Are you coughing up your suppressed emotions?

Publish Date:Jan 20, 2016

Have you ever noticed, people start coughing at the most silent of places? I remember some weekly meditation sessions I was attending few years ago. When we are in deep concentration, at least one or two members definitely cough at each session. I used to wonder why! The lady who was guiding the meditation used to say it's because we are resisting something in the process. When I ask someone a tricky question, I always watch out if other person is coughing. Invariably they cough if they are not telling me complete truth. Mostly, with a very good intention, to save me from unpleasantness.

We cough when we don’t say what we want to say or when we say what we don't want to say. It's quite funny, in fact. We may not be able to express our true feelings because we are not in a place where we can express freely. Or may be the other person is so domineering that we can’t open up in front of them or we don't want to hurt them. We then feel like coughing to clear our throat. If we look at nasty, persistent cough, it also has similar reasons, inability to express true feelings or suppressed emotions for a long time or a feeling of being ignored. Underneath it, there is a feeling of 'No one listens to me'. Mostly, there could also be a physical reason behind the cough, like you are in a polluted area or a change of weather or may be excess heat in the body or an infection left by a recent viral fever, etc. But it’s worth checking if there is an emotional reason too and address it right away rather than allowing it to trouble you nonstop.

I had a client who had a traumatic childhood, her father and mother fought with each other throughout her childhood. She was punished by her mother for smallest of reasons or for no reason. She couldn't raise her voice and ask her mother, why she is being punished as her mother was a dominating person. All the emotions were stuck in her throat. Both the parents were so busy fighting with each other, she was either completely ignored or thrashed when noticed. She had grown up and got married into a family where the same pattern continued. She was never appreciated for anything she did right. She was blamed for everything that went wrong, although it was not her fault. She felt she could not resist or standup for herself. So all the emotional pain from her childhood got more intense. Slowly, she developed a persistent cough that was there for months together. She tried all possible ways to get rid of the cough. Any medicine could give her only temporary relief but cough used to come back.

Another client brought his father-in-law who was experiencing cough for more than an year. He was known as the family rebel, none of the family members could understand him or his ideas. He became a successful business man and he would have liked to rule the family as he ruled the market. But none of his kids resonated with any ideas he had for their future. One of his daughters is a Doctor, he wanted her to open a hospital but she joined another hospital as a resident doctor. Another daughter wanted to do MS in US and he wanted her to do an MBA in India. Somehow, she managed to do MS in US as per her own wish. He had such a strong feeling that none of his family listens to him and his point of view is being ignored, within a few months he started developing cough. It persisted for months together inspite of many treatments.

Cough is one of the common complaints that we or our loved ones may suffer from time to time. It is often not dangerous but troublesome issue. When cough turns into a persistent issue, we have to get ourselves checked for TB or Bronchial Asthma or any other respiratory issue. It’s always better to rule out all of the possible physical issues. But many a times, cough may still persist without any apparent physical reason, even after all of these causes are ruled out.

When you notice persistent cough, it's a good idea to lend an ear to your body and emotions. Ask yourself, how do I truly feel about the cough? Just listen to what it wants to say. When you started coughing, did you observe the people and situations around you? What happened before you started experiencing cough for the first time? Whenever you are coughing, you are actually telling people around you, to listen to you, asking them not to ignore you. Because you feel they don’t listen to you anyway, you may have swallowed up all that you wanted to say and all that you felt within you. That suppressed emotion gets stored at your throat which can lead to persistent cough. Expressing your emotions doesn’t mean that you have to shout your heart or lungs out. You don’t have to cry out loud for attention. There are many ways and techniques available to express your emotions in a more peaceful way. We are here in this world to experience all our emotions, we can make the experience to be peaceful and loving. Above all else, love yourself and pay attention to your own self. You can then express your emotions with others in a more loving way. Self-love has the capability to heal you instantaneously. 

Disclaimer: The above information is to be used as supplement to the medical help you take for any physical issue, it is not a substitute for medical help. Please use your discretion to take medical help whenever you are experiencing cough.

-Ramakrishna Maguluri
Engaging with life

ELAI
engagingwithlife@yahoo.com

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