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Tough Stuff

Scared to share? 4 new ways to let it out

Emotions. Feelings. Whatever you care to call them. It’s just not healthy to keep them bottled up, especially and most importantly the negative ones. Although, frankly, it seems that everyone does. But, why? Well, it, unfortunately, still isn’t all that commonplace to vent your feelings or, say, take a day off just because you’re mentally and emotionally unprepared or drained. It seems that as a society we have yet to reach the point where we understand that keeping tabs on our emotional and mental health isn’t only important, but it’s necessary. And, scarily, many of us realize this fact, yet we still cannot seem to voice or even remotely show our emotions to anyone for fear that we may seem weak or receive unwanted reactions. 

So, what exactly is there to do when you absolutely need to express yourself, but you can’t quite will yourself to share your feelings with someone else? Maybe you need a method of expression that doesn’t involve directly talking about those feelings you have. Luckily, there are several healthy and positive methods of expressing yourself that don't actually involve talking, these are just a few that will have you feeling lighter and maybe just a little happier, too. 

1. Break out the drawing board.

Or the painting board. Or “whatever medium you care to use” board. It’s extremely beneficial to express your emotions through art. In this case, we’re referring to visual art, however creating music, poetry, etc. is equally as healthy. So, grab those Crayola pencils or watercolors you have somewhere in the void that is your desk drawer and go at it. Don’t focus on what your art *looks* like or turns into, just let your mind drift off. Eventually, wrap it up and take a look at what you’ve made. Maybe you’ve drawn a self-portrait. Maybe it’s just a series of lines and circles. Maybe it looks like something your two-year-old cousin would finger paint. It doesn’t matter. You’ve expressed yourself and that is what’s most important. This might be enough for you to feel better, but if you want to delve even deeper, take a look at the colors and shapes you’ve used. Colors in the red family can reflect love, however they can also reflect hatred. Just as jagged or pointy shapes can reflect danger, circular shaped can reflect safety. So, try your hand at some artistic expression and, who knows, maybe you’ll be the next Picasso. 

2. Sweat it out.

Exercise is not only healthy for your body, but it’s also healthy for your mind. It can *literally* take the weight off of your shoulders. You can use your anger to push through a tough run or you can walk for miles and just zone out. Gentle yoga to soothe your drained body and mind works too, as does dancing, so go ahead and dance away those emotions like no one's watching. There are countless ways to physically express yourself through exercise all you have to do is get out there do it.

3. Write, don’t talk.

Maybe you really need to express your feelings to someone or about something, but you know that talking won’t do the trick. Some people find it way easier to express themselves on paper rather than in person. So, try this out. Find a nice pen and paper, a start writing a letter. You don’t necessarily need to write a letter to anyone in particular, but you can if you want. Write anything and everything that comes to mind. It can be a positive letter, a negative letter or just a letter. Once you wrap it up, sign and date it. Deliver it to someone if you want. If not, you can keep it in your desk drawer and read it somewhere down the road, or you can rip it up, shred it, crumple it into a ball as soon as you're done writing. Do whatever you please with it. It’s your decree of emotions. No matter what, you’ve gotten those feelings out of your mind and you should feel a little mentally lighter than before. 

4. Step out of your mind.

This can be done in a few ways, but it essentially means to focus on something besides your feelings in order to escape them for awhile. While this shouldn’t necessarily be done with everything you feel, it can be good for when you just need to chill out without the burden of your thoughts for an hour or two. To achieve this, you can watch a new movie, particularly a positive one. Possibly a comedy or rom-com. You can listen to music or podcasts. Again, try and keep the theme upbeat and/or interesting. You can watch some YouTube vids, particularly vlogs, which let you in on someone else’s day. Try one these ideas out or even ask your friends what they do, and hopefully you’ll feel a little less burdened when you step back in. 

We all have our ways of expressing ourselves and these are just a few for those times when we're just not ready or willing to talk about our emotions. So, try them out and let us know what works for you.

What do you think–will these tips help ease your emotional woes?

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by Hayley Burns | 7/11/2016
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