Healthy Ways of Expressing Emotions
We're all born to express emotions. Whether we choose to do it in a healthy way is another story. When we feel emotions, there are three options – either we allow ourselves to express them and let them pass, we suppress them, or we focus heavily on them, leaving them to fester inside us and cause all sorts of problems.
Emotional expression is the key to a healthy life. It gets disruptive feelings out of your system. If you express your emotions, you can quiet your mind and relieve the stress that can often be overwhelming. Sounds good but, how do you do it?
Journaling is an easy way to work through emotions, not only in time of stress but throughout life. Writing about them reinforces the habit of truly feeling your emotions and letting them go.
Practice the wave of relaxation. Take a deep breath and exhale while mentally saying peace or relax. Do this several times. Imagine a wave of relaxation passing from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. Check for bodily tension and tell tense body parts to relax as you exhale.
Try to picture the emotion in front of you. Do paced breathing. Say ease as you exhale. Imagine the emotion melting away. When you use emotional expression to control stress, you can put your mind at ease and focus on more important things that bring you joy and happiness.
Turning Point has helped tens of thousands. Please, explore our website and toolbox resources for more exercises and activities to learn how healthy emotional expression can help you overcome stress.
Understanding emotional expression
Take the emotional expression quiz
True or False: Venting is good.
False – Emotional expression doesn't always mean acting outwardly. It often is simply feeling the emotion inside and letting it go. Though it can feel good outwardly to react to an emotion, venting feelings doesn't do anything to help move on from the negative emotion. It can dump negative feelings on those close to you and affect relationships with them.
True or False: Experiencing emotional upset doubles your risk of heart attack.
True – Poor emotional expression is a big contributor to stress. Stuffing emotions and letting them fester can cause your brain to release stress hormones that increase blood pressure and heart rate, putting you at greater risk for heart attack. Stress can cause a number of health problems, from the immune and digestive systems to mental health and the cardiovascular system.