It is easy to feel isolated when you are struggling with a mental health issue or when battling addiction. You may fear that those around you can’t relate to what you are experiencing, that if you open up, you are exposing yourself to ridicule and judgment. Or maybe you are yearning to speak up, but you aren’t sure how. Some of the risks tied to these dilemmas are that you could be bottling everything up until that one day when you can no longer stay quiet, and in a moment of frustration, you end up saying something you regret. Or conversely, you find yourself beating yourself up for not speaking up when you wish you had.
The good news is, this is all completely normal, and you are not alone. And thankfully, there are a variety of actions that you can implement into your daily routine that will make expressing your emotions easier while also making you more confident when opening up.
Turn to Your Immediate Circle
The hardest part about opening up is starting the process. You may hold back for fear of being judged, or you might worry that your emotions will come across as unwarranted. But by opening up to someone you trust: a family member, a friend, co-worker, or companion, the odds are that this individual will want what is best for you. All judgments will likely be left at the door, as you find yourself talking to someone who demonstrated empathy while genuinely listening to you. Through the course of these conversations, you will come to see that your emotions are warranted. And over time, the more you open up with this dependable individual, the more comfortable and confident you will become. Your trust will evolve, and by the time you realize that the most challenging part of opening up was beginning the journey, you will have moved well beyond that part of the process.
At one time or another, you have likely experienced the feeling of having certain emotions so amplified that you could physically feel them within your body. Your shoulders tighten up, and your vision narrows. It is overwhelming if you are uncertain of how you can overcome this feeling but rest assured, a therapeutic hobby can help.
Begin by examining the type of person you are and the emotions that you are feeling. Based on what you enjoy, find a hobby and insert it into your routine. Whether it is daily or weekly, make a habit of doing it often.
Anger and angst can be debilitating, and they can feel like some of the most challenging emotions to escape from, but like anything, there is a way to break away. When finding yourself filled with this rage and don’t know what to do about it, it’s time to sweat. Like boxing or drumming, many activities allow you to take on whatever aggressions you have built up and expel them. And if those hard-hitting pastimes aren’t your style, going for a run or a swim can help you exhaust your emotions.
Surf Anxiety Away
Emotions Are All Over the Place
It is common to have any number of emotions bubble up over time. Most people’s feelings vary from day-to-day. If this is you, try to find any hobby that will allow you to have fun while your mind takes a vacation. Paint, write a short story, sit in a park and explore a new genre of book you have never read, or go for a bike ride. Aim for any activity that will let you and your brain recharge.
When these hobbies are allowed to consume you by forcing you to put your emotions aside, you will gain a new perspective on your feelings when you return to them. You may discover that your heightened emotions now feel more suppressed and are easier to control. Installing this little bit of joy into your life will give you something to look forward to while also making your emotions more manageable.
Make A Daily List
For this activity, you will need a piece of paper and a pen. It is so simple that you may catch yourself wondering if there is any point to it at all, but we assure you that you will reap the benefits over time.
Every morning when you wake up, pull out that piece of paper and pen and jot down ten things you are grateful to have in your life. This list does not need to be a well-thought-out thesis that you will present to a panel of professionals, but rather a simple scribbling that is just for you. This list can include everything from your dog to the food on your table to the friendships you have in your life. Whatever it is, mark it down. And do it every morning. Repeating this action will not only remind you of all the good that surrounds you but while seen early enough in the day, your list will begin helping you get your day started on the right foot.
Expressing emotions is a vulnerable action that is not easy for everyone. It can be challenging to open up and put yourself out there. Thankfully, there are several activities and strategies that you can take to make opening up more manageable and more comfortable. But sometimes you need more direct help, which is entirely normal; some guidance from a professional, or a gameplan of how to move forward.
If this sounds like you, and you are struggling with a mental health issue or addiction, and you find that expressing the emotions caused by these issues difficult, the professionals at Mission Harbor are here to help. Our teams come armed with an arsenal of tools to work closely, confidentially, and creatively with you to help you overcome your struggles.