Death, taxes … and repressing our emotions.

Sherrie Laryse, the 336th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, says all of us repress emotions over the course of our life – which affects us not only mentally but also physically.

Repressed emotions can seek a physical outlet, she says, which might be neck pain, a migraine, an ulcer or countless other things.

Sherrie, who is an emotional intelligence teacher, helps people understand their emotions, in part through somatic (i.e. body) consultations. By properly understanding different sensations in our body, we’re able to gain insights into our thoughts and feelings. That, in turn, can help us deal with depression, anxiety and trauma.

Sherrie also teaches emotional intelligence through talk therapy and movement classes (i.e. different forms of yoga).

With practice, we can all get better at releasing our emotions, but it’s almost impossible to be completely open, according to Sherrie. All of us keep some things bottled up, whether as a form of control or because of cultural conditioning.

Sherrie is a very impressive person. She’s smart, compassionate and has a good sense of humour. She’s curious, open-minded and hungry to learn, which has given her an admirable level of self-awareness. Talking with her is both fun and fascinating.

From chatting with Sherrie, I realised that I need to get better at releasing my emotions. My instinct is to keep things to myself; and, when I do share, to focus on facts rather than feelings. It would be healthier, I now realise, to be more open.

Thanks to Sherrie, I left lunch a little more emotionally intelligent than when I’d arrived.