It's been said by many that we are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but rather, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. If we take this to heart, it also reminds us that our bodies are the vehicles by which we interact with the world.
Seems obvious, but it's easy to forget. We don't make anything happen in our lives without doing something. Even the most prominent Law of Attraction teachers tell us that no matter how strongly we believe and affirm our intenions, we must take some form of action in the world to manifest them.
This also means our emotions have a much more important role in our lives than most of us give credit to…
(even those of us who already feel we know a LOT about the importance of emotions)
I'll explain more in a moment.
First, as a side-note related to manifesting…
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Now about those emotions, let's break it down…
Our bodies are made of electricity and chemcials. These are very real physical energies that need to be moving. When they are blocked, it creates cesspools within our bodies where the energy becomes stagnant and ineffective.
This is true whether the emotions are joy and happiness or sadness and anger. No matter what the emotion, it must be fully experienced in order for its energy to be released from the body.
At first glance, it may seem to be a good thing if "joy" or "happiness" were stuck in your body. However, the thing to remember is that if emotions are not experienced and allowed, then they will become repressed or suppressed. Yes, even your happiness and joy can become repressed or suppressed.
Take for example a child who is experiencing wonderful joy and delight, but his mother is depressed. Instead of allowing and appreciating his happiness, the boy learns that it's "not okay to be happy."
Over time he experiences happiness less frequently and with less intensity. The overall result is that his happiness and joy become repressed. As an adult, this child will most likely not be in touch with his happiness, and therefore, his passions in life. He may even develop physical illnesses to cope with all the blocked energy that remains unexperienced.
I like to use the example of a child who is happy because it's extreme. The extreme example helps us bring it back into our daily lives which usually aren't so extreme.
Though we may forget about the daily frustrations of our lives, they can build up over time. They can translate into anger or sadness, which then as those emotions are stuck in our bodies can be the catalysts for disease (dis-ease).
It's also important to note the difference between experiencing and expressing.
There have actually been studies that showed people who express their anger physically (such as hitting pillows) are more likely to have more severe anger issues.
Therefore, the answer isn't necessarily expressing emotions. Though since emotions expressed are amplified, in the case of positive emotions like happiness and joy, expressing them can be a significant benefit.
Regardless of whether the emotion is expressed however, the key is to simply experience those emotions. This is a skill that few people have mastered. It simply means that we are totally present, in our bodies, and accepting of whatever emotion is flowing through us. We don't deny or reject our experience.
For example, if we were feeling anger it isn't necessary that we yell, scream, or hit pillows. What is necessary is that we fully feel the anger flowing through our bodies. That we are fully in touch with our experience. This can apply to fear, jealousy, and other 'negative' emotions.
The same is true with happiness and joy.
As an extreme example, suppose you were at a funeral and you had spent some time completely remembering how much joy that person brought to your life. In fact, it's so much happiness that you feel overflowed and almost compelled to laugh or jump up and down. Still, this might not be the most appropriate time to express happiness in that way when people all around you are sobbing with tears. It might be disruptive.
Many of us would tell ourselves we "shouldn't" feel happy in that moment. But that's not true.
Happiness would be what's happening. It would be real and very true to us. Therefore, the best thing we could do is totally own and accept our happiness. Appreciate it.
In other words, don't suppress or reject your inner emotional experience simply because the outer-world context might not be able to appropriately hold and value your inner experience.
Ultimately, what we strive for is a balance in fully experiencing our emotions and expressing them appropriately. When we allow these emotions to run through us, even without "expressing" them, our bodies have a natural release of the energy. The electrical charge and chemicals can flow naturally.
By doing this, we can not only release old stuck emotions, we can also prevent new ones from becoming stuck.