Let me ask you a question.
Do you brush your teeth? Every day?
Because it’s imperative for your dental health, right? If you don’t brush your teeth, caries will accumulate, erode your enamel and cause excruciating pain. Who wouldn’t want to avoid that?!
And we are well equipped. Our parents taught us an effective dental hygiene routine as soon as our first teeth emerged. Our schools reinforced the essential message and we visited the dentist regularly to maintain healthy teeth.
Most adults will brush their teeth diligently and consistently once or twice a day. It’s part of our daily hygiene. And we don’t think much about it. Knowing that, if we neglect it, we will suffer the painful consequences.
I am sure you do the same, don’t you? It’s important after all!
But what do you do to prevent emotional pain? To avoid and eradicate anxiety and depression? What does your daily emotional hygiene routine look like?
Do you even have one?
As a species, we tend to suppress our emotions and cling on to old trauma. And the negative energy contained in these emotions clogs our energy system, causes blockages in our energy flow and escalates internal pressure, stress and tension.
Leading to emotional imbalance, unease, anxiety, depression and relentless suffering.
So, just like we have to brush our teeth to avoid cavities, we also have to clean our energy system to prevent emotional pain.
We have to perform regular emotional hygiene!
Which means that we have to remove old emotions every day, just like caries on our teeth, to prevent painful consequences to our emotional, mental and physical health.
Nowadays we associate “hygiene” with clean, pristine and sanitary and the lack thereof with dirty, unkempt and scruffy. But the word in its original meaning describes “a practice to preserve health”. Named after the Greek Goddess of Health, Hygieia.
As such, emotional hygiene is a practice to preserve your emotional health. And it’s vital!
The word emotion comes from the Latin ‘emovere’ which means ‘to move away’. Our emotions are energy in motion that emerge as the body’s reaction to our thoughts.
If we worry about our finances, the body will react with fear. If we think of a loved one we lost, we will feel grief. If we reminisce about our fondest childhood experience we might feel joy, happiness or love.
These emotions are meant to touch us briefly, flow through us. And then leave us. Move away.
But somehow we started to identify with our emotions. We believe that they are part of who we are. They define us. They ARE us.
So, our mind and ego began to hold on to them, store them deep within, so we wouldn’t ‘lose ourselves’.
At the same time society taught us that it is inappropriate to express our emotions freely. We were told that we lack self-control if we show anger. We are weak if we admit to sadness. Overly sensitive if we express our fears, and soppy or cheesy if we declare love.
So, we got used to suppressing our emotions. Burying them in the depths of our soul. Hoping to, one day, forget all about them.
And that’s a massive problem.
Vital human energies have to flow along certain pathways through our body to guarantee our health and wellbeing. And the emotions we cling on to are blocking the healthy paths, destroying our energetic balance and increasing our internal pressure.
The more emotions build up in our energy system, the more dysfunctional it becomes.
Just think of a highway. Traffic flows freely without obstructions. But add a broken-down car in the middle of the road and everything will start to jam.
Now add 2 cars. 3, 4, 5. 35,987. Nothing moves, everything is out of balance. Total break-down.
And the same happens to our energy system.
Just imagine how many emotions you feel every single day. And how many you would have suppressed throughout your entire lifetime.
Now they are stuck in your energy system. Destroying your health and sanity.
They are to blame for your emotional outbursts and irritability. The unbearable tension you feel inside your chest sometimes. They cause the feeling that you might explode at any point without warning.
And they are the root of your crippling anxiety, panic attacks and depression.
The pain caused by the massive pile of suppressed emotions is so intense and agonising that life can become insufferable. So we try to subdue it with drugs, drown it with alcohol, numb it with sugary treats or distract ourselves with gruelling hustle.
Which adds guilt, self-loathing, self-criticism and shame to our already critical internal mass. Until we want to crawl out of our skin because we are too overwhelmed by the extreme internal pressure.
All because we neglect our emotional hygiene.
We beat ourselves up when we suffer from anxiety or depression, are unbalanced or controlled by our emotions. He hate ourselves for our weakness. We feel pathetic, worthless and blame ourselves for all the overwhelming tension we feel.
But you know what? It’s not your fault at all!
There’s nothing wrong with you.
The tragic problem is that, as we grow up, emotional hygiene is not on any national curriculum. And most of our parents know nothing about it.
Nobody teaches us how to keep our energy body clean!
How to avoid the unhealthy accumulation of suppressed emotions such as anger, resentment, hurt, grief, shame and guilt. How to let go of the traumata, shocks and horrible experiences we still cling on to after many years.
And all the emotions we swallow, all the trauma we are still chewing on builds up in our energy body. Increasing the pressure until it is high enough to cause anxiety, panic attacks, depression (and in some cases anger issues).
And we have no way to defend ourselves! No idea how to ward off the dangerous effects of emotional accumulation and avoid the excruciating pain and suffering.
Because we never learned it!
And it’s about time we change that!
When looking after your teeth, you have countless options. You can brush with a manual or electric toothbrush, floss, rinse, use different kinds of tooth pastes and mouth washes, oil pulling and so on.
