Experiencing and addressing difficult emotions can be very challenging, but consistently ignoring our emotions or distracting ourselves from them is not good for our well-being.
Our in-built survival mechanism ensures that sometimes very traumatic experiences are buried away without us even knowing it. This can be necessary just in order to make life tolerable and to allow us to go on functioning on a day-to-day basis.
Often though we avoid addressing unpleasant feelings and emotions with some degree of awareness of what we doing. We think that we are keeping our life on an even-keel by denying their importance
There usually comes a point, however, when the psychological effort of holding those emotions at bay becomes too much, creating inner conflict and forcing them to emerge in unexpected ways - in the form of a sudden panic attack for example.
Pushing down or repressing challenging emotions such as grief, sadness, anger or resentment, doesn’t make them disappear - it is very common for people to experience intense anxiety, low mood and emotional overwhelm as a result.
Even those emotions which were repressed for survival purposes, maybe when we were very young, are best addressed at some point in our lives if we are to find inner peace rather than live in a constant state of half suppressed fear and anxiety.
Much of the work we do as counsellors involves helping people to acknowledge and safely connect with these emotions and to work them through. This allows the emotional residue left by difficult or traumatic experiences to be processed in a safe way, helping people to achieve a greater sense of equilibrium and self-acceptance.