How to express your feelings in a healthy way

How to express your feelings in a healthy way

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Last Updated: July 23, 2020 References Approved

This article was co-authored by Liana Georgoulis, PsyD. Dr. Liana Georgoulis is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with over 10 years of experience, and is now the Clinical Director at Coast Psychological Services in Los Angeles, California. She received her Doctor of Psychology from Pepperdine University in 2009. Her practice provides cognitive behavioral therapy and other evidence-based therapies for adolescents, adults, and couples.

There are 27 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status.

This article has been viewed 401,291 times.

Over the course of life, it is inevitable that we will feel intense and unpleasant emotions from time to time. Our loved ones will pass away, our friends and families will disappoint us, and the challenges of life will make us angry and frustrated. When those painful emotions arise, it’s important that we know how to deal with them in order to maintain our mental health and stay emotionally balanced. The following steps should help those who want to express their feelings in a more effective way.

How to express your feelings in a healthy way

Liana Georgoulis, PsyD
Licensed Clinical Psychologist Expert Interview. 6 September 2018.

  • Ask friends or family for counselor recommendations. While you may be hesitant to disclose to others that you are seeking therapy, you could find a valuable resource. You may even be able to have a great discussion about the process of going to counseling with someone whose opinion you value.
  • Search for a therapist in your area. Depending on where you live, you might have numerous options for a counselor, or you might have very few. In either case, you go find a directory of counselors in your area by visiting the website for the National Board for Certified Counselors. [2] X Research source If you’d rather find a counselor based on a personal recommendation, ask your doctor for a referral.

How to express your feelings in a healthy way

Liana Georgoulis, PsyD
Licensed Clinical Psychologist Expert Interview. 6 September 2018.

  • Be aware of feelings of resistance while talking to your counselor. Inevitably, there will be times when you’ll feel misunderstood or as if your therapist doesn’t understand why you feel so strongly about certain things. Remember that your therapist can see the situation more clearly than you can.

Ever felt anger take over every inch of your body? Well, it happens to all of us once in a while, but if you end up hurting others with your words, then there’s a serious problem. No, we aren’t saying that you shouldn’t release your anger, because people who suppress their anger are often seen indulging in self-harm.

Then what’s the right way to channelise your anger? Well, don’t fret ladies because Dr Santosh Bangar, senior consultant psychiatrist at Global Hospital will reveal how you can express your anger the healthy way.

Here are nine ways to manage your anger effectively:
1. Walk away

This might sound a little rude, but it will be better than saying things you didn’t intend to. It is one of the simplest things you can do to handle the situation. Just go for a walk outside to calm yourself down.

2. Take deep breaths

“Deep breathing has a very good impact when it comes to calming your nerves. It improves the oxygen supply in your body, and regulates your heart rate and blood pressure,” says Dr Bangar.

Deep yogic breathing, amongst other things, can help. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Move your body

“Vigorous exercising not just diverts your attention but it can also release pent-up emotions by releasing the ‘feel-good’ chemical, endorphin. Plus, you can release your aggression while exercising. You can also use a punching bag to release your anger and feel light,” he shares.

4. Write a journal

Sounds difficult? Even if it does, it really works. Writing down your feelings either on a piece of paper, or an email to yourself can do wonders. Also, reflecting the trigger for your anger can be a step forward.

5. Indulge in meditation or yoga

“We all know that meditation and yoga has a therapeutic effect on our minds. Deep breathing is one way of meditating. Also, if you develop the habit of meditating or doing yoga on a regular basis, then it can really prove helpful to keep you calm”, suggests Dr Bangar.

6. Avoid alcohol when you are angry

Alcohol overpowers your emotions, making it difficult for a person to make rational decisions. It makes you more aggressive, and there is a possibility that you might get offended at the smallest of things.

7. Box your anger

“There are various ways to release your anger like hitting a pillow, scrunching a paper, hitting a punching bag, or squeezing a ball, and they actually work,” he suggests.

8. Releasing anger through creative means

Drawing, painting, or colouring can have a calming effect on the mind and can totally help you release anger effectively.

9. Get proper sleep

“A tired mind after a sleepless night can lower the anger threshold, so make restful sleep of 7-8 hours a priority,” recommends Dr Bangar.

The last word

You also need to look out for triggers. If there are some common set of triggers that aggravate your anger, then make sure to avoid them.

Also, these are some generic tips that might or might not work. In case they don’t, then make sure to seek professional help before the situation gets out of hand.

Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.

