Healing Solutions For You - Alternative and Integrative Healing Practices

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Emotional Growth: A Missing Link to Health – Part I

Most Americans are aware of the importance of maintaining our physical health. We are bombarded by ads for diets and diet products, reminded on the news about the need to exercise, told of the benefits of certain foods. Some of us even follow the advice. The opposite holds true for emotional health. Although it is known that depression and mental illness are important to address, there seems to be a vast ignorance of the importance for emotional growth and intelligence. In fact, our American society reflects a huge amount of emotional dysfunction. The evidence is found in our behavior: holding things in, blowing up, passive aggression, avoiding things, numbing ourselves. It all stems from not knowing how to communicate with others or ourselves, how to heal our emotional/mental hangups or deal with difficult topics.

Holding Things In
Holding things in can be very damaging to the psyche; it eats at you whether ‘it’ is anger or hurt. What you hold in must eventually come out. Have you ever tried lining a drawer with Contact Paper? Little bubbles can form if you don’t lay it perfectly flat. The only way to get the little bubbles out is to pop them or push them to the edge of the contact paper, in essence, letting the air out of them. The same holds true for negative thought patterns and emotions. It is a universe law: what comes in must come out. Everything in the universe works upon this principle and everything comes out eventually. And while negative thought patterns and emotions remain within us, they poison our thoughts and affect our lives, often without our even noticing. This is not to suggest that we should just blow up if we are angry. We need to heal these things within us.

Blowing up

Blowing up can feel good in the moment. On a certain level, it is good to release that pent up energy. On the other hand, when we blow up we are rarely rational or compassionate in the moment. Someone who is ranting will often exaggerate the situation. This exaggeration is a reflection of their intense emotion, (ie energy buildup) however, it is not rational. Blowing up often results from things being held in. This usually becomes apparent when the person starts yelling about things that have nothing to do with that situation. Blowing up doesn’t improve situations. It is also not compassionate. It doesn’t matter what a person did or did not do, they are still a living being. They have a spirit, a psyche and emotions. It is normal for human beings to experience anger; however, there are healthier ways of expressing it.

Passive aggression

Passive aggression seems to be even more common than blowing up, especially among females. It is an especially insidious way to express anger as it is not as overt. It is used when an individual doesn’t feel safe enough to directly say how they feel. I’ve observed this in many relationships where there is a lack of communication. Passive aggression can be very hurtful. If used in a relationship over time, it corrodes any trust or good will between the individuals.

Avoiding things

Avoiding things is another common pattern I’ve observed. I find it dumbfounding when talking to someone whom I know is having a difficult time (a death, a breakup, etc.) and they just cheerfully respond, “I’m fine!” Certainly, there are times when you simply are not emotionally ready to discuss something. Instead, the healthy response is, “I would prefer not to discuss ________ right now (or with you).” Avoiding situations and topics can lead to resentment, especially in important relationships such as with family. Individuals can actually delude themselves into believing that things are a certain way, for example that their spouse is not having an affair. In extreme situations, people have actually convinced themselves that someone is not dead or that their spouse didn’t leave them. There are certain topics we tend to avoid as a society as a whole such as aging and death. Many people feel uncomfortable talking about or will even broach the subject of end of life care. People who have had serious illnesses often describe how they discovered who their real friends were; many of their previous friends disappeared because they felt uncomfortable around them or didn’t know what to say.


Alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, prescription drugs, recreational drugs, hard drugs, packrat behavior, overeating, sexual addiction, in fact any addiction are numbing agents. Numbing is dangerous to our emotional/mental health because it allows us to avoid things and it causes us to hold things in. This is not to suggest that we can’t relax because we need to be working on our issues 24/7. We shouldn’t be numbing ourselves, however. All chemicals (such as alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, drugs) alter our brain/body chemistry, affect our energy field and numb our emotions. There are therapeutic situations in which prescription drugs or small amounts of alcohol or caffeine are beneficial. However, they are detrimental when consumed in the quantities they are usually used. These numbing agents are used to repress many things: anxiety, fear, anger, loneliness, etc. Many people go to the bar if they’ve broken up or feel lonely. Some people smoke when they are stressed. I find it interesting too how some smokers crave cigarettes after sex. When we engage in such an intimate activity as making love, it opens up our heart chakra, breaks down barriers and brings emotions to the surface. This can make one feel vulnerable and they might react by wanting to stuff the emotions back in with cigarettes, etc. Numbing is even a popular pastime in the United States. Yes, it is actually considered a pastime as in going out for a drink (or five or six) with friends.


Emotional and mental wellbeing is just as important as our physical health. Emotions and issues can be difficult and painful to face. There are, though, more constructive ways we can deal with our emotions than to hold things in, blow up, use passive aggression, avoid things or numb ourselves. One very valuable tool to develop emotional wellness is flower essence therapy. Our thought patterns and mental constructs are very complex. Much of these things remain hidden to us. They affect our behavior, our choices and our very lives! It can be difficult sometimes to put our finger on what it is that is holding us back because often the only thing we are aware of are our emotions, the reaction to our thought patterns. Flower essence therapy works with our subconscious minds and brings us clarity to what is going on. As it subtly increases our awareness, we become more conscious of our thoughts and behavior allowing us to grow and change. Flower essences clear away the fog so we can see things as they truly are, to process and understand them, and to enable us to move on, whether it is an old issue or a new situation. Flower essences allow us to constructively interact with others and to deal with our emotions in a healthy way. A healthy mind creates a healthy body.

Balance in Body -Mind - Spirit = True health

In Part II of this article (November), I will discuss ways to interact/communicate with others effectively and additional tools to establish emotional wellbeing.

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