Should You Suppress Your Emotions? Do They Grow on You?

By Dr JV Hebbar
The concept of suppressing an emotion makes that emotion stronger is wrong as per Ayurveda. We should suppress our emotions. But there are exceptions.

Emotions that should be suppressed

As per Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana, 7th Chapter, Verse 27,
लोभशोकभयक्रोधमानवेगान् विधारयेत्| नैर्लज्ज्येर्ष्यातिरागाणामभिध्यायाश्च बुद्धिमान्||२७||
lobhaśokabhayakrodhamānavegān vidhārayet| nairlajjyerṣyātirāgāṇāmabhidhyāyāśca buddhimān||27||
It means,
A wise person should suppress mental urges pertaining to
Lobha – greed,
Shoka – grief,
Bhaya – fear,
Krodha – anger,
Mana – vanity, ego
Nairlajja – shamelessness,
Irshya – jealousy,
Atiraga – excessive desire
Abhidhyaya – ill will, malice

Suppressing these emotions will not make them stronger. When we suppress these emotions, with passage of time, we tend to let go of these emotional urges. We gain back our common sense and thus we can survive from the ill effects.


Overcoming Greed

I am having such a big urge to buy the latest iphone, I am ready to swipe the credit card right away. Postpone the decision for a day and you may find better ways to spend your money.
If I suppress this desire, and withhold buying at that vulnerable time, that urge never surfaces back. With time, life teaches me the difference between need and want. So, suppressing that desire did not have any negative impact on my mind. It does not mean that the same desire will haunt me in any other form

Controlling Grief

This is a tricky one. It should not be confused with the urge to cry /weep. If we feel like weeping, it is better to weep it all at once and get over the grief.

But if you feel sad all the time, as long as you can feel that your mind is occupied with sadness, if you can recognize your sadness episodes, you should make all efforts to suppress it, by indulging in activities such as
sharing your emotions with friends or family,
seeking help from a doctor,
indulging more in your hobbies
yoga, meditation etc.
I know that all these can be overwhelming for very highly depressed patients. But if you can put an effort at the earlier stage, the healing can happen quicker.

Overcome Fear

Courage is the only answer to fear, phobia and anxiety. There is no workaround. In order to be courageous, we should be truthful to ourselves and others.
It may feel hard in the beginning to overcome fear. But constant small steps will get you there.
Read: Best Natural Medicine For Mental Problems: Courage

Control Anger

Suppose I control anger in a tense situation. When the situation passes, that controlled anger will no longer be within us. We won over the anger at that instance and it immensely benefited myself and all people involved in that instance. 
Controlling anger will not make the anger grow on us.

Anger can be converted into a positive thing. I was fat shamed. I am angry. I will hit the gym and do dieting to get out of it. 
Anger, fear etc. emotions if we make a practice of controlling them, then the practice turns into habit and being patient yet fearless becomes our nature. 

If still, we control anger or fear in one instance and even after the event if it is still bothering us, those negative hidden feelings can be recycled into positive ones by
Self message – Day by day, my fear is decreasing. I am becoming courageous and fearless.
Prayer – Oh My Lord, I have this burning anger born out of that bad incident yesterday. I can neither control it, nor handle it, I am submitting it at your holy feet. Please heal my mind.

Meditation – Om Chanting etc. will get the mind back to its natural calmness and balances out all fears, desires and angers.
For some people, engaging in rigorous physical activities such as hitting the gym, doing vigorous yoga, dance, etc. helps them ease out the negative feelings.
Ayurvedic therapies such as nasal drops, shirodhara, head massage etc. are useful.
Ayurvedic medicines such as Bramhi, Shatavari, Shankhapushpi, ghee etc. are useful. 
Read: Anger: Relation With Body Types, Ways To Control Anger

Controlling ego

It is one of the toughest mental exercises. Knowing that there is a super-power of a God in our hearts, knowing that we can never be wiser or smarter, there is always something to learn from others, the law of Karma never forgives anyone and helps us in controlling our ego.

Stopping being shameless

Being shameless comes from ego, ignorance, excess greed and arrogance. While we pursue our desires and life goals, we should take care to behave in a way that attracts love and respect from the people around us.
Shamelessness arises due to the Tamas quality of mind (darkness, arrogance, lethargy, elation).

Stopping being Jealous

As per Ayurveda, aggravated Vata Dosha causes jealousy. This emotion is very close to greed. We should be competitive and should be tirelessly improving ourselves.

David Goggins advises – While working out, do not compare yourself with others and worry about not having six packs.
Rather, take a picture of yourself, workout everyday and compare your pictures week after week and maintain focus.

The lessons are –
Do not compare yourself with others
Compare your current self with your past versions
Keep working on yourself relentlessly everyday

Controlling bad intentions

Dhuryodhana once said
जानामि धर्मं न च मे प्रवृत्ति: जानाम्यधर्मं न च मे निवृत्ति:
jānāmi dharmaṃ na ca me pravṛtti: jānāmyadharmaṃ na ca me nivṛtti:

I know what is the right path to take but I won’t take it. I know what is wrong, I will not stop doing it.
He was killed by Bheema in the 18 day war of Maharabharatha.

Knowingly doing evil things can be influenced from
Rajas quality of mind – excess greed, unrealistic ambitions, ego.
Tamas quality of mind – ignorance, arrogance, high self esteem, ruthlessness.

As we have learnt here, almost all wrong emotions are worth suppressing. It is a wrong notion that if we suppress our emotions, they will grow bigger on us.
We should know how to divert and convert them into positive energy.

Giving undue recognition and respect to bad emotions makes our mind weak, makes us doubt our abilities and do evil deeds. We will hurt others but more importantly, we will end up hurting ourselves unknowingly.

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