A closer look at some ways you can express yourself
Expressing how you feel to release tension
Expressing yourself can help you keep in touch with how you are feeling. It can also help you release a lot of tension that you might be carrying around. Sometimes, when people lose touch with how they feel, their feelings burst out in situations or ways that are embarrassing or inappropriate.
Everyone needs some time alone to reflect on feelings. Being able to express how you feel might help you make better decisions about what is right for you now.
Ways of expressing yourself
Finding out the best way for you to express yourself can be rewarding. You might find that you enjoy expressing yourself in a particular way, like painting, playing a sport, singing, drumming or even yelling into a pillow. If you don’t know which way works best for you, try some of the following suggestions.
Write about how you feel. Writing can be a useful way to explore your feelings. Some people keep diaries or journals, while others just write down whatever comes into their head at a particular moment. You might want to write a story about what is happening in your life now or make up a story based on some past event in your life. Writing poetry works for some people, too.
Play a sport. Playing sports lets you express yourself in a physical way. There are plenty of opportunities to yell or curse or feel elated when things go well. Team sports allow you to express yourself with others and use your mental and physical energy. If you’re not much for team sports, you can still use physical activity as a way to express yourself. Try challenging yourself with a long bike ride or strenuous hike. Afterwards, you may feel a sense of accomplishment from pushing yourself, leaving you feeling more confident.
Create. Even if you don’t think of yourself as an artist, art is a useful way of expressing yourself. Even if you’re not particularly good at any of these, give it a try. You don’t have to be good at it to enjoy it.
Some forms of art you could try:
Drawing or sketching
Sculpting, clay or metal
Wood carving or woodworking
Building small projects (like a birdhouse or a shelf)
Cosplay (dressing up as your favorite characters)
Photography, film or digital
Sing, play music or shout. Singing along to your favorite songs or playing a musical instrument is another way of expressing yourself. Sing in the shower or in your car. If you play an instrument or sing regularly, you might want to start writing your own songs or music to express how you feel. It may also be fun to sing or play music with your friends.
Dance. Dance is a form of self-expression, but you don’t have to be a ballerina to do it. Put on some music at home or go out and dance as much as you like in whatever way you like. If you find you really enjoy dancing, you can try joining a local dance group or attend a dancing event or class. You can also follow along to choreographed moves you find online, like learning pop and lock, belly dance, hip-hop and other styles of dance.
Talk to someone. One of the simplest ways of expressing ourselves is through communication. Effective communication is learning how to express your thoughts and feelings in an appropriate way with another person and is an important life skill to have. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your thoughts with someone you’re close to in your personal life, a school counselor or other mental health professional may be able to help.
Whatever it is you decide to do, it should come naturally and be a source of pleasure for you. If you find yourself becoming frustrated with one of the above techniques, move on to another and see how that feels for you. For more ideas on coping with stress, check out our Developing Coping Strategies article.
Acknowledgements: This article was partially developed by youth and staff for us.ReachOut.com