Emotions are inevitable. As humans, we experience a wide range of emotions, including but not limited to anger, sadness, joy, happiness, and fear. Experiencing emotions is a natural part of life. Learning to express emotions healthily is critical to enjoying a fulfilling and happy life. Healthily expressing of your feelings is linked to many positive benefits.
Below are some examples:
● Greater life satisfaction
● Increased adjustment to stressors
● More psychological resilience
● Reduced anxiety
● Reduced stress
● Improved confidence
● Improved connection with others
Expressing your emotions is the fourth step in learning how to process your feelings. Before we can dive into ways to express your emotions, you need to know how to get to that step in the process.
Step One: Define Your Go-To Distracting Behaviors: Distracting behaviors are activities in which you consciously or unconsciously take part to avoid facing your feelings or emotions. These activities include staying too busy to think, marathoning a streaming service, drugs, alcohol, or video games.
Step Two: Define Your Emotions: Determine what emotions you are truly experiencing. How do they differ from each other? Does your body temperature change? Do you feel any other differences in your physical state? How would you describe your emotions to a friend or on paper? Why was this emotion triggered?
Step Three: What Are Your Emotions Telling You? Emotions give us a clue into what we need in that very moment and what we may need overall. Take a minute to step back and figure out what your emotions are trying to tell you. What behaviors, thoughts, or actions should you change?
Step Four: Express Your Emotions: Healthily expressing emotions is the final step in your ability to process emotions fully. Not everyone expresses emotions in the same way.
Below are five healthy ways to express emotions.
- Do Something Physical: The first way to express emotions is by doing something physical. It can include several activities: Going for a hike, going to the gym, swimming, playing a sport, trying an exercise video, or joining an active club.
- Use Creativity: The second way to express your emotions is by tapping into your creativity. It can also include a wide range of activities: Try drawing or painting, writing in your journal or creating a short story, playing an instrument or singing, or trying photography. You could also try clay modeling, building collages, or making mandalas.
- Talk About Them: The third way to express your emotions is by taking them out. You can talk them over with your friend or family member. You can talk about them with a professional. You can also talk about them to yourself, a pet, or a plant at home.
- Practice Mind-Body Connection: The fourth way to express your emotions is by practicing connecting your mind and body. Yoga, deep breathing, and meditation are activities to try. Learning to practice mindfulness and gratitude in your everyday life will also help you keep a solid mind-body connection and will allow you to become more comfortable expressing your emotions overall.
- Try Something New: The fifth way to express your emotions is by trying something new. It could be cooking with a recipe you’ve never used before, signing up for a recent activity or class, or exploring a new town
Learning to express your emotions in a healthy way will allow you to live a productive and fulfilling life. Being active, engaging in creativity, talking about your feelings, practicing a mind-body connection, and trying something new are all ways to express your emotions healthily.