Week 4: Releasing Emotional Pressure

New this week – a practice that will progressively reduce the emotional pressure in your system, allowing for more freedom to respond instead of reacting.

This week, we introduce one of the most powerful practices of the Emotional Mastery program. While it may seem simple, and you may experience various forms of resistance, participants regularly report that this exercise literally changed their life.

What to do Next:
  1. Watch videos (0401, 0403)
  2. Reflect and/or journal
  3. Try the guided Emotional Pressure Release practice (0402)
  4. Continue practising Emotional First Aid techniques
Multimedia Course Content

Video 0401: Introduction to Emotional Pressure Release


Guided Practice: Emotional Pressure Release

A guided practice to progressively release suppressed emotional material at a manageable pace.

Guided Practice: Emotional Pressure Release (audio)

by Jenny Hale | Emotional Mastery Program

Video 0403 (Optional): Polyvagal Theory and Relationships

Dr Stephen Porges explains how to apply polyvagal theory to improve the quality of our relationships.

00-10 min      The importance of safety
10-20 min       How to avoid spiralling tension
20-25 min       Safety in the workplace and schools
25-29 min       What makes people feel safe
29-33 min       How to change our state
33-39 min      A new way to respond to triggers
39-42 min      Self-regulation, co-regulation and codependence
42-47 min     Modern life and its mismatch with our physiology
47-50 min     Fear, trauma, and their lasting effects


  1. How would you rate your overall level of emotional pressure at the moment? (You could use a scale from 0 – I respond to everything appropriately in the moment to 10 – just about everything that happens in a normal day sends me into the red zone, or simply make notes about your general tendency to either react or respond.)
  2. Thinking about the different challenges at different stages of development, can you identify any of your challenges as relating to a developmental stage?
  3. How do you feel when you do the Emotional Pressure Release practice?

Review Earlier Weeks

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I know if I am having an emotional flashback?

A: Emotional flashbacks tend to be more intense than in-the-moment responses to a current situation; they are out of proportion to the trigger. We may not even consciously notice the trigger at all, so they can seem to come from nowhere.

Unprocessed emotions from childhood tend to feel overwhelming, and they can also have an uncomprehending quality “why is this happening to me?” This uncomprehending quality is strongest when the emotion is from the first two years of life. There may also be a sense of helplessness, incapability, or despair that seems unrelated to the trigger.

Q: When I try to do the Emotional Pressure Release practice I feel nothing at all.

A: It’s quite normal for some people to have trouble connecting with the emotional sensations. It may be because you suppressed your connection with your emotional world in childhood, as a way to survive. It may be because you haven’t given it much thought in the past, and your brain filters that information out because it hasn’t been important to you in the past. It may even be as simple as you being a bit too tense to feel much, since adrenaline suppresses our awareness of all sensations, physical and emotional.

Painkillers such as opiates, and even paracetamol, make it harder to access our inner world. Some people find that antidepressants and ADD medications also make it more difficult.

Numbness is a valid sensation, and contains emotional information, just as much as dramatic physical movements or bright images.

Gentle persistence is the key with this practice. Spend a little time every day being open to receiving emotional information, work on lowering your overall stress levels and reaching the “green zone” of physiological safety, and eventually, the information will start to flow.


6 + 5 =

Additional Exploration

References, optional further study and additional practices

Academic References

Gross, J. J., Levenson, R. W. (1997), Hiding feelings: The acute effects of inhibiting negative and positive emotion. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Vol 106(1), Feb, 1997. pp. 95-103.

Laird, J. D. (2007). Feelings: The perception of self. New York: Oxford University Press.

Niedenthal, P. M., Ric, F., & Krauth-Gruber, S. (2006). Psychology of emotion: Interpersonal, experiential, and cognitive approaches (Chapter 5, Regulation of Emotions, pp. 155-194). New York, NY: Psychology Press.

A handy checklist for identifying repressed emotions we may not otherwise notice.

This guide explores how repressed emotions affect us and provides a step-by-step process for transforming negative emotions into positive energy.

Jennifer Sterling on Emotional Release

I am a recovering sugar addict. I used to stuff myself with cake, cookies, and ice cream any time I felt sad, angry, or alone. The sugar high helped me cope with difficult emotions and soothed the pain of a childhood marred with stress and abuse.

It was a behavior that eventually made me sick. Chronic yeast infections, migraines, and fatigue were the norm for ten years before I realized sugar was making me sick. I eliminated it from my diet, but the changes in my physical health were minimal.

In order to truly heal my body, I had to address the emotional issues that caused me to self-medicate with food. I did this by creating an emotional tool-kit.

In order to release the emotions and create a more peaceful state of being, it’s important to create an emotional tool-kit to help regulate your nervous system and soothe the discomfort.

“Some of us ran so far away, during a period of survival, that we forgot to come back home to ourselves.
Return home to yourself. You are safe now.”

Lalah Delia