Many people are hesitant to express their feelings, especially those feelings like fear, anger or sadness. This mostly happens when we think that expressing our emotions may upset the other people or show us as weak and incapable.
Also, some feelings can be overwhelming and a person simply doesn’t know how to handle them. This is often a case with feelings that emerge as symptoms of PTSP in people who have been exposed to traumatic experience. Feelings of shock, fear, anger, guilt and anxiety usually do not fade over time. On the contrary, these emotions usually intensify as the time goes by. And if a person doesn’t find a way to express them, these emotions can overwhelm and make her or him unable to function.
Furthermore, not expressing our feelings can lead to anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. Additionally, suppressing our feelings can lead to different forms of physical illnesses as well.
On the other hand, some people often express their emotions in socially inappropriate ways. They lack the ability to control their emotions and express them in a constructive and socially acceptable manner. Consequently, this can cause different problems in personal and professional relationships.
Learning to express our feelings is important because it helps us accept ourselves and become more self-aware. Moreover, learning different ways of expressing our feelings leads to a better mental and physical well-being.
Suppression of feelings is one way of emotion regulation. It is also one of our mental defense mechanisms that we use to remove banished or socially unacceptable thoughts, drives and desires and painful memories from our conscious mind, so they don’t upset us.
Nevertheless, consistent suppression of emotions can cause both physical and mental disorders. This can include anything from high blood pressure, heart disease or ulcer to high risk of experiencing anxiety and depression.
For that reason it is very important to recognize, acknowledge and express your emotions. Here are some practical and creative ways of expressing feelings that can help you stay healthy, happy and in peace with yourself.
According to F. Diane Barth, L.C.S.W, a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst from New York, 10% of the population struggles with “alexithymia”, which means inability to find words for our feelings.
Take a moment to look inside and pay attention to your feelings. Analyze your emotions and what triggers them. Then word them out. You can choose to talk or write about them, whatever makes you feel more comfortable.
Learning how to find language to express your feelings may be beneficial both for yourself and for people around you.
Talk openly to your friends and family about your emotions. Wording your feelings out can help put things into perspective and better understand yourself.
Articulating your feelings through art can have a great therapeutic effect. Regardless on the form of the art you choose to express your feelings, you will find it healing and relieving.
Paint, Mold or Draw Your Feelings
Use different colors, materials and shapes to express your feelings. Use clay or any other material to model your emotions. Give them the texture and shape. Or toss some paint on canvas to create different shapes and textures that will talk about your feelings for you.
Sing Your Emotions Out
Sometimes we feel our unexpressed feelings as some kind of tension in our chests. Singing can help let that tension out or at least ease it to some point. If you are too sad, afraid or angry and you don’t feel like singing, write a song instead. Play an instrument. Play with different melodies and sounds to express your emotions.
Dance Them Out
Similarly, rhythm, music and body movement can be used in order to express a variety of emotions. Allow yourself to get lost in the music and rhythm. Dancing can help you to show how you feel and make you feel better.
Exchanging your feelings with the people who feel the same or went through a similar experience may also help. You can join some of the local support groups in your community or take part in online conversation.
This doesn’t have to include only support groups. You can also join any other community group, an art class or a sports team. Sometimes is enough only to be with other people.
Exercise is a great way of expressing intense emotions. Stay active. Do some exercises regularly. Burn those feelings out. Go to the gym and do push up heavy weights if you feel angry. If you feel frustrated, go for a run to let the frustration out. Or go swimming if you feel sad.
Likewise, express positive feelings by riding a bike, jumping the skipping rope or doing something extreme like skydiving.
Let your body to release the energy and express your feelings that way. This will help you ease the tension and restore peace with yourself.
Different ways of expressing our feelings can help us better understand ourselves and put things into perspective. They can ease the tension that contained emotions usually create. Correspondingly, expressing emotions can improve our mental and physical health.
In addition, another reason to find the best way to articulate our feelings is to reflect our internal world to the close people around us, so they can understand us better and give us support if we need it.
Author : Natasha Tanic