Last update: January 18, 2016
Many people find it difficult to express their emotions adequately, and they may do so in an excessive or too limited way. Knowing how to express one's emotions in a fair and balanced way is fundamental both on a personal, social and working level.
There are different techniques or theories on how to repress or control emotions, but it has been proven that they are never really effective, because emotions and feelings are spontaneous, they are born in us automatically.
Trying to repress and ignore our emotions can also have negative consequences on a physical level, proven by scientific research. Current therapies, such as acceptance and compromise therapy or techniques such as mindfulness, instead they help us to understand our emotions and to understand how to treat them, helping us to observe them as if we were spectators.
For example, if you feel distress and try to ignore this feeling, you will not know how to channel and express it; this could lead to increased heart rate, sweating, shaking or trouble breathing. When we repress our feelings, we can cause tension in the neck, face or various muscles and spine.
If, on the contrary, we allow ourselves to be invaded by feelings without ever expressing them, we can end up suffering from psychosomatic arterial diseases, headaches or stomach problems. It is a fact that our emotions affect our health.
Learning to express emotions helps us avoid physical problems and emotional suffering.
How to express emotions in 11 steps
With a little training and following these simple steps, you can learn to better identify your emotions and express them as you should. Here are 11 helpful tips to follow:
- Identify the emotion and the feeling: when something changes in our organism as a reaction to an external factor or to our own thoughts, we must ask ourselves "what do I feel?", "what physical symptoms am I experiencing?", "what is their cause?", "why are they appeared now? ".
- Learn to recognize your feelings: Once you have identified the emotions and feelings you are experiencing, you need to analyze the cause. Try to make a list of all the emotions and physical clues that unmask her.
- Pay attention to your body's reaction: Emotions are triggered by the limbic and autonomic nervous systems, and are difficult to manipulate at first. Take some time and let the emotion evaporate, and then you can think more clearly about it and the decisions you need to make.
- Pay more attention to your response than to the situation: You believe that the situation that makes you nervous is the cause of everything, but the real problem is your emotional response. Observe yourself and you will realize that it is your response that paralyzes you, regardless of whether you are anxious because you do not find an important document or because you have received an unfair fine. Only you can change your reaction.
- Express your emotions in an appropriate and balanced way: Once you understand what is happening to you, you will be able to express your emotions in a slightly more controlled way. You still have a few steps to learn to better understand how to do it.
- Experience the relationship with your body more closely: when you feel those emotions, mark the part of the body where they manifest themselves. Give them a color and texture, locate them in a specific area and try to identify a specific relationship for each of them. You hold all those parts and emotions, they don't own you.
- Try to be honest about what you feel and do: if you really feel indifferent to that person, why do you keep trying to like him? If you are upset, uncomfortable or angry, why do you avoid talking about it to clarify the situation?
- Choose the best time to express your emotionsThere is no point in wanting to have a constructive conversation with your boss if you choose the wrong time. Take a good look at the situation, the people around you and yourself, and decide when is the most convenient time.
- Use positive communication: friendly tone, active listening, looking into the eyes and using phrases such as “I feel a little stressed”, instead of “The situation in the company stresses me”. You will avoid an argument and, as you explain the situation, the other person will implicitly understand that your stress is caused by work.
- Help yourself with your body to express what you feel: in case you have to explain that you are feeling stressed, placing your hand on your heart, head or belly will make it clear to your interlocutor that you are experiencing unpleasant sensations and that it would be good, both for you and for others, for the situation to improve.
- Visualize and locate your emotions: you are the people in charge of managing your feelings, without repressing them or hiding them, simply being aware that you have to express them to let off steam and to make others understand you.
How to calm your emotions and feelings in solitude
Sometimes our emotional malaise is not related to any concrete situation. We can feel sad because of a memory, because we feel weak in health or because a negative thought has surfaced in our mind. However, you can put into practice the advice we gave you a little while ago: accept these emotions as something that is part of you, leave the discomfort on one side, accept that you are human and that it is normal to have certain feelings.
Accepting the fact that we are emotional beings is the secret to being able to understand what emotions we feel and which we must express adequately.
Emotions are part of our evolution and are also what defines us as different beings than the other species that inhabit our planet. Emotions are natural, so don't continually struggle with them. Leave them alone and, if you can, do an activity that has the power to relax, such as talking to a friend, writing or walking.
If emotions that are too intense, such as anger, appear, a good way to combat them is to play a sport that requires a lot of energy. This will allow you to release the anger and stress that you have built up within you.
Images courtesy of Christian Schloe