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  • Writer's pictureDr. Vin

Express Blocked Emotions with Pillows

BACKGROUND: We all long to connect with others and communicate who we are. But sometimes that is difficult. While situations vary as to the appropriateness of sharing feelings, it is important to at least know and accept our feelings. Even when we cannot or will not express our feelings to others, it can be valuable to discharge our affect at times when we are alone. Why? Because I believe suppressing our emotions can lead to unhappiness as we carry the weight around of unexpressed anger, sadness, fear or joy. Holding in feelings can drag us down into depression or isolation. Once we let our feelings through in some form, we usually feel lighter and have renewed energy. As a result a clear direction often pops into our brain about the next best course of action. For example, safely letting out anger while alone (by pounding pillows, for example) can discharge our aggression, leading us to feel more compassion and to come up with an assertive plan of action to express ourselves toward others.

PROBLEM: How can we safely express our feelings in a way that releases the energy so we can feel better? Sometimes just telling someone how we feel can dissipate the affect and make us feel better. But what if we are not ready to tell someone our feelings, yet still feel burdened by our heavy emotions?

SOLUTION: One technique I designed that will be in my upcoming book is called “sound pillow techniques to loosen the expressive voice”. All you will need for this series of exercises is a pillow and some willingness to sound a little funny and maybe spend some time alone (so you don’t disturb others).

Here is a short version of how they work:

  1. Growling or yelling, “No” into a pillow can move blocked anger out and through. Keep going until you feel relief. Stop is you begin to strain your voice.

  2. Pressing a pillow over your chest, bowing your head and making long moaning “Oh” sounds can open up a blocked expression of sadness.

  3. Opening your eyes and screaming in a high voice into a pillow can release blocked fear.

  4. Smiling and making laughing sounds while tossing a pillow up in the air, can make you feel happy, especially if you have previously released stuck fear, anger or sadness.

TIP: If you start to feel too anxious as you do these exercises, it may mean that you are feeling unsafe. Sometimes that means outside help to deal with your feelings would work better. I strongly recommend therapy with a somatic psychotherapist as a support to work with trauma or with moving your fear or other emotions.

QUOTE: “…if tears had different colors for different feelings, then the pillows would have revealed many secrets of our life.” (Anonymous)


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