Created by the Center for Spirituality & Healing and Charlson Meadows.

Expressing Emotions Exercise

Two women having a serious conversation.Many people are afraid to express strong emotions because they fear losing control or injuring someone else. The first step towards responsible expression of emotions is to own the emotion. This means acknowledging that the emotion is yours - not someone else's. You are the one feeling it.

This exercise can help you to own your emotions and learn how to express them in a safe and healthy way.

  • Begin by identifying what you are feeling right now, in this moment.
  • Practice saying what you are feeling out loud, using "I" language. For example:  I feel angry, I feel sad, I feel scared. Don't target your emotions at another person or make excuses for them ("You make me feel angry" or "I can't help feeling mad").
  • You may wish to begin by play-acting alone. After becoming more comfortable with expressing emotions, you could practice with someone with whom you have a safe, trusting relationship.
  • Eventually begin to practice in more challenging situations. You can also ask others for feedback. Initiate a dialogue with someone with whom you feel secure giving and receiving feedback. Remember not to blame the other person and to be open to hearing their experience.

More about thoughts and emotions

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