Human’s are very emotionally complex beings. It is safe to say that most people struggle a lot with their emotions. It is not always easy to control and understand what you are feeling, and often times we are left at an impasse and don’t know how to react.
So how can we express our emotions in a healthy way, if we can’t figure out what our feelings are telling us.
Before we are able to delve into techniques that you can use to express yourself in a more positive manner, we have to get an understanding of what our feelings mean.
How can we understand what our feelings mean?
1. Be mindful of your emotions during the day. I think simply paying attention to your feelings when you are in the moment experiencing them, is one of the most powerful ways we can use to understand how we react to emotions. If you do this for an extended period of time, you will be able to know exactly what you will feel in a given situation. It is a foreshadowing tool that allows us to plan ahead and ensure our emotions don’t get the better of us.
2. Journal about your emotional experiences everyday right before you go to bed. Being mindful of your emotions during the day is useful in realizing what we feel, but the deeper understanding is often missed. That’s why I suggest to take 10 minutes before you go to bed to journal about your emotions. This will allow you to reflect on them in a more meaningful way than to simply acknowledge them.
3. Be compassionate towards yourself. It is often the case that we judge ourselves harshly. Just remember that no matter what emotions we experience, it is natural and a lot of other people will have felt it at some point as well. Never try to downplay the emotions you are feeling for any reason whatsoever. What you are feeling is what you are feeling and it is important!
4. Talk about your feelings with others. With any problem in life, looking at it from different angles is crucial in your understanding of it. We can often suffer from tunnel vision when we look at our own struggles. Find someone close to you that you trust and ask them how they deal with the emotions you are experiencing. There is a good chance they might have discovered something that you haven’t, or they will give you a piece of advice you didn’t think of yourself.
Don’t expect to be an expert in your first day of doing any of these. It will take some time before you become truly proficient. It really is not difficult, just do the 4 steps above and you will naturally come to some very fruitful conclusions about yourself.
Expressing Emotions in a Healthy Fashion
Now that we know what our emotions mean in our own personal context, we can dive into the techniques that you can use to express them in a positive way.
Journaling makes the list yet again, and for good reason. Journaling about expressing your feelings can have multiple benefits. One of them is that it provides a good overview.
Let’s say that someone you love has hurt you. Before you confront them about it, write what you plan to say in your journal. I can guarantee that when you finish and read it over, you will be making changes. You may even realize that your original message might not come over very clear, or that it is rather harsh.
It is especially powerful if you are experiencing anger or rage. Instead of going off and shouting at someone, write it down first. It will calm you down and you can vent by writing, instead of potentially destroying a relationship.
For this kind of journaling to be useful, you should always carry a small book and pen with you. Emotional situations will come and go during the day, so make sure you have your journal with you at all times.
If you are more artistically inclined, you could also draw instead of journaling as a means to vent your emotion. Draw or paint something that represents the emotions you are experiencing. Remember that a picture is worth a thousand words!
Discuss your problems in an emotionally mature way with someone else
Being emotionally mature is not only about being able to deal with your emotions, it is also a tool that directly translates to your ability to express them.
Boiling up emotions and not letting them out is never a good idea. Sure you can journal and exercise to relieve anger for example, but at the end of the day you and you alone are still stuck with it.
Sharing this feeling with someone will provide a relieve that no other technique can replicate, so it is definitely an important one.
It is also a technique that anyone can use, even if you are alone and feel isolated. If you don’t want to share this with friends or family, there are plenty of online forums where you can share your experiences anonymously.
You will receive a lot of useful feedback from other users, who will often be very supportive of your issues.
I will also add that seeing a medically trained individual like a therapist or a psychologist is something you should really consider if you feel that the above tips are not working. These are great people that will make a unique solution catered to your needs. Don’t hesitate to contact them!
Never do anything right after a spike in emotion
Letting our emotions get the better of us rarely results in a positive outcome. Now I am not saying that if you are overcome with love for someone that you shouldn’t act on it in the moment, but beware when doing this with negative emotions like anger and sadness.
A lot of painful arguments could have been avoided if people would not act when they experience a strong dose of emotions. Strong emotions will overrule most logical thinking for a certain amount of time.
Often times when someone is outraged, they can say very hurtful things towards another person, something they would never have said otherwise. It is important to realize that when we are emotional, we have no regard for the future anymore.
Trying to avoid this is quite simple (theoretically). You just have to walk away when you feel like you could lose control and just blurt out whatever comes to mind.
I hope you enjoyed and learned something useful when reading this article. If you are holding on to build up emotions, now is the time to let go in a healthy and positive manner so that it may enhance and secure your relationships with the people around you. I wish you the best of luck on your adventures!