Why Stuffing Your Feelings is Unhealthy

Are you someone who cleverly “stuffs your feelings?” It’s more common than you might think. We get media messages every day that tell us that we’re supposed to always be happy, even perky and if you aren’t then there must be something wrong with you. Not only is this not true, but it drives me crazy! Our feelings are the very thing that separate us from all other species, but we’re told not to feel them, let alone experience them. When we ignore our feelings–particularly people who are in stressful situations–eventually our bodies scream at us.

Many of us have been taught to stuff our feelingsto ignore them, to just “buck up.” When you do this, you are in trouble. We need to embrace our negative feelings and I encourage you to do the same. They show up for a reason. They are yelling at you because you’ve ignored them. Honor your negative feelings just like you honor moments of joy. Sadness, anger, resentment, frustration, and even depression are all part and parcel of life.

Creative ways to let go of the negative emotions

These might sound ridiculous, but you will feel better afterward.

  • Sit in your car and scream at the top of your lungs with windows closed. Just scream.
  • Go for a run or take a kickboxing class. This helps release the tension.
  • Go to the beach and kick sand or pound the water.
  • Strike a pillow with a foam bat.

You get where I’m going here, right? There is a physical activity involved with letting go of negativity. You don’t want to yell at someone. You don’t want to take this out on your loved one. You don’t want to take it out when you’re driving. And you certainly don’t want your negative feelings to eat away at you. Find a way (that works for you) to manage your frustration, anger, resentment, and even sadness. When you begin paying attention to what you’re feeling, you’ll also begin to see what triggers you. Just experiment and go with it, because once you start doing this, the negative feelings will begin to fade and your life will become more balanced. If you ignore them, they will continue to surface and wreak havoc with your well-being.

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Gratitude Gives You Wings
Trusting Your Instincts
Relaxing: Why It’s Hard and How Caregivers Can Learn to Unwind

Stuffing Your Feelings: An Unhealthy Caregiver Coping Mechanism originally appeared on AgingCare.com.

Try this exercise:

Each morning when you wake up, check in with yourself. How are you feeling? If it’s joy – beautiful! Enjoy it. If it’s depression or anger, give yourself a hug – a big hug, and ask for support. Allow yourself to feel the emotion for a day. Unless you are in real emotional trouble, chances are that these feelings will begin to dissipate. However, if you continue to feel angry and nothing really helps you, please seek a medical opinion. Honoring your feelings and not feeling guilty about them is all part of the holistic approach I use when I’m coaching caregivers. I encourage you to listen to your soul and honor the feelings that show up for you.



Why It’s Important to be Your Own Best Friend
Beat Bad Habits by Suppressing Your Own Stress
How to Find the Positive in Negative Emotions


By Cindy Laverty, AgingCare.com Contributor

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Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla2 years ago

Sharing... Writing helps me a lot.

Summerannie Moon
Summerannie M.2 years ago

I gave a heap of whangs into the fence today b/c the paling had fallen off. Then I went to the front paling fence and whanged two more pickets in again.
Gee I really got into it and felt better...heheh didnt know that was part of therapy for me

Rosie Lopez
Rosie Lopez3 years ago

writing in a journal helps too

Aditya Narayan
Aditya n.3 years ago

always practiced this " if you don't mind ..then it doesn't matter" it was just another form of stuffing my feelings in the "doesn't matter drawer".. but over the years i realised .. this only good for physical training of body .. this was extreme bad for mind ..for mind works on newton's 3rd law ..." every action has equal and opposite reaction " and if we stuff the opposite reaction part ...then it creates big problem later..so i think we must give give appropriate output for every input ..sometimes being vocal .with simple talk...sometimes through demand .. sometimes through diplomatic ways..and sometimes through leadership..sometimes with respect or disrespect...but we should never use hate.( i think what most important here .how positively and harmoniously and wisely we remove the stuffed feelings .. and not let it accumulate ..)

Anne Thorsen
Past Member 3 years ago

I surpressed my feelings for years, trying to avoid being a burden for others. When I now have started to share feelings and life-incidents with others, I only get positive feedback on it. Everyone actually appreciate that I share, because then they feel trusted and have the chanse to help me out or support me, being a true friend ;). It is great finally learning that sharing only makes you stronger

Stella Gamboni
Stella Gamboni3 years ago

The key here is having a physical outlet for anger and stress. Running, yelling, hammering nails, even video games, help vent the pressure. Meditation can help keep the stress lower and make it easier to cope but it, too, can be a form of "stuffing your feelings".

a             y m.
g d c.3 years ago


Loo Samantha
Loo sam3 years ago


Karen R.
Karen R.3 years ago


Emefa Dekonor
Emefa Dekonor3 years ago

I crochet or engage in some form of crafting to ease depression, being in the garden helps and just being outside and breathing the air and enjoying watching the clouds roll by is a great way to gain perspective on things and feel refreshed