Feelings usually don't make sense until you take a moment to untangle them. And while talking helps - sometimes it's too confusing or scary as the first step. If so, it’s important to find other ways to express yourself and avoid unhelpful outbursts or remaining silent indefinitely. Writing is one such way - here’s how.
1. Know the difference between an emotion/feeling and a thought. Emotions and feelings are physical sensations in your body. Thoughts happen in your head (we use them to explain our feelings). Often this happens unconsciously because we aren’t able to process the events we are experiencing.
2. Know that feelings get stuck in your body if they aren’t expressed. This can be a big issue. Why? Because if the thought (meaning) you create to avoid the feeling is distorted (that person treated me badly - I must deserve to be treated badly). It becomes the default response to events that feel similar.
3. Try to notice and name your feelings.
Finding the words to describe feelings is hard - the emotional vocabulary map below should help (to print/download just click on it). Pause and try to name what you’re feeling and what thoughts connect to them. Try phrases like "I feel...... because.... Or......happened earlier and I felt….. and now I sense......". It could be remembering a past feeling or something in the moment.
4. Start badly - accepting there isn’t a ‘right’ way
Feelings usually don't make sense until you untangle them. Expressing them is a natural process that enables you to do so. Writing a poem or short story is another great way to start, Written Road shows how a previous client used poetic writing to support a successful therapeutic process. For more information and examples see Writing Therapy or Poetry Therapy
Ultimately, the more you express your feelings the better you’ll get to know yourself - and the easier navigating life will become. You might feel a bit emotional at first, but this should pass. If it doesn’t, pasuse and talk to a friend, family member or get in touch with a professional for support.