How To Stop Burying Your Feelings, Start Expressing Yourself, and Clear Up Your Skin In the Process
A native Tibetan healer I met in the middle of Denver, Colorado working in a Tibetan goods shop once told me that the red, irritated, scaling skin around my eyes — dermatitis, according to doctors — was a direct result of me not expressing my creativity. I believe her.
I believe her because I’ve treated it like a skin problem, a diet problem, and a stress problem, and nothing ever made a difference. And besides, what the healer said made sense: I’m not great at expressing myself. I’ve always been the shy, quiet girl in class or the withdrawn, bitchy girl at work — titles that more easily fit into societal tropes than “scared, lonely girl” (which is what I actually am, most of the time). But I never thought that not speaking up could cause anything other than, you know, mild emotional trauma.
I’ve since come to accept that emotional trauma can provoke some serious physical reactions (for more on this, read The Body Keeps The Score. Life-changer). Why? Because energy isn’t flowing naturally. There can be so much pent-up inside of us at any given time — be it creativity, frustration, anger, sadness — and when we don’t find healthy ways to release that energy and speak our truth, the energy finds other ways to manifest. For some, like me, it might manifest as angry, red skin. For others, it might manifest as laringitis. There’s even been talk of cancer manifesting this way. And whether or not you believe that it’s true... there’s not really a downside to releasing your emotions instead of hoarding them inside, so you might as well try it, right?
One of my favorite tools for opening up the fifth chakra (the chakra in the throat area that governs self-expression, speaking one’s truth, etc.) is essential oil. I have two blends that I use daily — this Expression Essential Oil from Pushing Beauty and the Speak Your Truth roller from Scents of Awe.
The Expression Essential Oil is a mixture of lavender, cedar, and mandarin, and works to “unlock the poetic soul to the healing power of creativity.” Using it is super easy — I drip 2 - 3 drops in my hand every morning, then use my finger to rub the oil down the front and sides of my throat. As I breathe in, I set an intention to speak my truth and use my voice.
The Speak Your Truth roller is from an LA-based company called Scents of Awe that I 100% patron because of how much I freaking LOVE the company name. Its blend of jojoba, sandalwood, chamomile, and white lotus not only opens up the third chakra, but also has anti-inflammatory properties and stimulates the thyroid.
And this essential oil-as-emotional-healing-tool thing isn’t just an airy spiritual practice, either — there is actual science to back it up. Smell is the only way to stimulate the “Emotional Brain,” or the Limbic System. (Think about it: Scent can provoke memories and stir up old feelings like nothing else.) Breathing in essential oils releases hormones and chemicals in this area of the brain, which in turn can affect your physiology and behavior — just like how the hormone oxytocin that’s released during orgasm can stimulate feelings of love. The essential oils in the blends that I use especially affect openness, communication, and expression and, have really helped me move past the stuck energy in these areas of my life.
Some other amazing tools for moving and releasing stuck energy: Breathwork. Yoga. Therapy. South baths. Screaming into a pillow. Singing. Vlogging on YouTube. The possibilities are endless.
So the next time you’re trying every cleanser and spot treatment on the market to clear up a crazy breakout, ask yourself this: Am I expressing myself? Am I allowing energy to flow? If the answer to either of these is “no,” take a deeper look at how you can release your pent-up energy. Stress leads to stressed skin. If you can address your stress, however it shows up, in a healthy way, the surface manifestations of that stress just might clear up. (But, ya know, maybe try a spot treatment while you’re at it, too.)