Do you find it hard to feel or express your emotions? by Fiona Maguire

Posted by Fiona Maguire
2 September, 2019

Do you…

Get confused as to what you are feeling

Not feel emotions when you think you should?

Not feel a deep connect with anyone else?

Prefer to be in your head analysing things rather than feeling them?

Or maybe you do not feel your emotions?

If you have answered yes to more than one of the above, you are most likely suffering from the ‘freeze’ response and are shut down. 

The ‘freeze’ response can result from prolonged stress, shock or trauma.  Many people are not aware of the link between stress and shutting down their emotions, which leads to emotional problems and difficulties.

Don’t worry there is a way out of this!

Stress can be good, bad or ugly depending on how aware you are of yourself and your stress.  You may already know what stress is but do you know what prolonged stress is?

Just for clarity lets quickly state how stress effects the body…

Stress is your mind and body’s way of responding to a demand, whether it is physical, mental of emotional.  Your body reacts to stress by releasing chemicals into your blood that make you more alert, give you more energy and often make you stronger.  This is called ‘the stress response’.  The stress response (SR) is great when you are being chased by a saga tooth tiger and need to take action quickly without thinking.  However this does not happen anymore, no matter how furious your boss can get!

Today’s Stress

In today’s society most stress is a result of how you see / feel about a situation, rather than an actual life threatening moment.  This is where the problem starts! Because the danger is not real it is not socially acceptable for you to punch your boss, have a tantrum or run away.  This means that all the chemicals that get released into your body by the SR are not used. 

Instead the chemicals stay floating around your body causing tension (physically and mentally), inflammation, and illness.  A further complication is that you became stressed much more easily and start another SR in your body.  If this cycle continues over a period of time, without sufficient relaxation time, your body exhausts the SR and you go into the into the “immobility” or “freeze” response.

The “freeze” response

This “freeze” response is used successfully by deers that cannot run away from the approaching lion.  The deers that froze where often not killed by the lion, or if they were the advantage of the “freeze” response was that they did not feel it.  When the danger had passed the deer shakes their body discharging the chemistry and energy that is contained in the “freeze” response and they begin to feel their body and emotions again.  This successful completion of the cycle of the “freeze” response prevents the deer from suffering from stress or exhausting the stress response.  Peter Levine, an expert in trauma, states that when a person goes into the “immobility” or “freeze” response they are not able to feel their emotions or anything else and that they often stay shut down to their emotions and can stay this way for the rest of their lives, without even realising that something is missing from their life.

I see many clients that have anger issues, physical pain, persistent health concerns, have problems communicating or are depressed.  What they all have in common is they do not realise that they have shut off from their emotions and this is what is causing them to suffer. 

When you are unable to feel your emotions or make sense of other people’s emotions you miss out on experiencing what makes you feel alive, what gives colour to life and a deep sense of connection that you could have with other people.

The way out and getting back to yourself

The way out of being shut down is to become aware that you are and take action to release the stress from your body and life. 

Doing one or more of these will help:

  • Taking time out
  • Remembering to take deep breaths
  • Going for a walk
  • Sitting in Nature
  • Meditating

Are all great ways that you can help yourself. 

If you have been suffering from Prolonged Stress and you now know that your life can be different, don’t wait any longer and seek the assistance of a professional, especially one that specialise in shut down emotions.

However you may now realise that you need assistance to help you start to feel your emotions, feel alive and move forward in your life, this is where seeing a professional that specialises in shut down emotions can really help.

Love, Fiona Maguire

Fiona Maguire is an Intuitive Transformative Coach, Psychologist, International Speaker and Author.  She has over 20 years of experience.  She worked in the NHS and in Social Services.

Currently Fiona runs her own practice working mainly online.  She works with individuals, couples and corporations delivering coaching and training. Learn more about Fiona at

You can also contribute to the Cygnus blog! Click here to learn more about how you can share your experiences with the Cygnus Community just like Fiona!

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