How to express your feelings in a healthy wayPeople often tell me that they have problems maintaining calm and respectful communication with their partner even though they intended to. They start out fine, but can’t follow through when their partner responds in disrespectful or angry ways. Some of these couples need the presence of an experienced couples therapist to be able to maintain calm and repair disruptions.

This article offers a communication model that outlines how to practice maintaining communication regarding how you feel in an honest and open way while keeping your calm. This is not about feeling good or even comfortable. This is about practicing staying calm even though you feel hurt and angry.

The rationale for this is having a fuller understanding of each other’s perspectives. Feeling angry doesn’t necessarily mean that you are bound to break up. It means that there is something you need to take care of.

If you manage to find solutions together, you will feel closer, safer, and understood on a deeper level. Imagine explaining to your partner that you are hurt and angry in a calm way. Also, imagine that your partner is able to hear you and respond in a loving way.

Because it is easier to express positive feelings and talk about what’s right in your relationship, I will recommend that you start with five positive statements about yourself, your partner, and your relationship. Build from the following, if you like:

  1. What do you love about your partner?
  2. What do you love about the relationship?
  3. What is most important to you?
  4. Give a concrete example of what makes you feel loved.
  5. Give a concrete example of what you look forward to.

Expressing your love, appreciation, and willingness to stay connected and find solutions together is essential for your partner’s willingness to hear you out and consider your requests and proposed solutions to problems you are having.

Find a Therapist

Try to make it easier for your partner to listen to you and refrain from interrupting you and subsequently defending herself/himself. Try to make your statements more about yourself than about your partner. This is probably one of the hardest things to do. Self-expression is about defining yourself and what is most important to you, which is not easy when you are feeling upset and hurt.

It is natural in a relationship to feel at times that the other person is to blame. However, if you consider the matter, you will become aware that you have a responsibility for your own responses and reactions, and how you function as a partner has an influence on the relationship. Your feelings are your own, and to blame others for them is not conductive for your individual or relationship growth.

Before you start expressing feelings of anger and hurt, I recommend that you think about what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. Consider the following:

  1. What are your feelings? Do you feel angry, hurt, sad, scared, lonely, jealous, guilty, etc.?
  2. Give concrete examples such as, “I feel scared when you don’t call.”
  3. Focus more on what you feel, think, and want, not on your partner’s shortcomings. “I feel lonely and I miss what we used to do together.”
  4. Tell your partner why it is important to you that you honestly and openly express your feelings. Make sure you explain that self-expression goes both ways, and that it takes courage to talk about feeling vulnerable. Showing vulnerabilities is a sign of strength, and talking openly and honestly about how you feel is not a weakness.
  5. Be mindful of how you express yourself. Tone of voice, facial expressions, body language, and eye contact are more important than most people think. Most of what you actually communicate to your partner has to do with how you communicate.
  6. Be open and explicit about your intentions for having the conversation.
  7. Make sure you are not having this conversation to get back at your partner. If you are very angry, you might feel vengeful. If that is the case, calm yourself and consider what is most important to you and what kind of partner you would like to be.

Don’t expect immediate success. Self-expression is a skill which takes practice to master. Ask for professional help if you need to.

We all have emotions – both good and the bad. They control us physically and psychologically. Emotions can control how we behave, act and think. For some the mere act of feeling can be scary and downright devastating, so we start to think it’s easier to suppress how we feel, instead of learning to express our emotions in healthy and sensible ways.

The truth is that stuffing feelings is not helpful and can be extremely harmful. The goal is not to wipe out your emotions or to suppress them. The goal should be learning how to manage, process and convey them in healthy ways.

Communication is essential. Keeping your emotions bottled up will only lead to a meltdown later on. It can also lead to chronic diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and cholesterol.

Confronting whatever emotion, you may be feeling may be hard, but necessary to maintain your emotional and mental wellness and overall contentment and happiness in life.

In order to be able to move forward, you must find a safe outlet for your emotions where you can express how you feel without fear of judgment or criticism. How you express your emotions is the defining factor in whether you’ll be accepted or shunned by others.

Here are 5 ways to express emotions in a healthy way:

How to express your feelings in a healthy way

1. Cooldown.

Count to 10, breathe deeply, meditate – all these techniques are great ways to help you regain composure and get some perspective. Exercising is a great way to gain a fresh perspective. It also improves your mood by balancing out your hormones and clears your head, helping you think better.

2. Keep a journal.

Writing down thoughts and feelings is a great way to channel your anxiety. Studies show that those who keep a journal tend to have lower stress levels than those who don’t. Also, when you release all those pent-up emotions and put them down on paper, they have less of a hold over you. It also gives you bird’s eye view somewhat, into your life which can help you assimilate your emotions in a healthy way.

