Many people tend to bottle up their emotions in order to get through the day. Why do we do this? We won’t let anyone know what is bothering us, or what we are dealing with in life maybe because we think that people won’t understand, or that society may deem our feelings unacceptable. So, we go to great lengths to hide our emotions.
Hiding your sadness, or anger, frustrations, and other emotion is not healthy. Even though you might think that avoiding the experience of that emotion may make things easier in the short term, in the long run it does not save you from the effects of that emotion. If you don’t allow yourself to process the emotions, it can affect your body through stress. Emotions have a way of getting stuck in us if we don’t work through them. So, hiding or burying the emotions is only a quick fix that can surface again—and sometimes when you least expect it. We have emotions for a reason, so it is good to learn how to express them in healthy ways.
Expressing your emotions can look like many different things. Each person is different, what you are feeling can be a guide to the way of helpful expression. We want to look for ways to express feelings that won’t be destructive to yourself, others, or property. Here are some ways that you can express your feelings in a healthy way.
Writing in a journal can be very liberating. If you have been unsuccessful in the past when trying to journal, a good way to go about this is to pretend that you are writing letters to someone. This can help you be more at ease when expressing your feelings and the life events that happened to you. Getting all your thoughts on paper can help you to process them and work through your emotions quicker and easier. Sometimes, for myself, it is better to start with a list—to write down all the things that are going in on my life, what is on my mind, what I feel responsible for, and then to list my ideas of dealing with these feelings out to the side of each.
Physical exertion is an amazing way to help you express emotion. When you’re upset or frustrated, you can go for a run or do some other form of physical activity in order to get the feelings out of your body. Some people enjoy boxing or kickboxing in order to do this.
Most commonly though, people will run or go to the gym and lift weights when they are experiencing overwhelming feelings. Of course, be sure that with whatever exercise you choose, you do it properly to avoid any physical injury. Personally, I love to walk the beach or a trail through the woods. Not only does the movement on these walks help me move through the emotion, the time alone in nature is helpful for gaining a new perspective.
Creating something is a great way for a lot of people to express emotion. Examples of this are painting, drawing, writing, coloring, creating music, playing an instrument, cooking, and much more. If you have a hobby that you enjoy, practicing it as a way to express your emotions can be very helpful.
Just like journaling, using art, music, cooking or gardening is a wonderful way to facilitate your emotions through the movement of your mind as you move your hands in creating. You might be surprised at your masterpiece. Many artists are moved by their emotions and find that it is the best time to create something great. Don’t judge yourself, the creation comes about from many factors and is meant to be therapeutic. Allow your emotions to take you where they need to go in order to best express them healthily.
Communicating with someone you love, whether a friend or a family member, can be feel very supportive. It should be someone that you feel comfortable with and that you know will listen without judgement or without telling you what to do. You may want to let them know that you don’t need them to fix your problem, you just need to get express because saying how you feel out loud will help you deal with it yourself.
Often the person you choose to talk to may want to help you so much that they will start to offer you solutions. Let them know you simply need someone to listen to it. Ideally, this relationship can be reciprocated for when they need someone to talk to, and then you can be there for them. This give and take is very healthy and will provide a great outlet to express emotions. I have several friends that we have this kind of relationship with. If we need to talk out our feelings we know we can call each other up anytime. If you don’t have a friend or family member that you are comfortable with, you can choose a therapist instead.
Analyze Your Emotions as Your Own Best Friend
Have you ever looked at yourself as your own best friend? You know yourself, you really do, and you know what is best for your authentic self. Look at what you are feeling with empathy as you would with a friend you love dearly. Looking at yourself through your own eyes this way can be helpful. Speak aloud to yourself and explain why you feel the way that you do. Getting these feelings out of your mind and into the world can help you examine them without being so connected to them. Even though it sounds silly, I talk to myself when I am alone. Somehow it works wonders to speak words out loud. This works great when I am driving by myself. As I talk, my mind can see things from different angles.
This is very similar to speaking with someone else. The only downfall is that you don’t have someone else’s experiences and viewpoints. However, you know you inside and out, so I have no doubt that you have your own best interest at heart.
Hearts & Hugs,
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