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The Dangers of Pretending You're Okay When You're Not!


Shikha Bhat writes about speaking up about what's happening inside your mind.
Pretending you aren't hurt doesn't heal you

Have you ever tried to play it cool and pretend like you're not hurt, even when you're in pain? Maybe you've ignored a nagging injury or pushed through a tough emotional experience, telling yourself that you're fine and that you just need to tough it out.

Unfortunately, this common approach to dealing with pain and discomfort is often ineffective, and can even make things worse in the long run.

To illustrate this point, let's consider the analogy of a car with a broken engine. If you notice that your car's engine is making strange noises or not running smoothly, you could choose to ignore the problem and keep driving as if everything is fine.

However, this approach is unlikely to solve the issue and could actually cause more damage to the engine over time. By ignoring the problem, you may end up causing more harm to the car than if you had addressed the issue head-on from the beginning.

Similarly, pretending that you're not hurt or in pain can lead to more serious issues down the road. If you're struggling with emotional pain, bottling up your feelings and pretending like everything is okay can lead to long-term negative effects on your mental health.

To further highlight the importance of addressing pain and discomfort, let me share a personal story.

When I was younger, despite suffering from life-changing events, I often tried to keep my vulnerabilities within myself. However, this approach eventually caught up with me, and I ended up having an emotional outburst.

So, what's the lesson here?


Pretending that you're not hurt doesn't heal you - in fact, it often makes things worse. It's important to listen to your mind and seek help when you need it. 

The Neuroscience Behind Ignoring Your Hurt

The neuroscience behind ignoring or denying your emotions is complex and multifaceted. When you experience emotions, various regions of your brain, including the amygdala and prefrontal cortex, are activated and work together to process and regulate your emotional responses.

However, when you ignore or deny your emotions, you are essentially suppressing the activity in these brain regions, which can have a number of negative consequences for your mental and physical health.

⏩ Studies have shown that when individuals suppress or ignore their emotions, they tend to experience higher levels of stress and anxiety. This is because suppressing emotions can lead to increased activity in the amygdala, which is responsible for processing fear and stress responses.

⏩ Over time, this can lead to chronic stress, which is associated with a range of negative health outcomes, including cardiovascular disease, digestive disorders, and impaired immune function.

⏩ When you don't express your emotions, it can be difficult for others to understand and connect with you on an emotional level. This can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, which are also associated with negative health outcomes.

On a neurological level, denying or ignoring emotions can also lead to changes in the brain's structure and function.

Studies have found that individuals who suppress their emotions have reduced gray matter volume in the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for regulating emotional responses.


This can lead to difficulties with emotional regulation and a higher risk of developing mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression.

How to acknowledge and address your emotions in a healthy way?

Here are some tips to help you become more mindful of your emotions and manage them in a healthy way.

  1. Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness involves paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and sensations in the present moment, without judgment. By practicing mindfulness regularly, you can become more aware of your emotions and learn to identify them as they arise.

  2. Journaling: Writing down your thoughts and feelings can be a powerful tool for processing emotions. Consider keeping a daily journal where you can reflect on your experiences, explore your emotions, and identify patterns or triggers that may be impacting your mental health.

  3. Seek support: Talking to someone you trust about your emotions can help you gain perspective and feel less alone. Consider reaching out to a friend, family member, or mental health professional for support.

  4. Engage in self-care activities: Engaging in self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, or spending time in nature can help reduce stress and improve your mood. Make time for self-care activities that you enjoy and that make you feel good.

  5. Practice self-compassion: It's important to be kind and compassionate to yourself, especially when dealing with difficult emotions. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a close friend.

  6. Set boundaries: Setting boundaries with yourself and others can help you manage your emotions more effectively. Consider saying no to activities or commitments that don't align with your values or priorities, or setting limits on your use of technology or social media.

By acknowledging your emotions and addressing them in a healthy way, you can improve your mental health and overall well-being.

Remember that managing your emotions is a process, and it's okay to ask for help or support when you need it.

This is what I did after a decade of ignoring my emotions and feelings to build resilience and emotional well-being:


This picture is a display visual of a writing consultant
Shikha Bhat- A Full-time Mother, Content Creator, and a LinkedIn Personal Branding Consultant

✅ I started talking about my day on LinkedIn or to a friend. That way, I could speak out and address the issue instead of waiting for "time will heal everything."

✅ I started labeling my emotions. Whether I was feeling anger, sadness, frustration, or something else, I made sure to name them so that I could express them in a healthy way.

✅ I changed my diet and sleep routine, which helped me stay connected with my emotions and stay present instead of going into the vicious cycle of guilt.

✅ I stopped guilt-tripping myself every time I lacked something. I made sure to reflect, find out why, and not beat myself up when something didn't pan out the way I anticipated. Although I didn't use it earlier, I would request you get in touch with a therapist, counselor, or licensed mental health professional so that you can find healthy ways to express your emotions.

By doing so, you can avoid the negative impacts of repressing your emotions and build resilience and emotional intelligence.

Your feelings are a door to what's happening inside your mind. If you shut it, the pressure will overload it, making it burst at a certain point. Please don't leave it until that happens.

Be proactive about your mental health!

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