I didn't love them enough to cry but that wasn't true. There's always a point were I can't take it anymore and I expolde. Tonights one of those days. My sisters. Acting like a... I can't say it but you know what I mean. I've always been like this never showing my emotions. Since I was a little girl. If I think somethings cool I don't say 'Oh My God that's so COOL!!!' no. I just say- well sometimes I don't even say anything. I pray to my god I know he'll always be there for me no matter how much sin I'm in. I don't like talking to anybody about my 'feelings'. I think i'm gonna right music or talk to me dog.

My moms told me I need to see a docter. She always conplanes about me. I know she lives me but she never says anything good about me... Well she does but not usally. My dad felt us for another family. I see him every other weekend. He's got money and he always takes my halfsisters shopping or on vaca. They go shopping 3days a week!! I go 1 every 3 months. I don't care about the money but that's just making me fell wors because I feel that since he gives more to them that he doesn't love my sister and me as much. But I know he loves me...

When you feel down pray. Even if you don't belive in god pray. He'll always be there no matter what. He loves you no matter if your a drug adict or a prostitut even if your gay... He'll always be there. If your life is crumbiling down drop to your knees, close your eyes and just ask for help. Even if you don't know how to pray just close your eyes and talk to god like you would if he was right in front of you... It'll always work, if you have faith. I hope I helped somebody by saying this.

marcofratelli profile image

marcofratelli 6 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks fuscia & Sweetie. Your feedback always helps others.

Matthew Schlissel profile image

Matthew Schlissel 6 years ago from Fort Lauderdale, FL

I'm so surprised to find other people do what I've been doing, which is to find some place secluded and just scram your gets out. it can be very therapeutic, on top of doing the other things like music and writing, which are great.

Great Hub.

Sharada 6 years ago

this article is so true i did for some time writing journal ,for some time music i used to listen both helped me.thanks for coming up withsuch article.

bojanglesk8 profile image

bojanglesk8 5 years ago

Good tips and suggestions. I find exercising and meditating works best to calm me down.

ItsThatSimple profile image

ItsThatSimple 5 years ago from Florida

Men and women react to things differently. Sometimes we haven't found someone to talk to who is we feel will support us and accept our thoughts.

melanie blake 5 years ago

we all need to get upset and angry because if we didn't we would not be human god gave us feelings so cry really cry let it all out sceam to go on its ok

benalee 4 years ago

i feel like im "the rock" and i have tried most of your sug. when i do one of the things i feel even more bottled up or not any diffrence at all. what should i do now?

Mikayla 4 years ago

Hi my name is mikayla I'm 14 years old. Ever since I was 6 months I have had health problems. So when I was a baby I developed sleep apnea and went into surgery to get my anods and tonsils removed. For the next two years I slept with a machine strapped to my face, pupping oxygen down my throat, till I have grown enough to breathe on my own. At age two or three I developed a bad case of egzima and it stays with me till age 12. I ended up having to move away from the city into a small town. All my hair fell out and I tried many medicines and doctors. I went to a naturalpath and it turned I was hyper sensitive to many food groups. After I was rid of the sensitivities I recovered fine. But sadly in the last two years I develops something new.. The doctors don't know what it is.. I have done blood work, urine samples, ultra sounds. My natural path concluded that it was my gall bladder that was causing me grief. I haven't been able to sleep or eat barely at all.. Today I went and got acupuncture and he also concluded that it was my gall bladder. I was fine but he placed one needle on my hand, and I started bawling.. Not because I was in pain but I just became extremely emotional suddenly. He expected it but not to the extent of my cries. I cries for a good 15 minutes.. And he told me a long story which I am too lazy to repeat but the baseline of the story is; my body has been in fight or flight mode since I was 6 months so my brain adapted to that sensation and when my life calmed down (2 years ago) my brain did not. So in some crazy explanation I became so I quote "brilliant at bottling up my emotions." this is all new information to my ears. And pretty much.. I don't write my feelings down because it doesn't help me, neither does praying, music or speaking with someone, every time I speak about my condition I become depressed. Mainly because I'm in so much pain and my doctors are idiots... So what should I do?? Sorry if this comment is long...

Jessica 4 years ago

Hi Mikayla-

I was reading this today because I can tell my feelings are bottled up and I am looking for ways to release them. Your comment hit on something important- something I knew about but had forgotten to consider: relaxation. So, I am going to try relaxing and see what feelings come up and THEN apply these other techiques.

I have also been in "fight or flight" mode most of my life and have struggled with depression. So,I both recommend trying relaxation and also caution you to make sure you have support for when/if the emotions start coming.

The quickest, easiest, most effective technique you can learn for relaxation is belly (deep) breathing. (you can do a search for it- there are lots of articles that teach it.) One tip that I have found is that it works better for me if I can remember to relax my shoulders. Otherwise my body is still too stiff and tense. Also, it can be hard to stay so still and quiet, so you might try listening to some music to give your mind something to focus on and keep it busy while your body relaxes (you probably need to teach both your body and mind how to relax). You can start out with more intense music if needed and work your way down to relaxing music.

I hope this helps you. Good luck with everything. It sounds like you have had a rough time of things and I hope it gets better.

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