4 Ways Your Emotions May Be Getting Stuck (And What You Can Do About It)

4 Ways Your Emotions May Be Getting Stuck (And What You Can Do About It)

Emotions are energy is motion. When we experience them, they either move through our body or they get stuck, creating pockets of emotional debris that impede the flow of energy through our system.

Our life experiences, the thoughts we have about them, our emotional response, and our belief system, all come together in our body. The body is our vehicle and it carries the impact of our life to date, for good or for bad.

Negative emotions and negative thoughts have a different energetic frequency than healthy cells and tissue. Because of that, stuck negative emotion can distort the organs, tissues and cells that surround wherever they’re stored in the body. They change our body chemistry and affect our physical structure.

When emotions get stuck, they fester until, ultimately, they interfere with our functioning.

Whatever gets buried gets ugly.

When an emotional charge is held, unexpressed in the body, we develop a sort of body armor. This is essentially a wall that contains our emotional body, or as Eckhart Tolle called it, our “pain body.” Our emotional expression then becomes restricted to the emotional patterns that are fixated within this energy field: it becomes very easy to express sadness, anger, hurt, loneliness, unworthiness, if that is where we got stuck.

Additionally, when our emotional expression gets restricted, it becomes difficult to access the wide range of emotional express that is the full human experience. Our ability to experience love, joy, creativity, passion, trust–all those positive emotions–becomes compromised.

We need to know that the negative emotional charge we deny on a conscious level doesn’t just evaporate–energy can be transformed but it can’t be created or destroyed. If we don’t release the energy in some way, the physical body is left to deal with the effect of held-in emotions. The body acts out the negative emotional charge it is holding and, eventually, illness becomes the only expression available for clearing itself.

Ultimately: “Our body cries the tears that our eyes couldn’t”

Here are 4 ways your emotions may be getting stuck and what you can do to prevent that from happening.

1. When you experience something scary, surprising, or traumatic and you constrict or hold your breath.

Think about a time that you were scared or hurt by something that occurred. A typical response is to gasp, and hold the breath. This locks that emotion in the body where it will remain until a way is found to release it. Breath is a key component to managing emotion. Most of us do not breathe fully and thereby do not move emotion completely through our system. In fact, shallow breathing helps keep emotion at bay.

Check yourself periodically throughout the day, maybe every time you look to see what time it is. Notice your breathing pattern. Are you moving air mostly in your chest? (That would be most of us.) Take a few deep breaths, moving air all the way down into your abdomen. You’ll get more oxygen to all of your cells and organs, including your brain. This will also help the energies of emotion created from your thoughts and experiences to flow easily through your being.

This is one of the reasons that physical activity is so helpful to our mood. With exertion comes a deeper breath.

2. When you talk yourself out of a feeling.

How many times have you asked yourself “why am I getting so upset over this!” or told yourself something is “not worth the hassle” to bring up. Those types of situations cause you to be at risk for trapping emotions. Emotions want a “voice” and if they are not acknowledged, they won’t go away.

Call a friend, write in a journal, go for a walk and talk to the trees or yourself. Acknowledge what you are feeling. Connect with your inner voice to gain guidance on what you can do to respond to the situation that stirred the emotion. Know that your feelings are your early warning system, letting you know that something is going on in your life that needs attention.

3. When you are isolated in your experience of an event.

When you experience a stressful event alone, or even if you are with a crowd of people but wall yourself off and shut down, you are at risk for trapped emotions. It is an innate aspect of human nature to find comfort and ease through shared emotional experience.

Culturally, we are well-trained to “manage” our emotions, like they are some kind of negative thing that we need to hide away. This management really becomes more of a blocking and avoidance. Most of us are not very skilled at recognizing, acknowledging, or sharing our emotions, so we typically suppress, repress, or deny.

One of the most powerful ways to dissipate the energy of intense emotion is through a mutual sharing. Seek and reach out to others who either shared or have had a similar experience. Open up and allow yourself to talk with others. Hearing their stories and sharing yours will help you feel understood and that you are not alone.

4. When you have never experienced something similar before.

If it’s the first time you experience something, a death of a loved one for instance, you may “freeze” emotionally. You are more likely to have adequate coping skills if you learned them by going through a similar life event. This is why so many of our childhood experiences have such a great impact. We simply did not have the resources at that point in our lives to deal with the emotional impact of whatever difficulty was occurring.

If you find yourself in an emotionally charged situation that you’ve never experienced before, be particularly gentle with yourself. Allow yourself to not always be clear, be in control, or level-headedly have all the answers. Learn to connect with your heart space with compassion so you can hear that inner whisper of wisdom that will guide you.

Many of us have a surprising amount of emotional trauma in our energy system that lies below our conscious awareness. It is common for us to become really good at denial of emotional pain in order to function in our lives. Unconsciously we have learned how to keep the pain at bay so we can “do” our daily lives with some kind of balance. Our only awareness of this might be a sense of feeling “off” or living our lives with limited inner resources, constantly looking for something outside ourselves to “fix” us, or wondering why we keep repeating negative patterns or self-sabotaging behavior. On the far end of the symptom spectrum, we may be dealing with physical or emotional disease

We need to remember that life offers both blessing and suffering, joys and sorrows. The good stuff is easy; the hard stuff not so much. It only makes sense that we would want to avoid/deny/suppress the pain, but it does not serve us well to do so. When we do, we may gain temporary ease, but the pain will only deepen and in many different ways, it will haunt us.

Facing the darkness, feeling the emotion, allowing the pain, is never easy. It requires courage, because the only way out is through. Our challenge is to enter in. As we clear up the emotional debris of the past, we clear a pathway for a richer, fuller experience of life.


“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.” ~Elisabeth Kubler Ross