Sometimes we might have difficulty expressing how we feel because we are afraid of how others will react or what they might think of us. We might have a hard time expressing how we feel because we are not sure what we are feeling. Emotions can be complex. Part of it might be because we tell ourselves that how we feel doesn’t matter. Here are some simple guidelines to understand and express how you feel.

1. Your emotions matter

Emotions give us information about our environment and our choices. If we feel threatened or out of control, we might feel angry or anxious. If we have lost or fear losing someone or something, we might grieve or feel sad. When things are going the way that we want them to, we feel happy or excited.

2. Emotions are in your body

One of the keys to understanding how you feel is to pay attention to sensations in your body. Is your heart racing, or is your stomach tight? When we learn how to identify where we feel emotions in our body, we can learn to speak about how we feel.

3. How do you perceive the emotion?

Our body gives us a signal about threats in our environment, and our heart races. We can tell ourselves that we are afraid, or we can tell ourselves that we are excited. Be curious about the story that you are telling yourself about your bodies response to the environment.

4. Heathy responses

Healthy responses to emotion include talking, crying or calming down. Talking about how you feel helps to minimize conflict and misunderstanding. Crying helps to relieve pressure and stress, and calming down prevents you from yelling or becoming aggressive.

5. Accept your emotions, don’t avoid them

Avoiding your emotions or distracting yourself from your emotions will not help you understand or learn from them. Often when we feel heartache, we tend to avoid it. Negative emotions help us to grow and understand ourselves better. Broken hearts help us to understand love, appreciation and compassion. We also learn from our mistakes by paying attention to the feelings we don’t like.

6. Write it out

It might be easier for some people to write their emotions out before speaking about them. Writing your feelings on paper might help clarify any confusion you have about what you are feeling.

7. Practice, practice, practice

If you are not used to speaking about your feelings, it will be quite challenging initially. Don’t give up; try again. Every time that you try, it will become easier. There might be people in your life who cannot cope with your emotions or anyone else’s for that matter. Practice with people is open to hearing how you feel.


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Although I am a registered clinical psychologist with the Hong Kong Society of Counseling and Psychology, I am not a licensed psychologist or any other type of licensed therapist in the United States. The information I am providing here is educational and informational. This social media page does not provide professional advice, nor does it create a professional-client relationship or any other type of relationship between us. You should always consult your own licensed mental health professional before making any changes regarding your mental health. My goal is to educate, guide, consult, and empower you regarding your mental health journey. Always consult your licensed mental healthcare provider(s) and never disregard or delay medical advice based on information posted on this page or post.