3. Understand your emotions.

Think about what’s really making you mad or scared. It could be another underlying emotion which you’ve been holding onto without realizing it, like loss or sorrow. Similarly, you could be feeling unhappy or stressed and you take it out on the first person or situation that rubs you the wrong way. More often than not, it’s usually someone close to you which could be hazardous to your personal relationships.

That’s not to say you should swallow your emotions and not let them out. If you’re sad, allow yourself to recognize it and go through the process of being sad. If you’re angry, take it out on a punching bag or scream into a pillow. Do the same thing with your other emotions, and soon you’ll have a pretty good understanding of your emotions and how you can manage them.

How to express your feelings in a healthy way

4. Empathize.

Have compassion and try looking at things from the other person’s point-of-view, instead of simply assuming the worst and just lashing out. This can truly open up doors of communication, and help you understand and respect the other person and why they behave or react the way they do.

5. Stay aware.

Self-care should be your number one priority, so you can learn emotional awareness. Being aware means you’re conscious about the types emotional and mental processes you’re experiencing. Becoming aware of your emotions early on means you can be in control of how you react to them, instead of the other way around.

Learning to feel and process feelings in healthy ways is well worth the effort and struggle it takes, your emotional health will thank you.

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How to express your feelings in a healthy way

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How to express your feelings in a healthy way

How to express your feelings in a healthy way

How to express your feelings in a healthy way

How to express your feelings in a healthy way

How to express your feelings in a healthy way
How to express your feelings in a healthy way
How to express your feelings in a healthy way
[testimonial_cat category=”Customers’ Testimonials” type=”carousel” num_fetch=”20″ title=”Customers’ Testimonials” ] How to express your feelings in a healthy way

Research shows that how we process our emotions matters.

How you process and express your emotions can reduce or increase anxiety, according to researchers at the University of Illinois. Their study found that those who suppress their feelings or avoid expressing their feelings had more social anxiety and more anxiety in general than those who reappraised situations and focused on the positive. Another similar study found that suppressing emotions increased stress and led to other physical illnesses such as hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

How to express your feelings in a healthy way

Many people have trouble positively expressing their emotions. Some believe they only have two options: to blurt out their feelings and confront someone who they believe made them upset, or repress the feelings. But there are many ways of expressing your emotions. The three below are supported by research:

1. Journaling

Journaling is the act of writing down your thoughts and feelings to understand them more clearly, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. It can reduce stress and help you manage your anxiety.

Your journal gives you a private way of expressing your emotions. You can write down how you feel and what may have triggered your anxiety to allow you to understand stressors better and come up with a plan of either resolving the situation or coping with it more positively. Journaling will enable you to track anxiety symptoms to manage them better.

There isn’t any right or wrong way to write in a journal. However, the University of Rochester Medical Center does suggest to:

  • Write in your journal every day.
  • Write whatever feels right. Don’t worry about spelling or what other people might think.
  • Keep paper and pen handy so that you can write often.

Keep it private if you want; share parts if you want. Remember, you make the decisions; this is your personal, safe space to express how you feel.

2. Practice gratitude

Being grateful helps reduce stress and physical disease, according to a study completed in 2015. Paul J. Mills, the lead author, found that “more gratitude was associated with better mood, better sleep, less fatigue, and lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers related to cardiac health.”

There are many ways you can work to include gratitude in your daily life, for example:

  • Write down three reasons you are grateful each day to help you focus on the positive in your life. Some people prefer to set aside a few minutes each day to reflect on what they appreciate in their life.
  • Find a gratitude buddy. This is someone you can share a positive thing with each day to help keep you motivated; for example, your friend might text and ask what you are grateful for today.
  • Use gratitude rituals. You might say (and mean) grace before meals or say a prayer of thanks each morning when you wake up or at night before you go to bed.
  • Tell someone you are grateful for their friendship, support, encouragement, or for something specific. Take the time to thank someone in person or write a letter expressing your appreciation.

Many people that begin practicing gratitude find it makes a tremendous difference in their life almost immediately. They find they are happier, more content, and less anxious.

3. Talk to someone

Whether you talk with a friend, relative, or therapist, openly discussing your feelings can help you put them in perspective. When you experience intense or negative emotions, talking it out often deflates them. Letting it out can diffuse the negativity and allow you to process the situation from a calmer perspective.

