Everybody bottles up their emotions at some point, and I'm no exception. Here are some techniques I've used to release those emotions.
Why Do People Bottle Up Their Emotions?
- They are unable to fight back in an argument situation (e.g., the "opponent" is more dominant or it is someone of authority that 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 feel a certain way, so they 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 placed someone in shock, and they just don't know how to deal with it, or they just block it out because they 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.
What Happens When You Bottle Up Your Emotions
- You can become crabby to be around and start snapping at other people for no 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, and 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 but 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, but it is also a way to positively take that negative energy and be creative with it. The song may be dark in subject or 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 they 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 that 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.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
unknown on July 05, 2020:
sometimes I feel like giving up and I always cry. no one notices how I deeply feel and i always feel crap. I write my emotions down in my diary but my family go through it and read it. I feel like I can't escape and want to get away from everything, I can't help but feel sad and lonely all the time. my family say I listen to depressing music but I like it and I mean...no wonder, it shows how I feel and they just brush it off as if it doesn't mean anything. I feel torn all the time n I feel as if there isn't a way out. I have gone through all sorts of grief and I always bottle up my emotions and I sometimes snap at other people but I don't mean to and then I get emotional. I don't think when I'm frustrated and I do stupid things. please help me.
10 year old girl on June 26, 2020:
This article might help me a lot when j was in the shower i tried choking my self and thought not today satan, so then i thought when i get my own house i could scream all i want , so then after i thought about that i think i could talk to another deppressed person ( how i know i have depression is beacause i think about suicide and i have no hope and i fell i am a mistake) i want to write it down but i have no notebooks and such i cry myself to sleep every night and i cant tell anyone because they will make fun of me, i have so many fears so i lock myself in my room until my mom says to play outside. So do you people have any more soloutions...girl
Anonymous 5th Grader on October 22, 2019:
Today was my birthday and nobody really gave a crap.
I'm in 5th grade, and yes the students acknowledged my birthday. But um..my parents and brother didn't realize how upset I was. I always get this really weird sensation when it's my birthday, this strange wave of sadness and guilt and depressing feelings. I don't know how it got there and how it can LEAVE. I just want to cry all day and nothing really bad happened to me yet.
My expectations for my birthday got higher and higher, but when my birthday comes across, it just feels like a normal day with privileges. And I don't like that, I really don't. I just want a birthday where I can feel good about myself again. But for now, nobody really gives a crap and I'll just spend the rest of my day feeling like I'm about to throw up in my stomach from being super dehydrated from uncontrollable sobbing.
stranger on September 15, 2018:
i'll try your methods. and all of the stress i've taking in and all of the emotion i haven't been letting out is really having an effect on me. i just started middle school and i feel like i will never feel anything ut stress again at some time. the work and the consant want for me to be an adult is overwhelming at some times. and my parents always wonder when i cry when i am feeling terrible. i just want it all to end...
Saber from Acton,MT on November 20, 2017:
I felt numb for a while, my family fights all of the time, my grandpa has set up some red flags, and the people at school are mean, what should i do? im 12 and all alone with my problems. in 3 days i get to see my cousin on thanksgiving. i tried and failed killing my self. i tried choking myself. putting my head under a wheel when my mom was backing up, and jumping off a building head first. mom came in when i tried choking myself. mom forgot to shift into reverse. and alex (my brother) called me when i was on the building. it's like things are saying no to kill myself.
Saber on September 29, 2017:
I dont want to sound needy but i need some more answers (again. Not to sound needy)
Saber from Acton,MT on September 28, 2017:
i go onto a building that is 10ft tall and i sing songs, talk to my cats or myself, and just look at the world around me and see the good in my life but the bad just creeps in. i found a frog outside and i found out its diet, anything that is small enough to fit in it's mouth. i love watching it stalk a cricket and it's very very fun. so i guess spending time with an animal other than a cat or dog is relieving in some sort of way.
Saber from Acton,MT on September 28, 2017:
i dont know what that means but ok?
Saber from Acton,MT on September 21, 2017:
thx lily i dont really like to exercise and i do have some one to put my trust in, my cousin, but i dont really get to see her much
Lily on September 20, 2017:
@Saber if you're into exercise, then I'd suggest jogging or any other physical activity (personally I'd recommend kickboxing) a way of release. If not, even if you can't, you should put your fear of scaring someone off with your problems away and still try to talk to someone you're close to. Confiding in another person, even if they might not understand what you may be feeling inside, might help.
