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Breaking the cycle of repressed emotions


The power of the mind is an important component for health and healing and one that has been largely ignored and underestimated by those in the general medical community.  We have specialists in every field, with a multitude of different opinions, and yet the average person has very little understanding of the basic mechanics of their mind and body. The question is, what is at the root of much of the stress that chronically debilitates health and prepares the way for disease to develop? Modern research is confirming the age–old wisdom that emotions profoundly affect our physiology. Repressing emotions frequently brings on stress, which, in turn, can lead to disease.


I recently read a very insightful book by Gabor Maté called When the body says No, which explores the effects of repressed emotions on illness and health. It outlines the role that stress and one′s individual emotional makeup plays in a range of common diseases. Maté explains in his book - "If we gain the ability to look into ourselves with honesty, compassion and with unclouded vision, we can identify the ways we need to take care of ourselves." In essence, what goes on in the mind determines what goes on in the physical body. For a very simple example of how the power of thought affects your physiology, close your eyes and imagine that you are sucking a lemon. Notice how your mouth begins to water?  We have similar reactions to thoughts and emotions. When we get angry, our temperature rises, when we see someone yawning or scratching, it makes us react in the same way. These are physical responses to the information going into your mind.


I wrote in my book The Survivors Mindset of the many ordinary people – like you and me – who gained the power to turn their lives around, simply by being receptive to dealing with their emotional states. Even though they’d received the harrowing news that they had cancer, or some other life-threatening illnesses, they refused to give in and were able to mobilise powerful immune responses within their bodies to defeat their disease.

While addressing repressed emotions can be an uncomfortable experience it is often a necessary one. Addiction, anger, guilt, resentment, anxiety, emotional eating plague many on a daily basis. We keep busy to suppress and ignore our feelings often to the point of near obsession.

Events in early childhood seem to have a major impact on how we react to life. Brain pathways and functions are organized from the most simple to the most complex. The development of these functions that were formed to protect us during childhood, depend on the repetition of experiences. Experiences teach the brain what to expect and how to respond and have an impact on development. For those who have had traumatic experiences whether they are large or small, these early experiences can hold us back or worse may cause longer-term effects in areas such as setting boundaries, attachment issues, trouble forming relationships, feeling empathy, shame or guilt, or low self-esteem problems, controlling impulses, oppositional behaviour, aggression, eating patterns.

You may know intellectually what things are holding you back, but feel powerless to do something about them. So you remain stuck unable to get the help you need. Unfortunately intellectually analysing problems with our mind does very little to change this old electrical wiring in our brains. I know for many change represents a profound challenge that can lead to uncertainty and the denial of feasible alternatives.


Over the years my research has brought me in new and exciting directions where I gained vital knowledge about mind development programmes from the ground breaking work of Jose Silva’s ‘”Whole Brain Thinking ‘method,” to walking 3 times on hot coals at Anthony Robbins fun and transformative self-empowerment programmes and I’ve attended the Hippocrates Health Institute life transformation programme on numerous occasions and met real people who achieved amazing results in overcoming disease. More recently I attended a course on self-development called the Landmark Forum and in all the years that I have had the privilege of helping those with health challenges I have never witnessed emotional healing on such a deep level. I watched people reshape their lives after decades upon decades of emotion repression. I was blown away.

If there are areas of your life you want to tackle. I encourage you to attend these life transformation programmes because they will help you overcome your biggest fears. You may say I don’t need that- I am grand or I am not that messed up. I get that – I also get that most people are hesitant to talk about their feelings, we diminish our losses, downplay the bad stuff or wear a mask throughout life. Sometimes we cannot see what’s at the root of our problems. These programmes are designed to help you see what’s blocking or interfering with your ability to free yourself of repressed emotions. They can give you a wider understanding of what lies beneath the mask. If you want better relationships in your life, a work environment that motivates and excites you, growth, self-expression, and progress give Landmark Forum a go.

If attending one of these programmes is not possible there are many self-help groups that can support you. Maté explains in his book how suppressing emotions and not expressing them in an open honest way could be detrimental to your wellbeing. A common sign of these suppressed emotions is mental fatigue, brain fog, or distracted thinking. You may also find yourself tired more often than usual or you have elevated stress levels, higher heart rates, higher levels of anxiety, and experience overall less psychological well-being than those who have opportunities for self-expression. Communicate how you feel, don’t bottle things up. Seek out an accredited counsellor to help you work through your feelings. Even talking to a trusted friend can help enormously. It’s a wonderful gift to share your experience with others and to see the positive effects they have on your life.

My Three Girls at Ella's Birthday <3. Granddaughter Ella & Daughters Sarah & Julie

My granddaughter had her third birthday yesterday and I watched the pure trusting innocence that she possesses. She is at one with the world, full of wide-eyed confidence, her carefree spirit lighting up our lives and I wish we all could hold onto this in our lives. Idealistic I might be but I look forward to a day when our school system teaches emotional competence to our children and takes a more holistic viewpoint, otherwise our children may well repeat the negative patterns they have learned in childhood.

Invest time in your mental and emotional health. It is the best investment you will ever make.