Today’s society frowns upon expressing negative emotions and seeking emotional help. Instead, society expects everyone to maintain composure. The expectation is to stay positive in the face of grief, frustration, anger, and sadness.
While staying in control is a useful quality to have, suppressing emotions is not. It can have detrimental effects to your physical, mental, and emotional health.
There’s nothing wrong with expressing how you feel. In fact, its benefits go beyond making you feel better.
8 Science-Based Benefits of Expressing Your Emotions
A lot of research has been done on the effects of expressing one’s feelings and receiving emotional support. Take a look at what the science says:
It has a soothing effect.
Emotional expression can help you calm yourself and regulate your feelings. It also helps reduce your distress. Crying, especially, has been found to activate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). This then helps people relieve stress and relax.
It can relieve pain.
Releasing trapped negative emotions releases endorphins and oxytocin. These chemicals relieve both physical and emotional pain. It also increases one’s sense of well-being.
It improves vision.
Who knew that tears can literally help you see clearer? The National Eye Institute says that basal tears have a lubricating effect that prevents mucous membranes from drying out. This prevents blurry vision and allows you to see more clearly.
It strengthens your interpersonal connections.
Being vulnerable in front of others by sharing how you feel, especially negative feelings, drives people to support you. A study found that it triggers attachment behaviour, which is when others rally to give you support. This is considered a social or interpersonal benefit.
It boosts your mood.
Aside from relieving pain, the endorphins and oxytocin released when you express emotions also improves your mood. That’s why they’re also called “feel good chemicals.”
It relieves stress and reduces toxins in your body.
Repressing negative emotions can have serious consequences. It’s been found to increase the risk of diseases, weakens the immune system, and impact cognitive functioning. When you receive emotional support, the levels of stress hormones go down as well.
It enhances sleep quality.
A 2015 study found that releasing emotions can help individuals sleep better. This is due to the pain-relieving, mood-enhancing, and calming effects of expressing how you feel.
It helps your body fight bacteria.
When you cry as a result of expressing your emotions, your tears help kill bacteria due a fluid called lysozyme. This fluid has powerful antibacterial properties.
Take Care of Your Emotional Health with Talking for Therapy
There is no doubt that seeking emotional help is good for you, but it doesn’t make it easy to do so. You may be uncomfortable sharing how you feel with others. Maybe you don’t have a strong support system, or you simply prefer opening up to strangers.
Find the non-judgmental emotional help you need with Talking for Therapy. Talk to us about how you’re feeling, whether you’re just having a bad day or seeking advice for emotional trauma.