What are Emotional Release Techniques (and why use them)?

By Val Silver

Are you plagued by troubling emotions and limiting beliefs? Emotional release techniques can help you feel better so you can get on with living a healthier, happier life.

Releasing techniques encompass a variety of methods designed to clear unpleasant emotions and traumas. They work by moving energy and shifting your perspective. They differ from conventional methods in that they do not rely on medical interventions, such as pharmaceuticals, surgery, or talk therapy. 

In general, emotional release techniques neutralize troubling emotions and thought patterns that interfere with your happiness, well-being, and the willingness to get unstuck. They can work wonders for easing stress, painful thoughts, and irrational fears whether your memories go back 50 years or five minutes ago.

The problem of unreleased emotions

Negative, unproductive emotions keep you in a state of chronic distress. Often you are aware of them, but some of them are suppressed or repressed. Either way, they harm not only to your mental health, but your physical health as well. They harm your relationships and skew your view of the world. You cannot enjoy optimal holistic wellness while stress hormones and head trash keep you physically and mentally in fright, fight, or freeze mode. Healing requires a relaxed, calm mind and body.

When a trauma happens, no matter how big or small, its memory lodges somewhere in your body. For a child, even a trauma as small as dropping an ice cream cone and not getting another one, can create a painful lifelong memory. You might think of the event often or not. Whenever you think of it, you can get caught in a loop of painful thoughts and emotions. 

The good news is that you can release the grip of a negative experience and get the energy flowing again. As you let go of the emotional pain around an event, your thoughts about the incident shift.  The energy flow is unblocked and so is the distress that accompanied it. Then, you are free to integrate the memory in a healthy way, or surprisingly even let it fade away. That energy is now yours to use for healing, creativity, and purpose.

emotional release techniques, jack kornfield quote on releasing grudges, fears, and disappointments

Choosing an Emotional Release Technique

Most popular emotional release techniques work well when properly applied, so you do not have to worry about choosing just the right one. Some of them work through the subconscious mind and/or your energy system. Others work on a conscious level.

If you are just starting out, read up on two or three emotional release techniques that appeal to you and experiment with them. Once you've sampled them, choose one to learn well and apply it to your emotional challenges. Over time, add a variety of techniques to your toolkit. This will serve you well because at different times and circumstances you will find yourself resonating with one method over another.

Here are two easy techniques to play with that work on a conscious level.

Use Shifting Statements

Here is one of my favorite methods for feeling better quickly in the moment. 

This very effective, easy do anywhere method comes to us compliments of Esther Hays and Abraham-Hicks.

Shifting statements works well for negativity and awful-izing. The idea is to shift to more positive feeling thoughts so that you instantly reduce stress and feel better. With practice, your thought patterns will naturally change for the better. You will be less stressed and more open to possibilities.

A better feeling thought is as simple as changing your language. For example, when you find yourself thinking or saying, " This situation is just terrible"  change it to, "All right, we have a challenge here."

One caveat. Lying to yourself will not work. The new thought has to feel better than the old one, yet still ring true. Then, reach for the next better feeling thought. Perhaps your challenge can now be seen as an opportunity. Think of it as climbing a positivity ladder.

One of my favorite shifting statements is one I learned from Abraham-Hicks.

You shift from your negative thought to Wouldn't it be nice if...? 

For example, instead of saying, "I'm not going to eat any junk today because I'm getting fat" (feel the stress and negativity?) I say, "Wouldn't it be nice if I just ate healthy snacks today?"

Feels better, doesn't it?

As Esther Hicks says in the video below, "Find any reason to feel good."

Send Negative, Painful Thoughts Packing

Choose this fun visualization to engage the child within.

Create and image that sends your negative feelings away. For example, imagine removing your fears, worries, and troubling thoughts from your mind and body and packing them into a suitcase. Send them on a long trip, without you. Or turn them into a rocket ship and launch them off. Give them a shape, texture, color and/or sound before releasing them. Engage your senses and a sense of humor. Experience this send-off as if it is really happening. Smile. Wave. Bye, bye.

Healing Painful Memories with Emotional Release Techniques

The following emotional release techniques shine in the realm of healing damaged emotions and releasing longstanding painful thoughts and memories. Although you may experience profound shifts in your perspective, they work more on a subconscious, spiritual, or energetic level. Incorporate your favorite(s) into your daily life to neutralize troubling emotions from the past and to deal with new challenges. 

