How to Express Emotions

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Many people were never taught how to express their emotions. Because they do not know how to express them, they wind up repressing their emotions instead. For people who have endured painful life situations, they can wind up engaging in unhealthy behaviors to avoid expressing their emotions, such as performing self-injuries or developing eating disorders. Expressing emotions is the best way to release the pent up feelings. Here is how to express emotions.

Instructions

  1. Recognize the importance of expressing emotions. Unexpressed emotions affect your life. For example, many people who struggle with ongoing depression or anxiety are often actually angry. Because the unexpressed anger has nowhere to go, the person experiences the emotion as depression or anxiety. If you want to take control over your emotional life, you need to first recognize that it is important to express your emotions.

  2. Label your emotions appropriately. Many people who have never learned how to express their emotions have a difficult time even labeling what those emotions are. Some people might feel anger when the emotion that they are actually dealing with is pain. Others might cry and feel sad in situations in which anger is really the more appropriate emotion. Practice labeling the emotion that you are actually having.

  3. Resolve to express your emotions as you have them. Emotions must be expressed. You can either express them as you have them or you can put a lot of energy into repressing them and just wind up having to deal with a more powerful version of your emotions later. Decide that you are going to express your emotions as you experience them.

  4. Recognize that emotions are transient. If you will express your emotions as you have them, they will not last. While you might feel incredibly angry at one moment, your anger will pass as long as you express it. Only repressed emotions linger for a very long time.

  5. Express your anger physically. Anger can be a daunting emotion for many people to express. Anger is best expressed physically, especially if you have a lot of repressed anger to process. Choose a physical activity that will not harm another person or yourself. Some good ways to express anger include punching pillows, hitting the ground with a baseball bat, popping balloons, taking a kickboxing class or going for a brisk walk.

  6. Cry out your pain. Tears really do heal a wounded spirit. However, many people have a hard time expressing their sorrow. Try watching a sad movie and allowing yourself to cry for the characters. Set aside time to let yourself "wallow" for a little while. You will feel much better after a good cry.

  7. Comfort your terror. Many people who suffered from trauma in childhood struggle with feelings of terror. Comfort yourself through those feelings. Visualize yourself comforting the child you once were. See yourself wrapping a thick blanket around your terrified inner child and hold that child close to your heart.

  8. Laugh without reservation. A good laugh can be incredibly healing. Do not stifle your joy. Instead, express your joy by giving in to an urge to laugh. A good belly laugh can do wonders for a person's emotional state.

Tips & Warnings

  • Repressed emotions only grow stronger, so you can feel a little bit angry right now or extremely angry later. The way to diffuse a powerful emotion is to express it.
  • Emotions do not last if you express them. There are no "shoulds" when it comes to feeling emotions. It does not matter whether you "should" feel angry. If you do feel angry, you need to express that emotion in a safe way.
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  • Photo Credit emotion 3 image by M.Zaturi from Fotolia.com

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