Some people are more open than others, and that in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. However, it is crucial to acknowledge emotions and have healthy ways to interact with your feelings. Pushing your feelings down has consequences, and being honest about your feelings is crucial for mental health.
If you want to start opening up about how you feel or are interested in getting in touch with your emotions but aren’t sure how to do it, it can be a process.
The good news is that it’s possible for anyone to start addressing their feelings and needs when it comes to mental health – even if it’s not something they’re used to – to help you live the happiest, healthiest life possible where you’re able to get your needs met.
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Consequences of Pent-Up Emotions
First, let’s talk about some of the known consequences of pent-up emotions. These may include but are not limited to:
● Difficulty in interpersonal relationships. This may come from resentment, a lack of communication as a result of holding things inside, or something else.
● Prolonged stress. When we try to handle it all without opening up, expressing our needs, or even admitting our needs to ourselves, it can prevent healthy stress management and lead to burnout or overwhelm.
● Irritability. Holding in emotions can make you more prone to snapping or reacting with irritability.
● Headaches, GI distress, and other physical health implications.
Research indicates that keeping one’s emotions inside can actually make them stronger on top of having both negative mental and physical health implications. So, how can you start being honest about your feelings?
How to Be Honest About Your Feelings
The first and most important thing is that you yourself acknowledge your emotions. Here are some tips:
● Make a pointed effort to acknowledge your feelings without judgment. You may check in with yourself when you feel discomfort by asking, “How am I feeling right now?” and following up with, “What do I need?”
● Work on cultivating a positive, compassionate inner dialogue. The way that you talk to yourself is powerful. If you need support with this, a therapist can help.
● Remember that these two facts coexist: First, your emotions are valid simply because you feel them. You deserve to take up space and face the full spectrum of your emotions head-on. Second, feelings aren’t facts or actions.
Here’s an example of how these three tips can work together. Say that you’re upset over a friend canceling plans. You notice, “I’m feeling down, worthless, and like a second choice.” You can then say to yourself, “feeling worthless or like a second choice doesn’t make it true; I am valuable inherently, and I am a good friend.”
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Talking About How You Feel With Others
Being honest about your emotions does not mean being cruel. There are times when you will need to talk about something that hurt you with a loved one, and that can cause a lot of worry or distress. Here are some tips for navigating these situations:
● If you’re talking to a partner, spouse, friend, or another loved one about something they did that upset you, use “I” statements.
● Approach them during a calm time, and don’t be afraid to set boundaries when needed.
If you find that you’re struggling on a regular basis, it can be incredibly advantageous to reach out to a mental health professional such as a counselor or therapist. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be going through a crisis to see a therapist, and in fact, therapy is not crisis or emergency support.
Anyone can benefit from seeing a therapist. Therapy can help you better express your feelings and communicate with the people in your life when you need to. It can also help you cultivate a more positive internal dialogue and find ways to support yourself when you’re struggling.
Online therapy is an excellent way to get the support that you need from the privacy of your own home. Whether you simply need someone to talk to or want to address a specific matter such as interpersonal relationships, a mental health condition, life stressors, or something else, a therapist can help.
When you use a platform like MyTherapist, it’s easy to sign up and get started. When you start the sign-up process, you will take a short questionnaire that’ll help you match with a provider who meets your needs.
You can change providers or cancel services at any point in time, and it’s often more affordable than traditional in-person counseling or therapy is in the absence of insurance.
Whether you see someone online or in your local area, you deserve to find support and have a safe space to open up, so don’t hesitate to reach out.