The ability to put your feelings into words and to express your emotions is a crucial aspect in your life that will influence how you relate with others, be it at work, in social circles, or in any other setting. You are able to make others understand you and how you feel about certain issues without any contradiction. It is vital in romantic relationships, especially when it comes to seeking arrangement, where each party has some expectation when he or she is getting into the relationship. The parties look forward to having their needs fulfilled, whether they are financial, physical, lifestyle, emotional, or otherwise, so being able to express oneself is paramount.
The essence of this article is to explain the importance of putting your feelings into words and to give some tips on how you can improve this skill.
Studies on “affect labeling”
Affect labeling, which technically means putting feelings into words, is credited with helping to manage negative emotional incidents. It forms the foundation of talk-based therapy. It lessens the reaction of the amygdala (the part of the brain that reacts to anxiety) and other parts of the brain to adverse emotional images. In simple terms, identifying our emotions may assist in controlling them.
Expressing emotions has been observed to have the following health benefits:
- Better results among cancer patients, asthmatic persons, and those who have been through a harrowing event
- Long lives, as many of those who have lived to 100 years have the common trait of emotionally expressing themselves
Emotions are influenced by our culture
Despite our thinking that emotions are very personal, they are influenced by the culture we find ourselves in. One example of the cultural impact on emotions is the current day’s overemphasis on happiness, which has resulted in a selective consideration of our emotions, where we exhibit an outright bias for only positive ones.
Studies on the concept of emodiversity propose that stronger physical and mental health is directly related with experiencing various emotions, other than only being joyful or satisfied throughout the day. It supports letting yourself be sad, angry, irritable, bored, and frustrated. In sum, we should experience all the emotions that we are told to avoid.
The effect on relationships of putting emotions into words
As you may have realized, putting emotions into words is crucial in any relationship. A lack of the right words to express our emotions often force us to avoid discussing them with our partners. We thus lose an opportunity to build our intimacy using the conflict that arises from expressing our emotions.
Verbalizing our feelings and expressing emotions affect our personal happiness in the following ways:
- Ability to discover the source of our emotions, which is our thoughts, and learn how we can somehow control our emotions by monitoring how we think
- Ability to name emotions as they occur to help us to know ourselves well—our likes and dislikes
- Ability to get a sense of our emotions’ temporary nature, which can liberate us from a lot of suffering—more so if we often tend to let emotions control us
Tips on improving your ability to put feelings into words:
Your reading habit determines your wealth of vocabulary. Also, reading other people’s experiences can help you to reflect on the emotions you have felt, but could not name beforehand.
Do extensive research when you experience emotions that you don’t understand
You ought to familiarize yourself with new words for various emotions and therefore be able to identify them in your own situations. It will be better if you manage to translate more emotions from incomprehensible terms to clear ones.
Reflect on your emotions and discuss them with friends
Develop the habit of reflecting to get intimate with your emotions. If reflecting is hard for you, consider taking up activities like yoga, and get others to help you do it. Also, learn to analyze your feelings with trusted friends. This will help you to build confidence in communicating your feelings with others.