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  • Writer's pictureGladys Agwai


You were born to be an emotional human being free to express your emotions openly. However, along the way you learned to suppress your emotions to ensure you were accepted, loved, and belonged. Because you never expressed your fear, anger, frustration, sadness, guilt, or shame, your emotions were never processed in a healthy way.

My parents nor any adult showed me or talked to me about how to deal with difficult emotions, but they struggled with this as well. I remember when those emotions came up for me, I would choke them down never showing or speaking about my feelings. I perceived that my feelings did not matter, and I needed to go along to get along. I carried this through my corporate experience as a black woman in America and Africa. I soldiered on because it was the only way I knew all while feeling too often hopeless and powerless.

Am I the only one? Many people are guilty of pushing their feelings out of the way using those two famous words, “I’m fine.” Or when asked, “What’s wrong?”, you hear or say “Nothing”. This is an unhealthy habit that is done without thinking as you deny and suppress your true emotions. Your emotions must be expressed in some way to be processed! When not expressed and processed correctly, the stress is stored in your body and expressed through physical aches and pains. Even though you attempt to disown your feelings, you can never disown them! Emotions are always waiting patiently first and then impatiently to express themselves. The longer you wait the greater the consequences for choosing to wait.

Where is unexpressed emotional stress stored in your body creating toxicity?

1. Lower Back: Anger is stored in this lumbar region of your back. Chronic stress activates your nervous system putting stress on your spinal cord. For relief, express yourself in clear and simple terms.

2. Gut: Fear is stored in your stomach and intestines causing indigestion, gut pain, bloating, or constipation. Accept your fear and understand why you are fearful. Openly talk about your fears in a safe space to lessen its control.

3. Chest, Heart, and Lungs: Hurt experienced through the actions of others is stored in this area leading to shallow breathing, tightening of the chest, panic attacks, and exhaustion. Allow your feelings acknowledging the pain. It is okay to mourn over these experiences and feel. Your breath signals your state of mind. Breathing is deep when calm and shallow when stressed. Be intentional to practice deep breathing exercises to train yourself to recognize your stress levels and take the appropriate action.

4. Head: When you feel you have lost control over your life or situation, it affects your head, i.e., headaches or migraines. Release control over what you have no control over which is everything but you. Control your attitude, behavior, and results.

5. Shoulders: When overwhelmed, overworked, or too much responsibility, your shoulders and neck muscles will tighten. Learn to say no, shed and simplify your life, and learn to delegate.

6. Voice and Throat: Oppressive environmental experiences bring issues with stuttering or an inability to speak. Seek help to talk through your experience with someone you trust and see if journaling or reading out loud helps.

7. Sleep: Your sleep cycle is disrupted when dealing with intense personal growth or some life-impacting change. A long period of insomnia can cause serious health problems like diabetes and hypertension.

8. Jaw: Many people clench their jaws and grind their teeth when responding to stress. This strains and tightens your neck muscles. Be intentional to notice when tightening

and relaxing your jawbone.

9. Pelvic Floor and Hips: This area carries the heaviest burden of your emotional damage. Old disappointments, feelings of security, and physical freedom are carried here. Assess what you have been carrying all this time that needs to be expressed and released. Yoga has helped me reflect, open, and strengthen this area and allowed me to release old baggage.

Unresolved emotions lead to burnout, emotional imbalance, and disease undermining your overall well-being. I learned to express and process my emotions in healthy ways moving them through and out of my body. I recognize and accept my feelings as they come and go. I feel the depth of my emotions ensuring self-compassion and forgiveness looking for the lessons and opportunities. I no longer neglect my physical and mental self-care. It has been liberating! Join me!

“Emotion is created by a cause, whether that cause is factual, or imaginary does not matter, as long as the believer holds it as true.”-Bangambiki

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