There used to be nothing wrong with repressing emotions. Repressing emotions was what kept people from ever getting close to us, a tough but necessary maneuver if we were to ever be successful on our mission of going through life without ever being hurt again.
Sadly, it’s time for us to open our butts and let out the rancid, rotten farts that are our repressed emotions. If not, it could kill us.
Some studies have linked the repression of negative emotions to increased stress. Oh you don’t say. Is dragging around 26 years worth of emotional baggage stressful? I hadn’t noticed!
Studies have also linked better health outcomes for breast-cancer patients, people with asthma and people who have experienced a traumatic event when they write about their feelings. In a study of people who lived to be 100 years old, an aptitude for emotional expression was found to be a common trait, along with a positive attitude towards life, among the long-lived.
Since it would be a shame to let emotions have the last laugh by allowing them to kill us, we need to teach ourselves how to emote. Lucky for us, expressing emotions is a skill that can be learned quickly. It’s not unlike learning yourself a lil guitar. You memorize a couple chords, a few famous riffs and BOOM. You can play guitar. Sure, it’s the bare minimum but when has the bare minimum not been good enough?
To keep death by stress at bay, the emotional chords and riffs we need to practice are: happy and angry.
Learning to express happy is simple. Like the riff in Adam’s Song by Blink-182 simple. All it takes to learn how to happy is to take a picture of your frown. Then print it and tape it upside down to your bathroom mirror. The upside down frown should approximately be what happy looks like. Contort your face accordingly. This is what we in the emotional science community refer to as “smile.” Repeat “happy” in your softest tone while holding your face in this position. The repetition will condition your brain to assume a smile whenever you feel happy, thus expressing the feeling and saving your life.
Never force a smile, though. Never ever. Forcing a smile to induce happy is counterproductive. No one really likes people who are perpetually happy. Perhaps out of jealousy, perhaps because they think you’re dim or inexperienced. Plus, forcing a smile likely means you are repressing other as of yet unnamed emotions that evoke a blue hue.
Learning to express angry is also simple. It also feels amazing. 10/10, would recommend. Like picking up an acoustic guitar at a killer house party rager and busting out Wonder Wall by Oasis amazing. To express angry, stomp around the block roaring “ANGRY!” at every bird, breeze and baby carriage that comes within a few feet of you. Eventually someone will inquire as to what your fucking problem is. The indignity of someone questioning your quest to improve yourself will make genuine anger bubble up and spurt from your mouth without hesitation (thanks to the roaring which boosting your adrenaline and confidence). Problem solved.
Keep at it and you’ll be a regular emotion expressing ROCK GOD. You have the potential to not get yourself killed from emotional repression. Also, try not to burnt yourself out expressing emotions because that too will kill you.