Talking About Your Feelings: Dos and Don'ts

Reviewed Mar 22, 2019

Close

E-mail Article

Complete form to e-mail article…

Required fields are denoted by an asterisk (*) adjacent to the label.

Separate multiple recipients with a comma

Close

Sign-Up For Newsletters

Complete this form to sign-up for newsletters…

Required fields are denoted by an asterisk (*) adjacent to the label.

 

Summary

Letting feelings “out” by talking about them with a trusted friend or counselor strengthens you, both physically and emotionally.

We may not be able to completely control our feelings. But we can learn to manage them. Talking about your feelings can help. But it should be done in a way that benefits you and others. It helps to avoid common mistakes when expressing your feelings, too.   

Why you should express your feelings

Talking about your feelings with a trusted friend or counselor is good for you. Keeping them in can cause depression and anxiety. It can also affect you physically, causing headaches, high blood pressure, and other ailments.

Some “dos” to consider

First, identify your feelings. Are you feeling sad or frustrated? Lonely or disappointed? Tune in to your mind and body. Come up with specific words that describe exactly how you feel. Write them down if it helps.

When you talk about your feelings, it also might help to:

  • Describe the degree of your feelings. Are you furious or mildly irritated?
  • Use “I” messages: “I feel _________ when __________.”
  • Take full responsibility for your feelings, rather than blame others. Other people’s behavior may bother you, but your response is up to you.
  • If possible, choose a “safe” audience. This is someone who is willing to listen without interrupting or judging.
  • Talk to a clergyman, counselor, or mental health professional if needed.  

A few “don’ts”

As helpful as it is to talk about your feelings, there are some cautions to consider.

  • Talking “at” or blaming the listener
  • Forcing an unwilling person to listen to you
  • Re-hashing an upsetting event over and over. Repeatedly talking about it might rekindle negative feelings that you had vented with the first telling
  • Confusing the listener with your body language, such as smiling when you are angry
  • Talking only about negative feelings
  • Expecting others to feel the same way you do
  • Demanding that others share their feelings with you  

The purpose of talking about a feeling is to “let it out” in a positive way so that it stops bothering you. Consider professional help if a particular feeling such as anxiety or depression doesn’t go away. 

By Laurie M. Stewart
Source: “Expressing Your Feelings Responsibly,” Nadig, Larry Alan PhD. “How to Express Difficult Feelings,” www.drnadig.com; “How to Talk About Feelings,” www.healthyplace.com; The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne, PhD. New Harbinger Publications Inc., 1995; Munro, Kali (2003) “We Need Our Feelings,” Resources for Healing, www.kalimunro.com/article_needing_feelings.html

Summary

Letting feelings “out” by talking about them with a trusted friend or counselor strengthens you, both physically and emotionally.

We may not be able to completely control our feelings. But we can learn to manage them. Talking about your feelings can help. But it should be done in a way that benefits you and others. It helps to avoid common mistakes when expressing your feelings, too.   

Why you should express your feelings

Talking about your feelings with a trusted friend or counselor is good for you. Keeping them in can cause depression and anxiety. It can also affect you physically, causing headaches, high blood pressure, and other ailments.

Some “dos” to consider

First, identify your feelings. Are you feeling sad or frustrated? Lonely or disappointed? Tune in to your mind and body. Come up with specific words that describe exactly how you feel. Write them down if it helps.

When you talk about your feelings, it also might help to:

  • Describe the degree of your feelings. Are you furious or mildly irritated?
  • Use “I” messages: “I feel _________ when __________.”
  • Take full responsibility for your feelings, rather than blame others. Other people’s behavior may bother you, but your response is up to you.
  • If possible, choose a “safe” audience. This is someone who is willing to listen without interrupting or judging.
  • Talk to a clergyman, counselor, or mental health professional if needed.  

A few “don’ts”

As helpful as it is to talk about your feelings, there are some cautions to consider.

  • Talking “at” or blaming the listener
  • Forcing an unwilling person to listen to you
  • Re-hashing an upsetting event over and over. Repeatedly talking about it might rekindle negative feelings that you had vented with the first telling
  • Confusing the listener with your body language, such as smiling when you are angry
  • Talking only about negative feelings
  • Expecting others to feel the same way you do
  • Demanding that others share their feelings with you  

The purpose of talking about a feeling is to “let it out” in a positive way so that it stops bothering you. Consider professional help if a particular feeling such as anxiety or depression doesn’t go away. 

By Laurie M. Stewart
Source: “Expressing Your Feelings Responsibly,” Nadig, Larry Alan PhD. “How to Express Difficult Feelings,” www.drnadig.com; “How to Talk About Feelings,” www.healthyplace.com; The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne, PhD. New Harbinger Publications Inc., 1995; Munro, Kali (2003) “We Need Our Feelings,” Resources for Healing, www.kalimunro.com/article_needing_feelings.html

Summary

Letting feelings “out” by talking about them with a trusted friend or counselor strengthens you, both physically and emotionally.

We may not be able to completely control our feelings. But we can learn to manage them. Talking about your feelings can help. But it should be done in a way that benefits you and others. It helps to avoid common mistakes when expressing your feelings, too.   

Why you should express your feelings

Talking about your feelings with a trusted friend or counselor is good for you. Keeping them in can cause depression and anxiety. It can also affect you physically, causing headaches, high blood pressure, and other ailments.

Some “dos” to consider

First, identify your feelings. Are you feeling sad or frustrated? Lonely or disappointed? Tune in to your mind and body. Come up with specific words that describe exactly how you feel. Write them down if it helps.

When you talk about your feelings, it also might help to:

  • Describe the degree of your feelings. Are you furious or mildly irritated?
  • Use “I” messages: “I feel _________ when __________.”
  • Take full responsibility for your feelings, rather than blame others. Other people’s behavior may bother you, but your response is up to you.
  • If possible, choose a “safe” audience. This is someone who is willing to listen without interrupting or judging.
  • Talk to a clergyman, counselor, or mental health professional if needed.  

A few “don’ts”

As helpful as it is to talk about your feelings, there are some cautions to consider.

  • Talking “at” or blaming the listener
  • Forcing an unwilling person to listen to you
  • Re-hashing an upsetting event over and over. Repeatedly talking about it might rekindle negative feelings that you had vented with the first telling
  • Confusing the listener with your body language, such as smiling when you are angry
  • Talking only about negative feelings
  • Expecting others to feel the same way you do
  • Demanding that others share their feelings with you  

The purpose of talking about a feeling is to “let it out” in a positive way so that it stops bothering you. Consider professional help if a particular feeling such as anxiety or depression doesn’t go away. 

By Laurie M. Stewart
Source: “Expressing Your Feelings Responsibly,” Nadig, Larry Alan PhD. “How to Express Difficult Feelings,” www.drnadig.com; “How to Talk About Feelings,” www.healthyplace.com; The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne, PhD. New Harbinger Publications Inc., 1995; Munro, Kali (2003) “We Need Our Feelings,” Resources for Healing, www.kalimunro.com/article_needing_feelings.html

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, assessments, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as behavioral health care or management advice. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have questions related to workplace issues, please contact your human resources department. ©2019 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

Close

  • Useful Tools

    Select a tool below

© 2019 Beacon Health Options, Inc.