Updated: Jan 28, 2020
In this post we talk about spending time offline, feelings, 5 reasons why it's important to express ourselves + emotional intelligence. A simple journaling exercise is included for you to use at your disposal 💌
If you follow the handle with care Instragram, you will have seen last week’s post: offline.
Handle with Care is officially 10 weeks old. After coming to you every Mo[o]nday with some self care nuggets, reminders + empowering practices, we paused, took a breath, and went offline.
Why?Well, self care obviously!
Stepping away from social media on a regular basis is a healthy practise for everyone. This is especially important during times of transition, personal growth, heightened anxiety, or overwhelming emotions –
but even if it’s something you do as little as once a month, you’ll be sure gain some valuable headspace!
Equally, the content you expose yourself to online is imperative. What you see while you scroll affects more than just your mood; our subconscious absorbs visual messages beyond our control, and this will ultimately impact on the conversation we have with ourselves on the reg. So, a wander through an inspiring, insightful + friendly Newsfeed is more promising to enrich your inner-world, rather than one packed with unrealistic ideals, low vibes + triggering content.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a funny cat video as much as the rest of you – the idea is to be mindful of what you’re exposing yourself, why, and for how long. Think of the content you explore online as little bites of soul food. You wouldn’t eat cake and ice cream every day, but you have it every now and again, right?
For some easy tips and tricks on decluttering your digital life, read How to KonMari your Social Media – and spark joy online!
Enough of that, let’s talk about the F word. *Gulp!*
For some, even the very mention of the word ‘feelings’ is enough to make you wanna run a mile and barf up last night’s dinner. For others, they have diaries, twitter accounts and video-streams to word-vomit with on the daily. Like most things, sitting at either end of the feelings-express won’t take you very far. You want a seat in the middle, because once again, it’s all about balance – shocker.
it’s all about balance
According to Psychology Today – ‘Being in touch with your feelings will make you a better person as well as a better parent and partner. Being true to your emotions can’t help but make you feel better about yourself, for you’re able to be authentic.’
If you’re reading this, chances are you already know it’s important to talk about your feelings, but something about the title made you want to know more or be reminded why. Or, perhaps you’ve found this post in search of improving your mental health. Either way, everyone struggles with expressing how they feel at times in life, know that you are not alone, and know that talking helps.
5 reasons why we need to express how we feel
1. Your Authentic-Self
When we decide to bury our feelings, we act differently. We may cut ourselves off from people, withdraw from healthy relationships, or simply become detached when we do spend time with others – we lose our presence. Similarly, we can react in inappropriate or offensive ways because we are letting our emotions control our responses. Whereas, when we take the action to express how we truly feel (in an appropriate manner), you feel lighter - truths are found, false suspicions are squashed, problems get solved, relationship issues improve, and life is easier.
When we decide to bury our feelings, we act differently.
Advise from a Spoken Word Artist: By being true to yourself, you are not letting your negative-self-natter control you. You are expressing how you feel to stop the over-thinking trip before it goes too far. When we talk about how we feel, we enjoy life more, because we are keeping our emotional body a supportive + buoyant space to reside in.
When we talk about how we feel, we enjoy life more
2. Healthy Relationships
No matter how you feel — happy, sad, delighted, fearful, anxious, angry — it's healthy to put your feelings into words. Talking about feelings helps us feel close to people who care. In the same vein, it helps us to feel better and improve our state of mind when we are feeling fewer positive emotions.
It helps us feel close to people who care
The thought of crying can be scary. Many people are fear expressing how they feel in case they upset others, are judged, or seem vulnerable. A big worry can be crying uncontrollably in the presence of another, or causing them to do the same.
But this common misconception needs to be released – as depressing thoughts can distort your thinking, it makes it hard to perceive the world correctly during difficult times.
In truth, sharing how you feel and allowing your body to release this pain through tears, you are draining out your emotional body of what hurts + freeing space for positive thoughts and feelings. You are letting go, to receive the good. Expressing your emotional pain helps make it stop.
Cry – and save yourself from drowning
For developing deep + intimate relationships, it is extremely important to open up + allow people to see inside you, to see the real you. Being open, honest and true to yourself + talking about how you feel will become natural – and it will help you on so many levels. When you open your mouth, you are also opening your heart. Knowing that someone truly hears what you’re going through gives comfort right to your very core.
When you open your mouth, you are also opening your heart
Putting feelings into words encourages us to practise self-control. That is, rather than losing control of the mind, turning to over-thinking and distorting your mental outlook, you can express in simple statements how you feel.
