In the last several posts I have discussed the importance of setting the intention to overcome depression which must be tied to a greater meaning or higher calling. I have also discussed the importance of optimal nutrition and movement in healing depression. This week I’d like to talk about the role of our emotions.
Most of us go through our lives with the desire to only experience positive emotions of joy, happiness and ecstasy and seeking to avoid negative emotions which include sadness, grief, anger, regret, guilt and shame. We do this because these emotions are usually painful to experience. This is, however, very misguided.
The reason I say this is that by virtue of being human with the free will to do whatever we want, we are likely to have experiences that result in negative emotions. A simple example of this is our romantic relationships. When we enter relationships, there is no guarantee that they will last. In fact, statistics show that nearly 50% of marriages end in divorce.
With the likelihood that any relationship that we are in could possibly end, this will inevitably lead to negative emotions such as sorrow, bitterness, anger and regret. Does this mean that we should not enter relationships in order to protect ourselves from these negative emotions? Of course not.
The fact is that our lives in this physical plane are going to be far from perfect and we are bound to experience negative emotions. The problem arises when these emotions are too painful to experience and we try to repress them to avoid this pain. The fact of the matter is that pain is unavoidable in our imperfect earthy lives and we are all bound to experience this.
When we try to repress our negative emotions, they get trapped somewhere in our bodies and lead to suffering. So, although we may avoid pain in the moment, we end up causing prolonged suffering over time. This is because those repressed emotions will resurface when we face stressful situations or situations which resemble the ones which caused the negative emotions.
For example, if you feel sorrow and regret because you were rejected by a love interest you might suppress this feeling and hope it goes away. However, it will resurface anytime you face any kind of rejection in your life such as rejection for a job position. This will continue to occur in similar situations which is why this repressed sorrow and regret will result in ongoing suffering.
This ongoing suffering from adverse feelings you are afraid to face is one of the major causes of depression. This is why antidepressants are seldom ineffective because they do not address this underlying cause. The fact is that, as a being of consciousness having a physical experience on this earth, you are bound to experience the whole spectrum of emotions from despair to ecstasy.
This is why all of our emotions are meant to be experienced and not suppressed. In fact, if you allow yourself to experience any emotion fully, you will not prolong suffering and always come to a place of deep inner peace. I discuss the process of burning through our unresolved feelings in my recently released book, ‘Healing From The Inside Out: Overcome Chronic Disease And Radically Change Your Life.’
So always be aware of what you are feeling at any moment in your life and do not resist any emotion. This is one of the most important aspects of being human and what is meant by living life to the fullest.
Nauman Naeem MD FCCP FRCPC