Feel all the feels

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15551482 - concerned surgeon sitting in the hospital with hand on headAs a culture and society, we’re conditioned to suppress negative emotions and put on a happy face. Not only is this not sustainable, it’s unhealthy. The human experience is not always easy, and feeling pain and suffering is necessary to move forward.

That’s why we at Deer Hollow, a treatment center in Utah, like to say there’s no such thing as good emotions and bad emotions, only human ones. Today we wanted to take a moment to talk more about this and how naming and owning emotions are key to recovery.

Despite what the outside world tells us, we need to internalize all emotions. Of course, there are emotions that we feel more at home with. Love, joy and gratitude make us feel good inside. However, as much as we may dislike feeling angry or sad, we need to acknowledge the emotions and let them pass. Emotions are core to being evolved species and they even have evolutionary reasons in that they help us to function, survive and live healthy, happy lives. Here’s a look at how emotions can be used to our advantage:

Emotions motivate us
They help us thread emotions and give us the motivation to achieve the goals we have in mind. Ever felt the urge to do something bold that ended up serving you in the end? You can thank your emotions for that.

Emotions connect us
We as humans assign meaning to facial expressions and body language. These are ways we can express ourselves so others can understand us better. When we allow allows to get to know us better through sharing our joys and challenges, they start to unpeel the layers and connect on a deeper level.

Emotions are natural
No two people are the same and that’s a thing of beauty. Our distinct differences in our emotions make us stand out. For instance, what makes you laugh might not hit a friend the same way and that’s what makes humans so fascinating.

In short, processing emotions is critical to our mental health. Sometimes it’s easier than others to move through this process. We don’t always know what to do with our emotions. At the same time, releasing them is not optional. Society may send us a message that it’s weak to show negative emotion, but the truth is, strength comes from a place of respecting emotions. Take time to respect them, process them and manage them and you the keys to success in recovery.