The Benefits of Sharing Your Emotions
By Anne Clare
Many people avoid sharing their emotions, particularly their negative emotions, with others for fear of burdening them or making them thing badly of us. However it is now widely acknowledged that expressing emotion is good for our emotional and mental health. New research has even found that putting feelings and emotions into words releases hormones that have therapeutic effects on the brain, meaning that verbalising our problems can actually make their pain seem less intense.
This is something that women are historically considered better able to do than men. Many men find it very difficult to share their emotions with others. Traditional concepts of masculinity and what it means to be a man means that men are encouraged to bury their emotions and often suffer mental confusion and anguish as a result. This mental anguish can even translate into physical pain: Actively holding back our emotions puts a strain on our body's defences, and focusing on this may negatively affect the way in which the immune system, heart and vascular systems all function. This increases the long term risk of developing disease and chronic health conditions. Reprogramming and learning how to share our emotions with others, particularly those closest to us, is therefore vital. Here are a few ways in which you can share you emotions, and the health benefits of doing so:
Sharing Emotions to Bond
One of the hallmarks of a good relationship (be it romantic, familial or friendship) is being able to share your life experiences and emotions with each other. This is one of the main ways in which we form emotional bonds and connections with others. There are reciprocal benefits of sharing your emotions for bonding purposes: you will both feel closer to each other, your relationship will strengthen, and your connection will increase. Knowing someone better through shared emotions and experiences also increases the quality of that relationship, ultimately bringing greater enrichment through the connection.
Sharing Emotions to Vent
It is often said that “a problem shared is a problem halved,” and sharing emotions in order to vent can be massively beneficial, particularly to your levels of stress, frustration and anxiety. Even talking (or venting) about a problem can minimise the impact it has on your life and help you to put its real scale into perspective. Venting can be massively cathartic, in psychoanalytical terms. Emotional anguish can cause internal pressure to build, and venting can help you to find emotional release for that pressure. Bottling up emotions can have huge negative health impacts, so venting in order to release those emotions is essential for both mental and physical health.
Sharing Emotions for Support and Guidance
One reason that people sometimes choose to share their emotions is because they are looking for social support from their peers, and building an emotional connection is a great way to achieve this. Being listened to by others, and having them share their experiences with you in return, is a great way to validate your place in the world and confirm that your thoughts and feelings are important, and should be taken into account. Your feelings are often legitimised when they are shared with, and listened to by, an attentive friend or family member. Sharing your emotions in order to achieve support and guidance is often valuable in a workplace setting as well as amongst your peers. This is also the kind of sharing, and the return, that you experience when you choose to enter counselling or therapy.
There are a huge number of different ways in which we can choose to share our feelings and emotions with others, and a wide range of different benefits we can draw from doing so. Sharing our emotions enables us to bond with others, release our own rage and frustrations, and gain support and reassurance when we most need it. By sharing our emotions with others, we are accepting that we cannot provide all of the support and emotional nourishment we need for ourselves, and that we need to form relationships with others in order to have the happiest and healthiest life possible.