Talking also helps you identify your emotion. When you are stressed, it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint whether you are angry or worried, irritable or anxious. Sometimes you wonder if you are justified for feeling a certain way or if your emotion’s intensity matches the situation. Discussing a problem can help you sort out your feelings. Talking helps to gain insight into your life and learn about yourself.

If you don’t have a relationship where you feel safe to talk about your emotions, consider speaking with a therapist or counselor. You can find a professional near you by using the Psychology Today Therapy Directory.

Are you tired of letting the world dictate what you should or shouldn’t do?

In ‘The Responsible Self’, Robert Baird says that learning how to express yourself in a productive way is essential to living an authentic, confident and healthy life.

Often we keep our emotions to ourselves because we are fearful of the potential backlash our words or actions might create. But the key is to express yourself in a way that produces a positive result both internally as well as externally.

Below are 4 tips to effectively express yourself to improve your mental health, as well as help people around you, understand your point of view.

1. Acknowledge your emotions

It is common to suppress your emotions because you are ashamed and embarrassed for having them. For example, you make a plan with your friend to meet up but she forgets to show up. In this situation, it is okay to feel sad or angry. Getting closer to your emotions in this way will help you get in better touch with your feelings and therefore reduce anxiety and depression in your life. This is vital to improving your mental health state.

2. Write about your feelings

Writing about your emotions in a journal or notebook can be a great way of connecting with yourself. It also helps validate your feelings which is important as you will understand your likes and dislikes through this process.

3. Verbalize your feelings in a productive way

It is important to figure out how to translate your emotions from a raw, unedited state into something productive that won’t hurt you or others around you. For example, instead of screaming at someone and telling them you hate them, use the journal to figure out different ways of expressing that in a way that it will be productive for your relationship with that person.

Expressing your emotions in a productive way is tough and requires practice. If you can implement this in your own life, you will see a significant improvement in how others around you engage with you as well as the peace of mind it can generate for you.

4. Express yourself creatively

Writing, dancing, music, and fashion are fantastic outlets to express inner emotions and make you happy. For example, if you’re feeling sad, you might choose a dull outfit, or if you’re feeling happy, you might choose to wear bright colours to portray that feeling. It can be a great way to connect to yourself and others on your emotional state.

In the same way, accessories can be a great way to reflect your emotions as well as who you are as a person which is vital to being your most authentic self. Being authentic in your life is essential to your mental health and happiness.

Utilize these tips and feel free to use the comment section to talk about any feelings, emotions or thoughts you may have. Your #MAFAM is here for you.

How to express your feelings in a healthy way

When we hear the question, “How are you?” our instinctive response is, “I’m fine” — in spite of the fact that we may not be fine at all. Our society’s custom and practice is to mask how we’re really feeling and respond with the standard, glib answer.

But what if you went against expectations and expressed what you were really feeling? What if you were forthright about your emotions and didn’t hide them? Well, people would be surprised. But we all know that being honest and authentic about how we feel creates powerful personal connections.

As a matter of fact, showing your vulnerability is one of the surest ways to establish deeper, more intimate relationships. Never think that exhibiting vulnerability shows weakness. It takes strength and fortitude to do it and the payoff in terms of better, instant rapport and deeper relationships is definitely there.

So, the next time you’re asked, “How are you?” think twice before you mindlessly respond, “I’m fine.” Instead, think about revealing part of your interior by expressing how you really feel. After all, honesty is the best policy. The challenge isn’t in expressing your positive emotions and the positive feelings associated with them. It’s in your negative emotions and the resulting negative feelings, which require more in-depth thought and practice. Expressing these emotions will create a respectful emotional awareness on both sides. You will demonstrate that you are aware of your emotions and have the courage to be genuine in voicing them.

Strong emotions have a lasting tail. Especially when an emotion is negative, once an outside stimuli or event acts as a trigger, the event and its presence in your conscious and unconscious mind is sometimes with you forever. However, by being fully aware of the process by which this happens, you can finally address those old issues and minimize their lasting effect. You do this by creating a new reality for yourself, readjusting your limiting beliefs and taking action from a place of positive feelings, not negative ones.

So where can you start?

After identifying your feelings and understanding which emotion initiated those feelings, you can use “traffic lights” in order to be less reactive and more proactive. It works like this:

1. Red light: Identify any current negative feeling that you are experiencing in a specific situation.

2. Yellow light: Identify the specific event that provoked that feeling, and dissolve the negative feeling by:

• Naming the main judgmental thought that created this feeling and labeling it.

• Coming up with a few alternative neutral and positive meanings for your main judgmental thought. By doing this, you will assign new, reframed meanings to the event.

