Why Emotional Wellbeing Is So Important : Interview With Suzy Singh
In people who habitually avoid feeling emotions, these are repetitively trapped and made stronger, causing their life force energy to deplete, resulting in chronic exhaustion
1. Suzy, as an Emotional Wellbeing Expert, can you tell us why dealing with emotions is so important?
When emotions are not dealt with or are repressed, people become more reactive, easily frustrated, brain fogged, confused, emotionally volatile and unhappy. They are easily triggered, becoming angry with minimal provocation. This affects their relationships, productivity and health negatively. In sensitive situations that require patience, compassion and understanding, they can often feel out of depth, reacting in unkind ways, not knowing what to say or how to manage conflict or stressful situations effectively. Sound decision making becomes more difficult for them. At work, this has a detrimental impact on their career growth and leadership potential. In personal relationships, they often feel alienated, misunderstood and alone.
2. How does repressing emotions affect one's health and wellbeing?
When emotions are bottled up, they not only harm your mental health but also debilitate physical wellness. Trapped emotions are held in organ tissues, causing them to become weak and unhealthy over time. As a consequence, disease and disability starts to settle in. Traditional Chinese Medicine suggests an exhaustive correlation between emotions and body organs. In people who habitually avoid feeling emotions, these are repetitively trapped and made stronger, causing their life force energy to deplete, resulting in chronic exhaustion. It's like having the car ignition on throughout the night which drains the car battery. Since emotions and thoughts are so intricately interlinked, not attending to your emotions increases your stress levels, causing even more stress,tiredness, and constant edginess. It may even lead to cortisol addiction, where ‘always being wound up’ and upset become your default state.
3. What according to you is the most damaging emotion?
In my view, guilt is a very difficult and damaging emotion, primarily because it is so complex and involves many aspects. It creates a deep sense of regret that activates self-blaming inner talk. It thrives on the assumption that ‘I'm bad because I've done something wrong’, activating shame. This creates a subliminal belief that you deserve to be punished, encouraging self-harm or self-abuse. Since this is a mental prison of your own making, it goes unnoticed, primarily because the enemy here is your subconscious mind. Being hidden makes it all the more dangerous. This is why guilt can be so sticky and difficult to let go off. It causes much internal suffering, making self-forgiveness both daunting and difficult.
4. What are the aptitudes or skills one requires to process emotions and deal with them effectively?
You need three mindfulness skills and the power of your personal will to process emotions. Since conditioning drives behaviour, any modification in the habit mind requires your will to be enrolled. You will also need to activate intention, a definite, conscious choice to not escape unpleasant emotions, but rather, to stay with them. Next, you need to harness awareness. Many people confuse awareness with attention, so i’d like to clarify what awareness means. When you wake up in the morning, your mind transitions from the dream state into a waking state. You become aware of not just the thoughts in your head, but also of your surroundings, like lying in your bed, or waking up in the same place you went to sleep in. This is awareness, a dawning of consciousness. Using the power of awareness you must become conscious of emotions when they arise in you. The third skill is attention. By gathering, directing and one pointedly focusing your mind on the expanding and contracting emotions, you must let them rise and fall like waves in an ocean till they settle, and you become calm again.
5. What according to you ails our youth the most?
Unworthiness is a big issue with our youth. Photoshopped faces and perfect bodies on social media creates unhealthy comparisons and places undue pressure on them to look good. When people flaunt their ‘my life really rocks’ type of posts, it makes the one’s sitting alone in their bedrooms despondent. Secondly, disintegrating family bonds and social support structures are making it harder for them to deal with the increasing competitive pressures of life. Instead of sitting by a fireside and pouring their heart out to an understanding elder who can reassure them and point them in the right direction, the young now head straight out to a bar and get drunk when they are troubled. Thirdly, and this is quite sad, many young ones today have lost their gentleness, trading it to sound cool by being brash and trolling people just for fun. Irreverence rules their language. They believe that bullying is just joking, not realizing it may be having a detrimental effect on the psyche of their friends.
6. Does success guarantee happiness?
Until now we have blindly bought into the idea that success is the measure of how much money, prestige, fame, networks, party invites and awards one has earned and amassed, but rarely do we reflect on the cost involved; personal happiness and inauthentic relationship with self and others. Perhaps, if success was to be redefined as the measure of inward goals rather than outward accomplishments, happiness would be more within our reach. Consider how dramatically the experience of life would change if success was seen in the context of how one feels on the inside, how self-reliant and capable one is, or the degree of resilience with which one is able to gather their pieces after being shattered by failure, adversity or some trying challenge. What if contributing and being of value to others was a sought after personal goal? These are the dialogues we need to be having in the context of personal success if we wish to alchemise our human experience.
7. What do you think is the main reason that people are so unhappy today?
There is a lot of technology lead isolation. It’s really sad to see families sitting together in a room, each with their own device, absorbed in their own thing. There are so few, or maybe, no real conversations any more. When we were growing up, the idea that a family that eats together, sticks together, held meaning. But now, on the rare occasion when the family is eating together, they are often consuming data and information on their phones, not really being together. Also, there is so much inauthenticity, we don't mean what we say and don't say what we mean. We are living pretend lives, wearing masks, scared to open up our hearts and be vulnerable, in case we get hurt. We no longer create time to sing and dance, to celebrate life, togetherness and valued connections because we are so driven by accomplishment, agendas, time tables and personal profit. Perhaps it's time to go retro, to return to the old ideals that upheld human connection beyond material goals.
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