Saber from Acton,MT on September 15, 2017:
hello um is anyone goin to give me ideas (no offense or to be rude)
Saber from Acton,MT on September 08, 2017:
i am the anonymous person i just didn't have an account when i posted it
Anonymous person on September 05, 2017:
ive been talking to my pets screaming on top of a building and i cant write down my feelings cause my family would snoop through it what do i do when im terrified and cant release all my feelings i have my cousing thats the same age as me but there is too much feelings to release and i cant release my feelings fast as they build up. what do i do, i need help, please.
Just anyone... on June 26, 2017:
A very wise solution....
1cat1 on May 13, 2017:
Thank you : ) I have to admit that I have contemplated suicide and praying does help. Your article was also helpful. I have a lot of self worth issues. I was never taught self worth or made to feel that I was important growing up.
StingingDruid on February 08, 2017:
I dont have anyone but i listen to music and play video games...does that count?
Juliet Berton on January 28, 2017:
Tom on January 16, 2017:
I appreciate this a lot. Although it doesn't quite seem to cover what I'm dealing with. It's a definite help to know that I'm not the only one.
Jessica on April 06, 2012:
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.
Mikayla on March 08, 2012:
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...
benalee on December 20, 2011:
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?
melanie blake on October 24, 2011:
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
ItsThatSimple from Florida on November 18, 2010:
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.
bojanglesk8 on November 07, 2010:
Good tips and suggestions. I find exercising and meditating works best to calm me down.
Sharada on September 28, 2010:
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.
Matthew Schlissel from Fort Lauderdale, FL on September 18, 2010:
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.
marcofratelli (author) from Australia on July 30, 2010:
Thanks fuscia & Sweetie. Your feedback always helps others.
Sweetie on July 29, 2010:
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.
fucsia on June 18, 2010:
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 .
marcofratelli (author) from Australia on June 03, 2010:
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?
inventorofaids on May 30, 2010:
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?
Andrew from Italy on March 05, 2010:
Done, the hub is about self hypnosis and cancer.
Have a great day!
marcofratelli (author) from Australia on March 05, 2010:
That would be an honor! Thanks hypnodude
Andrew from Italy on March 05, 2010:
I'll add a link here from my latest health hub. Let me know if it's ok for you. Great hub man. :)
marcofratelli (author) from Australia on January 28, 2010:
It is VERY easy to hold things in. Some people don't even realize they do it. Cheers treasuresyw
treasuresyw from Savannah, GA on January 28, 2010:
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 (author) from Australia on January 27, 2010:
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!
i on January 26, 2010:
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 (author) from Australia on January 15, 2010:
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 :)
BEAUTYBABE from QUEENSLAND AUSTRALIA. on January 15, 2010:
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 (author) from Australia on August 31, 2009:
Elder DeBorrah K Ogans on August 30, 2009:
You have made some good points and given very healthy ways to move towards resolve.
marcofratelli (author) from Australia on July 31, 2009:
Absolutely, thanks Patti Ann! Keeping a journal makes for a great read after many years as well! :)
Patti Ann from Florida on July 31, 2009:
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 (author) from Australia on July 27, 2009:
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!
emzneale on July 27, 2009:
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.
TonieTate from Metro-Atlanta on July 11, 2009:
I like putting my emotions on paper. Thanks for sharing this hub
amadavit from Cairns Far North Queensland, Australia on June 25, 2009:
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.
marcofratelli (author) from Australia on June 25, 2009:
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.
celistina on June 25, 2009:
Great hub; this is very well written. Bottling up emotions is extremely unhealthy and detrimental for our mental health. Thanks for writing this marco!
YEisHere from The Universe on June 17, 2009:
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...
Smart Dad from Northampton on June 09, 2009:
We should all really be aware of as many signs possible thx for your voice
Princess Kari from Sydney, Australia on May 18, 2009:
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?
Frieda Babbley from Saint Louis, MO on April 11, 2009:
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.
Joanna McKenna from Central Oklahoma on February 28, 2009:
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.
Pam Roberson from Virginia on January 03, 2009:
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! :)
Cris A from Manila, Philippines on December 07, 2008:
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
marcofratelli (author) from Australia on December 07, 2008:
Thanks for sharing your techniques, I appreciate it
Dr Kulsum Mehmood from Nagpur, India on December 07, 2008:
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.
goldentoad from Free and running.... on December 06, 2008:
good hub. I try to keep cool in a crisis situation and then later it explodes on the page.