• Choosing the most attractive alternative meaning you came up with in the step above.

• Labeling the alternative positive feeling that has been consciously chosen in the step above.

3. Green light: Feel the alternative, positive feeling in your body.

Doing this exercise will allow you to express yourself positively by communicating responsibly and taking proactive actions that will make you proud of who you are becoming, increasing your optimism and enhancing your interpersonal relationships.

There are three main pillars of self-expression, each of which is important in allowing you to authentically express yourself. They are:

Emotional self-expression involves expressing your feelings verbally and non-verbally.

It is important to be authentic and express your feelings constructively. Doing this builds fulfilling communications. Openly sharing your thoughts and feelings goes a long way toward building relationships based on trust and respect. Our total means of communication are said to be comprised of three different components:

1. Body language: 55%

2. Tone of voice: 38%

Based on these percentages, it’s easy to see that by not being aware of them, you can have unintended impacts on others and neglect to fulfill your communication goals.

As pointed out by Pearl S. Buck, “Self-expression must pass into communication for its fulfillment.” If you express your feelings incongruently, (e.g., your body language, tone of voice and words don’t all match), you will come across as an inauthentic individual. This incongruent behavior will impact both trust and respect in your relationships.

Assertiveness is a direct consequence of confidence.

In its highest form, assertiveness represents your ability to communicate with others in a respectful manner by genuinely expressing your specific feelings and thoughts, and naming your beliefs and rights, all without being aggressive or abusive.

Assertiveness starts with:

1. Clearly recognizing the kind of feeling you are experiencing.

2. Directly expressing those feelings constructively and respectfully by being aware of all three communication components.

3. Standing firm for your beliefs and rights.

4. Empathetically understanding opposite points of view.

Assertiveness helps you express feelings, beliefs and thoughts in a positive, non-destructive way. It’s the middle ground between passive and aggressive. As you practice finding the middle ground, you uncover compromises that create a win-win. Of course, it takes courage to express your real points of view instead of complaining to yourself and sounding like a looping tape of practiced responses and ill-thought-out answers.

Independence is the ability to live and act free from undue control, influence, support or the like.

Independence is grounded in self-confidence and your intuition. Being self-directed and self-controlled in your thinking and actions allows you to be free of emotional dependency. It allows you to be decisive and take risks by tapping into your intuition and self-confidence.

Remember the words of Abraham Lincoln: “It often requires more courage to dare to do right than to fear to do wrong.” When you practice independence, you let go of your fear of failure and focus on trusting and believing in yourself.

Are you tired of letting the world dictate what you should or shouldn’t do?

In ‘The Responsible Self’, Robert Baird says that learning how to express yourself in a productive way is essential to living an authentic, confident and healthy life.

Often we keep our emotions to ourselves because we are fearful of the potential backlash our words or actions might create. But the key is to express yourself in a way that produces a positive result both internally as well as externally.

Below are 4 tips to effectively express yourself to improve your mental health, as well as help people around you, understand your point of view.

1. Acknowledge your emotions

It is common to suppress your emotions because you are ashamed and embarrassed for having them. For example, you make a plan with your friend to meet up but she forgets to show up. In this situation, it is okay to feel sad or angry. Getting closer to your emotions in this way will help you get in better touch with your feelings and therefore reduce anxiety and depression in your life. This is vital to improving your mental health state.

2. Write about your feelings

Writing about your emotions in a journal or notebook can be a great way of connecting with yourself. It also helps validate your feelings which is important as you will understand your likes and dislikes through this process.

3. Verbalize your feelings in a productive way

It is important to figure out how to translate your emotions from a raw, unedited state into something productive that won’t hurt you or others around you. For example, instead of screaming at someone and telling them you hate them, use the journal to figure out different ways of expressing that in a way that it will be productive for your relationship with that person.

Expressing your emotions in a productive way is tough and requires practice. If you can implement this in your own life, you will see a significant improvement in how others around you engage with you as well as the peace of mind it can generate for you.

4. Express yourself creatively

Writing, dancing, music, and fashion are fantastic outlets to express inner emotions and make you happy. For example, if you’re feeling sad, you might choose a dull outfit, or if you’re feeling happy, you might choose to wear bright colours to portray that feeling. It can be a great way to connect to yourself and others on your emotional state.

In the same way, accessories can be a great way to reflect your emotions as well as who you are as a person which is vital to being your most authentic self. Being authentic in your life is essential to your mental health and happiness.

Utilize these tips and feel free to use the comment section to talk about any feelings, emotions or thoughts you may have. Your #MAFAM is here for you.