You might experiment initially, change practices from time to time. But at some point, you will find a routine that suits you.
The same applies to emotional hygiene.
Numerous practices exist to dissolve shocks and trauma, let go of negativity, grudges and resentment, reduce internal pressure, disidentify with your emotions and find forgiveness.
But today we will focus on:
Experiment with all the techniques. Try them on for a while. Choose the ones that resonate with you. And practice the ones you particularly dislike and resist because they are usually the ones you need the most!
Ready? Here we go!
Right now, your energy body is crammed with old suppressed emotions. And this overwhelming clutter causes your emotional pain, unbalance, anxiety and depression by blocking healthy energy pathways and increasing your internal pressure, tension and stress to boiling point.
You are suffering. And it’s not even your fault!
You can beat yourself up for days for your struggles, emotional instability, anxiety and mood swings. But that won’t change the fact that nobody ever told you how to clear out your energy system!
When it is so easy!
You see, the interesting thing is that energy follows attention and thought (in physics this is called the observer effect). So, simply by focusing on the emotional energy that is stuck within us, we can influence it. Transform it.
And release it.
Energy hates to be trapped. Emotions are energy in motion. They want to flow. Be free.
And holding on to them requires effort, energy. Which is also the reason why we feel increasingly exhausted and lethargic the more emotional clutter we store. It takes a lot out of us to retain all that negative energy!
But it doesn’t have to be this way! All you need is a simple, daily emotional hygiene routine.
Let’s start with one of my favourite visualisations. It is extremely effective as it removes bunches of old emotional clutter at once.
I recommend doing this once a day.
I tend to do it in bed when I just woke up. But you can do it whenever you want, as often as you want. And you may find that you will need to repeat it regularly. Because, when you first start out with emotional hygiene, you have masses of internal clutter that begs to be removed.
So, here we go:
Sit or lie down comfortably. Your position doesn’t matter. Just don’t cross your arms or legs as it impedes the energy flow.
Feel inside your body. Can you feel any tension? Can you sense any anger, sadness or other strong emotion? Where is it? In your heart, your stomach, your head?
Locate it as best as you can. But don't get too hung up on it. Emotions are suppressed in all parts of your body, so the exercise will work regardless of the body part you choose to focus on.
Now, imagine a bubble, about 25 cm in diameter, hovering in front of your face. It looks like a huge soap bubble. Like the ones children love to blow.
Gently guide this bubble inside the area of your body you identified earlier. If you couldn't identify a specific area, direct the bubble into your heart.
Once in position, actively allow all the suppressed emotions to move into the bubble. Let go, relax and observe your pain drain into the bubble. Once the bubble is full, imagine moving it outside of your body.
It might feel very heavy at this point.
Once it hovers in front of you again, ask for transformation of the negative energy within into love, joy and peace. Just say: “I ask for transformation of this energy to love, joy and peace.” Watch the bubble vanish. With all your suppressed emotions.
They are gone. They won't bother you ever again.
While the above visualisation removes emotional clutter in bulk, this one is a slower, but just as effective version as it clears out one stuck emotion at the time.
You can do this instead of the one above (if you prefer), do both or alternate.
Whatever feels best for you.
Sit or lie down comfortably. Your position doesn’t matter. Just don’t cross your arms or legs as it impedes the energy flow.
Visualise you are approaching a big house. The house is you energy body. Every room contains your emotional clutter.
As you walk in, you don’t feel overwhelmed. You know you will make a difference. And you are doing your best.
Enter the house and imagine the clutter within the first room you see. One piece at the time, throw the clutter away. Toss it out the window and watch it vanish. Bag it and bin it.
Whatever appeals to you.
Just empty the room. This may take a few days, but stick with it. Every suppressed emotion you release will make a difference.
You can look at the items you declutter, but don’t dwell on them. If you have trouble letting go, bless the item with love and affirm “I let go easily and effortlessly. I am free.”Once the room is cleared, move on to the next.
Spend as long as you want on this exercise. Five minutes is wonderful, 10 minutes even better. But be gentle with yourself. Be patient and support yourself as you get the hang of emotional hygiene.
You are doing great!
With these 2 powerful energy healing techniques as part of a daily emotional hygiene routine, you will soon declutter your energy system by getting rid of everything you stored there in the past.
You will remove the blockages in your vital energy flow which cause unbearable internal pressure and tension and destroy your emotional balance.
And you'll start to eradicate anxiety and depression as a result.
Step by step. One suppressed emotion at the time. One energy bubble full of clutter after the other.
Now, if you think about the myriad of emotions you suppressed throughout your entire life, this process can take a while.
And that’s fine.
It's normal. You are not an exception, lost cause or severe case. Everybody suppresses emotions, and everybody needs to start somewhere.
Be patient with yourself. Make emotional hygiene part of your daily self-care ritual. And you will soon see the benefits of improved calm, lifted spirits and a feeling of lightness as the internal tension is removed.
The thing is though, if you eliminate the existing emotional clutter but still continue suppressing and clinging on to emotions, you will produce new clutter faster than you can eradicate the old one.
