Are You Bottling & Brooding Your Emotions? Time To Stop Now

Last Update on October 26, 2023 : Published on September 5, 2020
Bottling & Brooding

We all are unique and so are our reactions and emotions towards any given situation. Some of these ways are helpful while others are not. Various psychologists are constantly identifying these unhelpful emotional reactions and providing helpful options. One such effort has been made by Susan David.

Susan David, author of Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life, identified two ineffective ways that people use to deal with negative emotions. These ways are:

  • Bottling up emotions, and
  • Brooding up emotions.

According to her through these ways, an individual tries to avoid the processing of internal pain without understanding its ill impact on mental health. Therefore, it is important to keep a check on our emotional reaction to safeguard our mental well-being.

Let us understand emotional bottling and brooding with the help of an example:


Your boss gives you a new task right before you are about to leave and asks you to complete it before the EOD. The most obvious emotions in this situation will be anger and frustration. Here is how a bottler and a brooder will respond to it.

What bottling up emotions look like:

“I am angry at my boss, but I’m not going to think about it as I have the new task to complete.”

What brooding up emotions look like:

“Why did my boss do this? What did I do to deserve this?”

This shows that while the bottler hides the emotions under the carpet a brooder will keep on wiping his legs on the carpet! Either way, you are just pushing away your emotions and creating an emotional clutter.

Characteristics of Bottlers & Brooders

Push away the negative emotions. Get stuck in negative feelings.
They avoid the discomfort of the feelings thinking of expression as a sign of weakness. They relive (ruminate) hurts, failures, and other negative feelings.
You simply forget what happened and suppress your emotions. You pay too much attention to your internal chatter.
Bottling up emotions suppress them and surface in life through unintended ways. Brooding up emotions makes them more powerful thus causing discomfort.

The Bottling Mind and the Brooding Mind might appear different in terms of reaction but a body of research suggests that their outcome on our well-being is similar. People who practice emotional bottling or brooding report low levels of happiness and high levels of sadness and anxiety.

So is bottling and brooding all bad with no good to offer?

Ideally, both bottling and brooding of emotions stem from good intentions. While bottlers find it as a way to stay positive brooders think of it as a way to solve problems. It will help you provide instant relief by distracting you from uncomfortable emotions. But, constant usage of either way causes more harm than good.

Is there a better approach than bottling or brooding up emotions?

Yes, there is a healthier approach to deal with emotions- Emotional Agility! It is a mindful, values-driven, and productive way to deal with your emotions. It allows you to experience emotions and events without driving them in negative ways. Through emotional agility, you can reveal the best of yourself and your emotions.

The process of emotional agility is:

Accepting your emotions → Put a language to them → Describe them with compassion → Develop wisdom.

Want a quick fix?

Just say your emotions loud to yourself. This will help you create a healthy and much-needed distance between you and your emotions. Taking inspiration from the situation discussed above here is how you can avoid bottling or brooding up your emotions;

“I am angry, I am upset, and I am frustrated at my boss.” Take three deep breaths after that.

You can also try R.A.I.N. to deal with your overwhelming emotions.

Now that you have identified how healthy your emotional reaction is and how you can work on it, time for you to establish inner peace.

PS: Don’t punish yourself for the way you feel, just be compassionate towards yourself.

About The Author

Anjali Singh
Anjali Singh

Anjali Singh is a content curator in the field of Mental Health. She is currently done Ph.D. in Psychology. Her aim is to light up the world with positive vibes through her words, her idea of life is ‘Grow through what you go through’. Apart from this, she is a big-time pet lover.


  1. Harshita Singh Chauhan
    Harshita Singh Chauhan

    Amazing blog. Thanks for sharing :)

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