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Hiding your feelings can damage your health

According to UK-based author and “leadership mindset strategist” Frederique Murphy, although hiding our feelings is sometimes useful during social interactions, doing this too often can be emotionally straining and have negative effects on our health

While many people think they can benefit from pretending that everything is fine when it actually isn’t, such actions are highly energy-consuming, and thus both cognitively and emotionally draining. 

“Faking a response requires more energy from you because your brain must further engage to make it work for you in a way that it is unusual for you. This means that cognitively, more effort is needed, and this is emotionally straining,” explained Murphy.

Besides overworking our brain, pretending for the sake of appearances can increase the production of cortisol, a stress-related hormone. Higher stress, in its turn, weakens the immune system, making us more prone to various illnesses.

Finally, according to Murphy, people can often feel when someone is pretending. “In those situations, your gut feeling is actually telling you that something is off; indeed, the person is faking their response. So, if you know you’ve had this happen to you, you know this has happened to other people about you. So, stop doing that as in the long-term, it harms you and the people around you,” she said.

In order to quit this damaging form of behavior, Murphy argues that we should increase our self-awareness and learn how to “catch ourselves in the act.” Moreover, keeping a journal – a process she calls “affect labeling” – can help us diminish the intensity of our feelings and make sure that we are not bottling up our emotions.

Breathing exercises can also be useful for managing our feelings, since they can help us regulate our autonomic nervous system, and thus increase our calmness and wellbeing. Overall, learning how to control our emotions can help us stop self-damaging behaviors, and lead more fulfilling lives.

More details about Frederique Murphy’s activities and works can be found on her website.

By Andrei Ionescu, Staff Writer

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