We’re often told to ‘express our feelings’ and let people know what we’re thinking about or feeling, but it’s very difficult to do that if you don’t know how to access them in the first place. Sometimes we just feel a little bit ‘under the weather’ or we ‘get a feeling’ that something isn’t quite right or isn’t in place. There are several things that you can do to help find your true feelings and express them in a better way.
Try the following exercises and you will soon get a much clearer idea of what you are feeling and why you might be feeling it
Pay attention to your body
Some feelings trigger not only a mental response but also a physical one. For example, nerves and anxiety can cause us to sweat more, get colder, shake, talk faster and have a faster heartbeat. This is a quick way to tell how you are feeling, and you can also tell what somebody else is feeling by watching how their body reacts. Feelings of love can often quicken the heart rate too, while feelings of anger will make a person tense and on edge.
You may feel more than one thing
If you’re struggling to decide what it is you’re feeling, don’t worry. In many situations, you may feel more than one type of emotion at the same time. This is perfectly normal, and you should embrace it and then work to figure out the individual feelings.
Write down your thoughts
When you’re in the heat of the moment, you won’t want to sit and think about what exactly you’re feeling and how you can best express it. At first, get a journal and write down your thoughts and feelings as best you can. You can then read it when your emotions have changed and you are feeling calmer, and this will help you to figure out your feelings and emotions. Writing down your thoughts is a great way to express yourself when you don’t actually want to speak to anybody about it.
Talk to people you trust
If you feel comfortable with talking to the people you trust about your feelings, organize a time for coffee together and try to lay things out. This is particularly important if your feelings relate to a particular person, since the best relief is often being able to get it ‘out of your system’.
Ask yourself what you’re feeling
Many of us have a habit of suppressing our feelings, even when we don’t really mean to. Make yourself a note or put it in your diary, and once a week ask yourself what you’re feeling. You could even do this once a day if you find that it helps you. There is no limit to how often you can do it, and if it helps to write down your thoughts to keep track of it, you can keep a journal for as often as you like – once, twice, three times a day.
Create a mood board
You can put this up on your bedroom wall – one of the best ways to do this is to have a wooden notice board that you add things to throughout the day. When you wake up in the morning, write on a post-it note three things that you’re feeling right in that moment. When you come home in the evening, write down three things that you’re feeling and then compare them. Keep the notes up for a whole week so that you can see the different emotions that you have been waking up with and then going to bed with each day.
Write letters to yourself
If you’re feeling disappointed in your past self or you feel that things should have gone differently, write a letter to yourself. Tell yourself you’re sorry for any bad decisions that you made or anything that you put yourself through. This is a great way of getting rid of any bitterness towards yourself and also letting go of the past.
Write letters to other people
You can write letters to other people, whether these are people that you love, people that you don’t get along with or people who have made your life difficult along the way. You don’t have to send the letters or give them to the recipients – you can rip them up, burn them or do whatever you like with them once you’ve written the words down.
Put your feelings in a box before you go to sleep
Going to sleep feeling stressed, sad or anxious will not only mean that you get poor quality of sleep, but it can leave you feeling drained and make you even worse. Before you lie down and go to sleep for the night, put your emotions and feelings into a mental ‘box’ and leave them for the next day – everything can wait for now.