How To Express Your Emotions In A Healthy Way

A man and woman are talking and expressing their emotions

Learning how to express your emotions in a healthy way is a necessary part of taking care of yourselves and our emotional self-care.

But it can be easier said than done.

When we don’t learn how to express our emotions in a healthy way, we can either bottle them up to the point we don’t express them at all which can lead to many unresolved issues in the future, or we can express them in unhealthy ways that can only cause more problems for us.

Below we are going to look at why it’s hard to express our emotions, why it’s so important to express our emotions, and how we can express our emotions in a healthy way.

Why is it difficult to express emotions?

We have experienced trauma

Attachment issues and trauma can be linked, which means people that have experienced trauma in the past may have a hard time trusting other people.

A lack of trust makes it difficult to open up about our feelings.

It doesn’t help that trauma can also cause people to fear rejection.

Sociatial expectations

In some settings, countries, families, and cultures, opening up about our feelings and emotions is frowned upon or even punished.

Sharing real and honest thoughts and feelings might not be viewed as appropriate.

Uncomfortable topics

Some experiences and situations can bring up a lot of pain and trauma when we talk about them.

When something we have been through brings up big emotions, we can either want to avoid feeling those feelings again, or not want to burden others with our pain.

It can often feeling embarrassing to talk about hard things as well. It is normal to want to avoid negative emotions, however it isn’t healthy to continue to ignore them.

Personality

Some people love to share everything about themselves. I am sure you can think of examples right now of people that you know that love to either talk about themselves, or maybe even share their entire lives on the internet.

Highly social people might be used to talking about their emotions and feelings.

However, for people that are shy, introverts, or just not comfortable sharing, it can be a real struggle.

Why is it important to express emotions?

1) Expressing our emotions helps us to deal with them properly

All of us express our emotions in different ways, however we can’t express them if we don’t even know they exist. Expressing our emotions can help us to explore them and discover more about ourselves.

2) Surpressing our emotions can negatively impact our physical health

Did you know that bottling up your emotions, or burying them inside of yourself instead of expressing them can lead to many different physical ailments?

Surpressing your emotions can lead to:

  • a greater risk of cancer
  • heart problems
  • high blood pressure
  • increased risk of stroke

3) Expressing our emotions is a good form of communication

Without being able to express our emotions, we could be holding back in our relationships which could prevent us from having authentic and healthy relationships with other people, and even with ourselves.

If we are hiding a part of ourselves, it means people don’t really know the real us.

When we express our feelings in a positive way our relationships become stronger.

4) Not expressing our emotions can make us more negative in general

Studies have shown that people that decide not to express their emotions can experience more negative feelings than positive ones. This can lead to an increase in anxiety and depression.

How to express emotions in a healthy way

1) Identify the emotion or feeling

Understanding our emotions and what they are can be difficult. For many of us, we were taught that certain emotions or feelings were unacceptable growing up.

We could also be so used to burying our feelings, that we can find them difficult to identify. It can take time to connect with our personal feelings.

Self-reflection can help us to identify what we are feeling and let us feel those feelings.

2) Learn to recognize them

Once we are able to identify our emotions or feelings, we need to have the ability to recognize them when they surface. It would be good to examine how they make us feel, what sort of physical sensations we feel when they happen, and what our triggers are.

For example, when we get embarrassed do our cheeks turn red and our face heat up? When we are nervous do we start to shake? Sensations in our body can give us clues to our feelings.

3) Accept them

All of the emotions we feel are valid and important. By understanding that we need both positive and negative emotions to function, and by realizing that everyone struggles with their emotions may help us to accept them.

4) Avoid being judgemental

By passing judgement on ourselves for our feelings, or for others for their feelings, or how they react to our feelings, we are not helping anyone.

Everyone has feelings and emotions and whatever we are feeling is completely normal.

5) Communicate them effectively

How we decide to communicate our emotions with other people will have a big impact on how they will react to them. This is especially true if our emotions have something to do with that person.

But by being honest, taking responsibility for our own feelings, and picking the right time to communicate, we can set ourselves up for success.

It will also help to use a positive form of communication. Using a positive tone, listening to what the person we are communicating to says in response, using eye contact, and keeping the focus on our own feelings will all help.

6) Practice

Sharing your feelings in a healthy manor is a skill that can take practice.

If you are not used to talking about yourself or your feelings, it can take some time to become more comfortable sharing those vulnerable parts of yourself.

However, as you practice it may become easier for you to share your feelings when needed.

Remember: our emotions are a part of us, but they are not who we are.

Developing skills to express ourselves in a healthy way can help us to become happier and improve our relationships.

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