Have you ever held back tears in the workplace in fear of being seen as an overemotional woman? Or kept your opinion to yourself afraid others would think you’re too aggressive?
Culturally speaking, women and men are pressured to repress emotions, especially in the workplace. It’s so important that we recognize our emotional experiences as a strength and support healthy expression rather than bottling them up and damaging our health.
Emotions serve as a sixth sense. Just like smelling and hearing connect you to the outer world and relay important information about your surroundings, so do your emotions.
Generally, women relate to the world more emotionally than men do. Maybe we’re taught to be more accepting and more in tune with our emotions than men, or maybe it’s in our DNA. Most likely, it’s a combination of both. Women often make decisions based on emotional information. This may be dismissed as irrational, silly, and premature, but we easily read subtle signals through our emotional response.
This intuitive ability is extremely valuable and powerful, but men and women are taught from a young age to repress and feel shame for feelings. Expressing feelings is often considered a weakness, especially in a male-dominated work culture.
In our work environment, women learn to adapt for survival. We train ourselves to repress emotions and deny our intuitive abilities. Yet our emotions could be used as a valuable tool to help strategize, make sales, hire, and establish compatible partnerships.
Many of my fertility patients are successful career women who work in a male-dominated field. For years, they’ve been forced to repress their emotional intuitive abilities to conform to the workplace culture and be taken seriously. I often wonder the toll that’s taken on their fertility.
Our ability to bear children and our longing to nurture life are powerful feminine qualities. As we feel shame towards our emotions and repress our feminine attributes to conform to the male work culture, we may turn the shame onto ourselves and repress our ability to procreate subconsciously.
It’s time to celebrate the feminine and call for a balance between male and female energies in our bodies, the workplace, and the world.
Repressed emotions don’t disappear. Instead they reveal themselves in unhealthy ways and disrupt harmony both in the body and in the workplace. Repressed anger may cause violence, whereas a healthy expression of anger inspires change and drives us to fulfill our vision of better outcomes. Emotions are energy. Your body physically expresses the energy of the emotions passing through you. Energy is neither created nor destroyed. If you repress and ignore emotional energy, they become trapped in your body and cause disease.
In Chinese medicine, the liver serves as the main hub for processing emotions, especially anger. We don’t literally mean just the organ of the liver, but rather an energetic system that includes the liver and liver meridians.
The liver meridians regulate the menstrual cycle and circulate blood and hormones to and from the the uterus, ovaries, and sex organs. Just like in Western medicine, the liver metabolizes everything that goes into the body and filters toxins. Likewise, the liver processes and filters emotions. When trapped emotions fail to metabolize, the liver energy grows sluggish in the same way it would if clogged by toxins.
The liver energy sputters thereby throwing off your body’s natural rhythms, including the menstrual cycle. Premenstrual symptoms, like bloating, breast tenderness, and moodiness, are signs of stagnant liver energy. Your period is a time of cleansing. The excessive emotions during certain times of the cycle are the body’s way of releasing stagnant emotions.
Unprocessed emotions store themselves in various areas of the body, depending on your tendencies and the nature of the emotions. For many women, emotions lodge themselves in the hips, low back, and pelvic area, where several acupuncture meridians circulate blood and hormones to the reproductive organs. The area may become tight, blocked, and congested with fluids thereby contributing to fertility issues.
Acupuncture restores balance of the liver energy allowing for emotional release and restores physical harmony. This is one of the reasons it’s so effective at supporting fertility.
The same holds true for men. I’ve found the most common underlying factor for male fertility issues is stress. While men may not be as emotionally-oriented as women, they still experience emotions and are deeply conditioned to shut them off and internalize their feelings.
Trapped emotions affect the mind, causing negative thinking which releases stress chemicals in the body, like cortisol. Stress hormones interfere with the release of reproductive hormones. They also trigger a state of panic, causing more physical and emotional imbalance.
Through healthy emotional expression comes growth, information, awareness, understanding, love and healing.
To deny our emotions, is to throw off the balance between Yin and Yang energies, which includes masculine and feminine attributes.
We all embody male and female energy.
While emotions are considered more feminine, logical thinking is seen as masculine. Both are necessary to maintain a healthy checks and balance system between the two.
Men need to allow the feminine to express itself through them, as well. I don’t mean they must try on ladies’ undies (unless they want to, then that’s cool), but rather allow for empathy and softness to express, and to explore their own intuitive abilities. They can release the fear of losing power, respect, and control while they gain a world of insight. Just as women have embraced their masculine side to break into the working world and prove themselves as providers.
We are here for each other. To express the feminine. To express the masculine. To celebrate being human as a perfect balance between the two!
After all, conception is a perfect expression of balance and union between male and female energies.
11 Healthy Ways to Process Emotions
- Journaling-write it all without holding back or judging yourself.
- Talk it out with a non-judgemental loved one.
- Consult a therapist to work through complex feelings.
- Join a support group or forum of like-minded folks that understand your experience.
- Exercise and move to allow the energy to express itself through and out of you.
- Cultivate creativity by expressing your emotions through art.
- Simply observe your breath as an intense emotion surfaces in the moment.
- Noticing how your body feels as you experience the emotion without reacting.
- Take care of yourself by eating well and resting to maintain emotional and mental balance.
- Acupuncture soothes the nervous system allowing you to extract the wisdom of your emotions while staying calm. Acupuncture releases emotions from the physical body to restore health.
- Get a massage. Soothing therapeutic touch relaxes the body and the mind to offset emotional overwhelm.
Heidi Brockmyre, M.S. L.Ac. makes baby dreams come true. As an expert fertility acupuncturist at Zen Fertility Center in San Diego, CA, she loves helping couples achieve pregnancy success. She created Positively Fertile, an online program that teaches women how to maximize their fertility and feel amazing in body, mind, and spirit. She’s also the creator of Manifest Your Baby Now! Guided Relaxation, the first in her series of Positively Fertile fertility tips.