Part of that is expressing emotions, be it through writing, body language, or talking with other people, and researchers are finding that unlatching the cage and letting those emotional birds fly free could have some real health benefits. And in a study of people who lived to be years old, emotional expression was found to be a common trait, along with a positive attitude towards life, among the long-lived. So expressing emotions, on the whole, seems to be good for you. And the solution is not necessarily to just pop the top off that champagne bottle of emotions and watch them spray all over the place. Emotional intelligence is a skill, and some people are better at recognizing and communicating emotions than others. Among the Big Five personality traits—openness, extroversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and neuroticism—several studies have found that people high in extroversion tend to have higher emotional expressiveness, while people high in neuroticism tend to be less expressive. I spoke with the psychologist David Caruso, who is a co-founder of the Emotional Intelligence Skills Group not the actor with the sunglasses from CSI: Miami , and who trains organizations and schools on emotional intelligence, about overcoming personal and cultural barriers to expressing emotions. Julie Beck: What are the benefits of being good at expressing your own emotions? David Caruso: So we like to say that emotions are data, and emotions communicate meaning and intent. So since emotions are a form of data or information, it's important to accurately convey those to people and in a way that they will also accurately perceive.
1. People who can’t express their feelings may be very sensitive.
Letting It Out in Real Time
We all have big, big feelings. And we are taught, sometimes inadvertently, to find ways to cope with those feelings alone, or to express them in unhealthy ways or to not express them at all. Then, one day, you find yourself in a lovely relationship and you realize that you MUST express your feelings. It happens slowly, over time. My clients and I usually unpack this slow journey during therapy, to find out what happened. But today I want to tell you about what comes next. I want to tell you about how to identify and express your feelings to your partner. All feelings are ok. All feelings are legitimate, and they occur for a reason. They have an important message to deliver.
6 Tips for Opening Up
Bernard Golden, the founder of Anger Management Education and a practicing psychologist for nearly 40 years, is here to further explain the importance of doing so, whilst guiding you through the process of identifying the cause of your difficulties and taking necessary steps toward opening up. Golden says an important step in feeling more comfortable with your feelings and opening up about those feelings is identifying the cause of your difficulties. He explains these possibilities below:. Clarifying your feelings helps you connect with yourself, the values you have, and those you wish to live by. Similarly, stating your specific feelings increases the likelihood of being understood by others. You are not alone. Those who suggested it is weak may have been fearful of accessing their own feelings. So, yes, it may help to take a moment to pause before sharing all of your feelings.
Our feelings can be big, scary monsters. We often feel things very intensely, and our ability to inhibit ourselves is erratic. When powerful emotions take over, there is no thinking going on. Trying to hold it all in or stuffing the feelings back down does not work.