Everyone has to face issues big and small as they journey through life. Everything from severe trauma to relatively minor negative experiences can leave you with unprocessed emotions that weigh you down, like baggage. It’s emotional baggage. And if you don’t deal with it, sooner or later, it will bubble to the surface to give you trouble.


What kind of trouble? Baggage from an emotional experience may possibly influence the way you perceive yourself. It may affect how you react to stress and even affect your physical well-being. And, it may affect your relationships with others. If you are stuck with emotional baggage, it can be a sad and burdensome weight to carry around.

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“Trapped” Emotions


Although emotional baggage may not be literally “trapped” inside you, “trapped emotions” is a shorthand way of saying that negative emotions can affect you physically. There is a mind-body connection. Certainly, it’s widely understood that stress, for example, can be physically hard on your body.


Trapped emotions can put up roadblocks to your true self, emotions that you will need to express at some point. Meanwhile, with your true self blocked, your false self is in charge—that part of you that finds ways of coping and adapting to pain and loss. Your true self—you as a naturally loving, open, trusting human being—is sublimated. And you spend a lot of time and energy repressing the negative emotional energy inside you. This can manifest itself as resentment, self-sabotaging behavior, increased tension and anxiety, depression, bad decision-making, and fatigue. Your roadblocks inhibit your natural flow of energy.


No Escaping Trauma


Everyone experiences some kind of trauma in life, whether it’s a death of a loved one, a serious illness, unfaithfulness in a relationship, a job loss, a relationship that fails, an experience with violence or discrimination, or some kind of major life change. They can all impact you.


Sometimes, trauma can affect your memory processing, and the memory isn’t “recorded” properly in your brain. When trauma is severe, the brain may disconnect from reality—dissociation. You may get flashbacks replayed in your head, which can occur long past the actual event. Sensory fragments remain in your mind and interrupt the brain’s recovery process. This is often associated with PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Stress releases cortisol, a hormone that is part of the fight-or-flight response. Constant stress may keep you in this hyperalert state, which physically affects you, even if you are not conscious of it.


Next time, we’ll talk about how to manage unprocessed emotions that may be damaging to you.



Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact