Emotional faces drawn on eggsI know it’s crude – but it’s true. Just like we need to poop out what we eat, we also need to poop out our emotions. Here’s the why and how.

My acupuncturist always emphasizes to me the importance of, shall we say, clearing my bowels. Every day, and preferably more than once. Because the digestive system has to keep things moving through at a healthy pace – not too fast, but definitely not too slow. If we don’t have our poops, things get backed up and it’s a serious problem for our well-being.

Does it surprise you, then, that the same goes for our emotions? My colleague, Rachel Kaplan, first described the idea of emotional pooping to me when I was a guest on her Healing, Feeling Sh*t Show.

Emotions Process and Digest the Experiences of Life

Our emotions are the way that we process and respond to the energies of life. Our system “digests” everything we experience, and therefore we also have emotional waste products, just like we have food waste that comes through our bowels.

It’s healthy to have a bowel movement every day – it means we have digested reasonably well, and we need to release what we don’t need so that we can take in more nourishment. It’s also vitally important for that waste to move out of us, as it can cause toxic consequences stuck inside our bodies. 

We’re often unaware of this digestive and eliminative process happening within us. Yet we know when we’re hungry, and we know when it’s time to make a trip to the bathroom!

Similarly, we’re digesting experiences and having emotions about them all the time, even if we aren’t aware of it. We do know when we long for connection, when we’re feeling hurt, or when joy is bursting forth. But there are more subtle emotions that course through us, also having an effect on us.

What is an Emotional Poop?

To have an emotional poop is to bring to consciousness what we’re feeling, giving it a healthy means of expression, and letting it go. If we avoid this process, we can have a backlog of emotional stuff stuck within us. This can create emotionally “toxicity”: resentments if we hold onto anger, anxiety if we don’t deal with our fears, or despair if we keep running from our sadness.

Emotional poops, just like our bowel movements, need to happen with regularity. We may not always need an emotional release every single day like we might need to go to the bathroom, but it’s essential to consciously check-in with your emotions and have consistent practices for moving them through your system and out.

The benefits? Well, if you’ve ever moved through a challenging feeling until you experienced a release, you know. We often feel lighter, more energized, free, and a sense of relief. Yeah, just like those regular trips to the restroom. ? Having your “emotional poop” releases the stressors that are part of life on Earth. It can also improve our relationships, bring clarity, help us communicate our feelings and needs, and even increase creative flow. 

How to Have That Emotional Poop? 

What are some ways to consciously move feelings through us and then let them go? Here are some ideas!

  • “What am I feeling right now?” – This is a simple and easy question to check in with yourself. If you don’t know, you can ask “If I were to guess, what emotions could I be experiencing”? Go with anything that comes up, even if you aren’t sure or it isn’t very strong.
  • “What is being left unsaid?” – Sometimes the things we are holding inside that we would like to say to someone else – or even to ourselves – will lead us to the emotions. Once you recognize the feelings that you want to express, you can determine how to best address them, either directly with the other person or by continuing to explore within yourself.
  • Move Your Body – What does your body feel like doing right now? Stomping, jumping up and down, slowly reaching your arms to the sky, or collapsing on your back? Let your body move in the ways it spontaneously wants, and pay attention to the emotions you experience as you move.
  • Put on the Dance Music! – Related to the movement, there may be a song that you are called to. Put it on and let yourself dance out your anger, nervousness, or deep desires. Punch or kick the air, growl like a tiger as you move, shimmy sensually – no one is watching, and it feels good to get it all out.
  • Scribble – Many people feel intimidated about doing “art” to express their emotions, but you don’t have to create any kind of work of art to allow yourself to explore with color, shapes, and movement. Break out the crayons, markers, pastels, or paints, and scribble over the page. Try not to think about what you’re doing; allow spontaneous movements, and feel your emotions as you doodle. Play with more pressure and intensity or lightness and softness. Give the materials, your hand, and your emotions free rein over the page in whatever way feels good or helps you get those feelings out.
  • Journal – The tried and true method of working through emotions and releasing them. You can have a notebook dedicated to your emotional poops.
  • Offer Them to the Divine – Emotional poops can be included in your spiritual practice, believe it or not. Take a moment of prayer to acknowledge the feeling you are having and offer it to Spirit out loud – “I give you my frustration, I offer to you my fear”, etc. Surrender it to something bigger than you. Or you can write down your feelings on small pieces of paper and place them on an altar for the Divine to assist you with. Each week or month, take your pieces of paper to the recycle bin or burn them in a bowl.

Consider ways you can invite a regular “emotional poop” as a practice into your life. It may bring a little more levity and fun into healing and releasing emotions, and supports you in feeling your emotions, letting them go, and experiencing more ease within.  Share here what works for you!

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