So, it is crucial to let those emotions do what they are meant to do. Touch you briefly. And move away.
As a species, we tend to misunderstand emotions altogether. Especially the negative ones.
They are this tsunami of misery, a crushing wave of destruction and suffering. Unavoidable, inescapable, merciless. An abominable monster that haunts us.
Over time we learnt to fear them. Horrified of that moment when unbearable anger, sorrow, resentment and terror overwhelm us. Leaving us shivering and exhausted. Unable to move.
Petrified of any situation that could provoke a new emotional attack.
No wonder we try to suppress them, hold them down, numb them. So we don’t have to face the pain again.
But the truth is that we are fighting windmills.
Emotions aren’t out to make our lives misery. And we are not powerless against them!
We have a choice.
All the emotions we suppressed throughout our life have produced within us a mass, an entity. Eckhart Tolle calls this the “pain body”. I like to call it the “bubble monster” as it consists of suppressed emotional energy bubbles.
And the bubble monster almost has a life of its own. It feeds on drama. It thrives on intense, exaggerated emotional outbursts.
The bigger, the better.
Every bit of emotional clutter we remove weakens the bubble monster, every new suppressed emotion strengthens it. And the bigger your bubble monster is, the more likely it is to take you over when you are stressed or experience a strong emotion.
It wallows in the emotions, prolonging them as long as it can, clinging on to them. Savouring them.
And all the while you suffer. Helplessly. Witnessing in horror as the emotion swallows you whole. And suffering the shame of a reaction that “wasn’t like you”.
So, the only way to get back into control of your own emotions is to disarm the bubble monster. Become aware that you are in charge. Not it.
And weaken it until it is too faint to cause any trouble. Because a humungous bubble monster is terrifying. A tiny one is powerless.
Up to now you allowed your bubble monster to take you over during strong emotions because you didn’t know you had a choice. It was normal and became a destructive habit.
But the next time you experience a strong emotion, throw the bubble monster off its high horse.
You see, when you feel a wave of fear, anger, hatred, resentment, shame, guilt, hopelessness wash towards you, the bubble monster will welcome it.
It loves the drama. It feeds on it. Wants to grow.
It adores it when you are criticised and get all upset about it. When you are overwhelmed and start to panic, when you are belittled or insulted and get furious.
But at this point, it is now your responsibility to say no.
To take your power back.
When you feel the emotion “bubbling up”, attempting to control you, say to your bubble monster:
“Not this time.”
“I don’t want to get involved in this emotion now. I have other things to do. I would rather enjoy myself, be happy. I don’t need to feel like this now. Not this time.”
Take a deep breath and allow the emotion to pass through you. Move away. Like it is supposed to do.
The bubble monster will fight at first. It wants its fix. And you are withholding it. It won’t give up that easily.
But with every emotion you choose to let go, it will become weaker. It's voice less booming and pressing. Until you can hardly hear it any longer.
Imagine you had a panic attack Friday afternoon at work. Upon returning back on Monday morning you feel self-conscious, mortified and terrified of another panic attack in front of your colleagues.
Fear and shame try to get the better of you. The bubble monster is taking control. Let's play this out, shall we?
You (empowered by your new option to choose): “No thank you. I choose not to be scared and upset right now.”
Bubble monster: “Oh, come on! These people witnessed your embarrassing panic attack last week. You saw the pity and judgement in their eyes. You SHOULD be scared and upset. You should be ashamed and beat yourself up.”
You (standing your ground): “No, not this time.”
Bubble monster (getting stroppy): “They saw your weakness! This has to bother you! There’s no way around it!”
You (with newfound pride in your resolve): “Not this time. No chance.”
Bubble monster (starting to get whiny): “Please! What can I say for you to get upset. You have every reason to be upset here. Don’t you see?”
You (winning): “No, I don’t think so. Sorry. Not this time. I'd rather feel happy today."
Bubble monster (throwing its hands up into the air in exasperation, shuffling to the corner of the room and slumping down on the ground, burying its head in its hands): “Not fair!”
I think you get the point.
The bubble monster is persistent. It is used to getting its way after all. But it will get weaker the more often you stop it in its track, the more you repeat: “You know what? Not this time.”
And every time you choose not to hold on to an emotion, the next emotional pain will be less intense. Because it is not the emotion that causes the pain, it is the bubble monster wallowing in it.
In my experience, the only way to achieve lasting relief, to eradicate anxiety and depression from your life is through emotional hygiene.
No, it’s not your fault that you are suffering right now. You didn’t know what to do, how to tackle the emotional clutter and fend off the bubble monster.
But now you do.
And it is now your responsibility to eradicate anxiety and depression, eliminate the unbearable internal tension and find inner peace and happiness.
Through daily emotional hygiene.
It only takes a few minutes a day. Not longer than brushing your teeth.
And it will make all the difference.
I know you can do it. You ARE worth.
Dr Berni Sewell, PhD is a health scientist, energy healer and self-worth blogger. She is on a mission to make you feel good about yourself, no matter what. Download her free guide Instant self-worth: an easy 4-step solution to heal your self-worth in under 5 minutes a day” and start to boost your confidence today.