Some techniques combine beautifully, such as incorporating forgiveness work with EFT.

Note: If you have suffered a serious trauma, it is wise to work with a professional instead of delving in on your own.



Choose meridian tapping and energy flow techniques for in the moment and long standing painful thoughts.

These techniques are becoming increasingly popular because they can bring quick relief when dealing with emotional pain whether from yesterday or old past traumas.

  • The Emotional Freedom Technique is the most well-known of these methods. This is the first emotional release technique I learned, and it is still my personal favorite. I use it for healing emotions reaching back to my childhood, divorce trauma, and to more current limiting beliefs. The rule of thumb is to try it on everything. On the EFT page, Val demonstrates the basic EFT recipe. 
  • The Personal Peace Procedure is a process for shifting limiting beliefs, painful thoughts, and healing negative emotions. Simply take ten minutes or so and make a list of 50 or more memories that still disturb you. No memory is too big or too small.  Rate the negative charge/feeling of each memory on a scale of 1-10, ten being the worst. Commit to using EFT or another emotional release technique on one or two memories a day until you are through with your list. Work with an experienced practitioner for any memories that are too difficult to bring down to zero by yourself.
  • The ZPoint Process for Peace is an effective, gentle, relaxing energy flow technique that is very nice as a guided process.
  • Other emotional release techniques, such as the Sedona Method, Be Set Free Fast, the Tapas Acupressure Technique are also effective. I sometimes use TAT by itself or to take the edge off before tapping. Very comforting.
  • Practice Forgiveness for yourself and others. Forgiveness is a great healer. It is sometimes included in other emotional release techniques. I don't know if you can really truly completely heal, physically or mentally, if you do not forgive. The past is gone. The only person you poison with lack of forgiveness is yourself. Forgiveness is something you do for yourself. The chronic stress and energy drain of holding onto grudges and resentments, no matter how deserved you think they are, will eventually ruin your quality of life and your health.
  • Shift negative thoughts and emotions with gratitude. Gratitude may not sound like an emotional release technique, but it is actually quite effective alone or as part of another process. Catch your negative self-talk and quickly shift to thoughts of gratitude. You will be amazed at how much more peaceful you feel. If you are spiritually minded, you can pray something like this: Thank you for protecting me from that crazy driver. I am so grateful I am safe. OR I don't know why I have to experience this difficult situation, but thank you in advance for helping me through it and for all I will learn and how I will transform my life because of it. 
  • Try HypnosisStage antics aside, hypnosis can be an effective emotional release technique. It helps you relax so your subconscious mind accepts suggestions to release painful thoughts and limiting beliefs and to replace them with better feeling thoughts. Visit a certified hypnotherapist or use readily available audios created by a trusted source.

Use emotional release techniques for manifesting

Many of these methods will help with manifesting. When you release and ease the blocks, limiting beliefs, and fears that hold you back from going for what you want, it is easier to move forward. They work with your beliefs about "being enough" and "being worthy" or deserving of what you want.  The techniques help you get to the place where you can believe in the possibility of your dreams and give yourself permission to movetoward them.

One such technique is the Sedona Method created by Hale Dwoskin.  In the Sedona Method's Letting Go movie, you learn to uncover your natural ability to let go of unwanted emotions, such as anxiety and stress, so that you stop holding yourself back from what you want in life.

Keep in mind that releasing a lifetime of emotional pain, limiting beliefs and negative thinking habits is not something you do once. Even when it only takes one time to release one specific memory, you may have many memories, feelings, and negative thinking patterns waiting to be addressed.

Emotional release techniques play an important role in emotional and mental healing. Used faithfully, they offer healing for damaged emotions. They help you shift unproductive, painful thoughts and create a more positive mental attitude. You will have less stress and more joy and peace. You may even find yourself walking on the sunny side of the street.

What is your favorite way to get rid of negative feelings? Share in the comments below.

Related Pages

Emotional Release Techniques page updated 01/2021

For Educational Purposes Only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult with your health provider before using natural remedies and/or complementary therapies if you are pregnant, nursing, or you are being treated for a medical condition. Be aware that certain herbs and supplements interact with medications.

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