Naturally, the greater you develop your emotional intelligence, the easier it becomes to comprehend and elaborate on how you feel. Part of this is the ability to acknowledge your uniquely personal deposition and piece together the why, how and when regarding troublesome feelings. Why you feel this way, how these feelings matured and when they were triggered.
Equally, when we talk about how we feel, we exercise self-control from harmful methods of managing emotions. It’s known that suppressing emotions or expressing them in damaging ways (such as yelling, passive aggressive communications, or online dumping), can lead to the development of harmful habits. This can be detrimental to both your life and those close to you. The use of physical violence, self-harm or numbing agents like drugs and alcohol are not effective ways of dealing with negative feelings.
4. Life makes more Sense
It’s easy to focus more on what upsets us rather than what makes us happy. When you take time to tell someone who has made your life happier, made your day, or even just made you smile! - you improve both your mood and theirs. Spending equal amounts of energy expressing your positive and negative feelings to the best of your ability will help you create an emotional balance, and your life will start to make more sense.
5. A Greater Perspective
Humans naturally yearn for genuine interactions and real friendships. We are programmed to establish and develop relationships of many kinds. When we share our feelings, we connect with people on a deeper level. When a safe space is shared between people, this connection allows us to unfold some of our complex views and see things from a different perspective.
Laying our emotional frame of mind on the table creates a distance for you to witness your feelings with less attachment and see them through the eyes of another. It’s not a secret that the longer you keep things bottled up, the more overwhelmed and stressed you become; emotions can bubble to the surface with the littlest rattle.
The more emotional upset that is released from your mind, the lighter and more peaceful your head-space becomes. Sharing your inner thoughts helps you understand yourself better. In this way, we develop our emotional intelligence.
The capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.
‘emotional intelligence is the key to both personal and professional success’
Sidenote: Naturally, we will sometimes we decide to hold back speaking our truth because of a delicate situation. Usually this is when other people or children are involved. Always check in with yourself before you share: are your words coming from a true place or an aggressive one? Are you speaking in a tone that isn't offensive? The purpose of expressing emotions to be authentic + convey your true feelings, not to embarrass or blast at another human being. Remember, talking about your feelings does not make you weak, it makes you strong.
A Final Babble
Obviously, you don’t need a blog post to tell you that talking about your feelings becomes easier if you know how you feel and why. But inevitably, at certain points during life we get hit with that lump-in-the-throat, anxiety-in-the-belly and stress-in-the-chest feeling with no clear understanding of why.
We are imperiously complex beings, and human emotions play a massive role in this. We are not born with an embedded emotional intelligence that will filter throughout our lives, because it is our unique life experiences and traumas that develop our unique emotional body. While you can improve your emotional intelligence skills overtime, your emotional body will too, develop and change.
Put simply, there’s no crash course in understanding your emotions – but if there was, lesson one would be: let them out. If you are ever struggling to come to terms with how you feel, try this simple journaling exercise:
'Journals are like a checkpoint between your emotions and the world' - Beth Jacobs
Step 1. Choose a format that works best for you, whether a classic journal, a cheap notebook, or the notes in your phone.
Step 2. Decide ahead of time when and where you will write, and what environment will work best for you. Perhaps a corner seat in a cosy café, or in a quiet room alone during the evening.
Step 3. Write down what makes you want to write in the first place – this could be the first entry of many.
Step 4. W.R.I.T.E.
W - What do you want to write about? Name it.
R - Review or reflect on it. close your eyes, breath deep + focus.
I - Investigate your thoughts and feelings. Just start writing and keep writing.
T - Time yourself. Set a stopwatch and be true to the time you’ve set aside, keeping writing until that 5, 10 or 20 minutes are up!
E - Exit ‘smart’ by reading over what you’ve written and reflecting on it with one or two sentences.
Finally, Remember: It’s okay to write only a few words, and it’s okay to write several pages – just write what comes naturally. Don’t worry about what to write, how you sound, spelling, grammar – or anything like that! Write what makes sense to you - Write as if no one else will read it, because no one else needs to – this is just for you
Some of my favourite journaling exercises are; writing a letter to myself, free-writing (word vomiting on to a page!) and of course, writing poetry. You might think as a spoken word artist, I’m use to expressing my emotions + bearing my soul, but in honesty, talking about feelings is always an extreme emotional roller-coaster. But the more I express myself, the stronger I become. It’s helped me heal, see things clearer, stay mindful, patient, and keeps me growing, glowing + pure.
If you take anything away from this post, let it be an awareness of your current emotional body, and how to communicate through that. Be open to express how feel throughout this coming week, and always, always
- Handle with Care