Sunday, June 3, 2012

Expressing Emotions Keeps You Healthy

Even as adults, many of us still may be puzzled by what we’re feeling. Often we weren’t taught to pay attention to our feelings or distinguish between them. Like seeing or hearing, emotions alert us to how we’re responding to events, or to the people around us. Emotions need to be a comfortable part of who we are, a part that we accept and value, rather than hid or deny.   

I thought that if I could create a guide that clearly explains each emotion and its unique purpose, then adults might better help children know why emotions are important. We experience emotions every day, so children need guidance in recognizing them. They need help learning to read faces or body language that signal an emotion. They need help in making distinctions between being tired or angry, or being really afraid or just a little shy. Helping kids slow down and make these distinctions will help them become more aware of themselves and more sensitive toward others. Of course, when adults can comfortably express their own emotions, then children have a model to emulate and will feel freer in sharing their own emotions.      
Dr. Candace B. Pert in her book, Molecules of Emotion:  Why You Feel the Way You Feel,  talks about the importance of expressing emotions this way:  “ My research has shown me that when emotions are expressed--which is to say that the biochemical’s that are the substrate of emotion are flowing freely--all systems are united and made whole. When emotions are repressed, denied, not allowed to be whatever they may be, our network pathways get blocked, stopping the flow of the vital feel-good unifying chemicals that run both our biology and our behavior.”   

Here's an interesting Bill Moyer's interview with  Dr. Pert.
You can learn more about Dr. Pert here.


  1. Hi Peggy,

    Interesting article. I truly believe that keeping emotions bottled up can cause physical pain over time. Knowing the basis of emotions and understanding them is important in our every day function.

    All the best,

  2. Donna, You are so right. Keeping emotions bottled up can cause us to have headaches, tight knots in our stomach or feel anxious and stressed. Emotions cause cascades of chemicals to be released and they can either make us tense or help us relax. Expressing your emotions helps restore balance, both emotionally and physically.