Life is not a bed of roses, as they say. There are ups and downs, and sometimes the downs can be terrifying. A lot of people go through abuse and don’t stop to take the time to process and heal it. This causes them to develop emotional baggage, if this happens for a long while. In this blog post, we will discuss how to get rid of emotional baggage in five ways. Let’s get started!
We are going to teach you how to get rid of emotional baggage in five valuable ways here.
1. Identify Your Feelings That Surface
You can start off by naming your feeling. It tends to decrease emotional intensity, as research indicates. There are cognitive distortion categories to help you do this. Another easy way to name your feelings is by placing them in emotional categories. It is necessary to identify the feelings that surface as you start healing to learn how to get rid of emotional baggage. You can channel feelings in a healthy way only after you are aware of them. When you connect with yourself, and try to understand what you are feeling, it will pay off. Sometimes people have a long habit of repressing emotions, which they can resolve by taking to a therapist.
2. Process Past Trauma
More often than we realize it, the trauma that we experience in our adult lives stems from events that happened in our childhoods. This may include a dysfunctional family, bullying, separation from a parent or caregiver, losing a loved one at a tender age, neglect, and sexual, physical, emotional, and mental abuse.
There are many ways unresolved childhood trauma starts surfacing, such as withdrawal from social activities, feeling depressed, blaming others for what you felt, or blaming yourself. You need to sit with the grief and accept and become at peace with this thing that you may never get what you wanted.
When you allow yourself the time to grieve your loss, you will also come to terms with what coping mechanism you developed at the time of the loss, that is causing you trouble now. For instance, if you have become independent as a coping mechanism, you might end up unintentionally isolating yourself. You might be thinking others are alienating you, but it’s because of the independence as a reaction to your traumatic experience. This will help you address the root cause of the issue and alter your coping mechanism to fulfill your current emotional needs.
3. Do Shadow Work
Every person has different layers to themselves. But not everyone gets to explore them. According to the theory of Yin and Yang, there is dark and light energy in the same person. In an attempt to stay civil and good, most people remain unaware of their shadow side. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have one!
Start exploring your shadow side, that you keep hidden from yourself due to inadequacy or shame or whatever reason. People don’t accept these parts of themselves because they think no one is going to accept them. An example of this is telling a weeping child to stop crying or calm down. This invalidates their emotion and makes them ashamed of expressing their emotions. This behavior initiates a very destructive pattern of emotional repression the child, who keeps doing that on autopilot till they grow into an adult.
But doing shadow work brings to light these sides that got repressed. One way to do it is journaling. You can keep on online or paperback journal – the point is to write in it what you feel.
4. Make Intentional Movement
As part of learning how to get rid of emotional baggage, you will also get to learn about intentional movement. Did you know that if you leave a repressed emotion or tension in an unprocessed state for too long, it lingers in your body as unresolved energy? Yes, it’s true. Somatic Experiencing is a technique that helps free the unprocessed trauma to help the body heal itself. Intentional movement is a technique in which you make different types of movements like belly breathing exercises, meditative walking, tai chi, qi gong, martial arts, shaking, yoga, stretching, and dancing. These movements make your body feel safe in a way it has never felt before, particularly people that have accumulated trauma of several years. Intentional movement frees trapped trauma, helping your brain learn the difference between relaxation and tension.
5. Practice Stillness
When you are still, you become more aware of your feelings and thoughts at the moment. This is why meditation is also practiced – to teach you how to be still, so you can learn how to be mindfully aware of the feelings you experience within. When you learn how to be still and idle, you trigger self-generated cognition. Examples of self-generated cognition include letting your mind wander, daydreaming, and imagining. This is very valuable to our minds and bodies, even though on the surface it may look like it is just a waste of time. This is when emotions come into your conscious awareness. You can practice stillness via progressive muscle relaxation, repeating affirmations, listening to soothing music, sitting in nature, doing breathing exercises, and meditation.
The Final Word
When you are learning how to get rid of emotional baggage, you will have to do a lot of freeing up trapped trauma, that lingers as stuck energy in your body. It is the limbic area of your brain that processes emotions. Undoubtedly, some areas of your body may have trapped tension linked to a troubling emotional experience, but your brain is where the emotion is getting recreated. So, you can break the chain of this recreation with techniques like naming your emotions, processing your trauma, doing shadow work, making intentional movement, and practicing stillness. This will heal your past trauma and release the trapped negative energy. If you are interested in learning more ways to deal with emotional baggage, check out the book “Let’s Heal: Queens and Kings” by writer Aala Coax.