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How to Get Better at Expressing Your Feelings

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/11/how-to-get-better-at-expressing-emotions/416493/

theatlantic.com

How to Get Better at Expressing Your Feelings
Extroverts tend to be better at talking about their feelings, but practice and attention can help those without a natural gift for it.

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Emotional Intelligence and Emotional Expression

Emotional Intelligence and Emotional Expression
  • Daniel Goleman’s book about emotional intelligence (1995) promoted the idea that the ability to understand and employ emotional information is an important skill.
  • Part of that is expressing our emotions (through writing, body language, or talking with other people), and studies show that this process could have some real health benefits.
  • Research linked the repression of negative emotions to increased stress, and research suggests that writing about feelings is associated with better health outcomes for breast-cancer patients, people with asthma, and people who’ve experienced a traumatic event.

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Emotional Intelligence Is A Skill

  • Some of us are better at acknowledging and communicating emotions than others.
  • Among the Big Five personality traits (openness, extroversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and neuroticism) research shows that people high in extroversion tend to have higher emotional expressiveness, while people high in neuroticism tend to be less expressive.
  • The ability to communicate feelings can be built up through practice, and a big part of it is first acknowledging the emotions you’re having and recognizing what’s causing them.

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Emotions Are Data

  • Emotions communicate meaning and intent.
  • It’s crucial to know that the difference between being irritated with someone because they’re late for a meeting and being concerned because they’re late for a meeting and maybe something’s happened to them.
  • Since emotions are a form of information, it's important to know how to accurately transfer these nuances to people, in a way that they will also accurately perceive.

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The Trait Of Agreeableness

The Trait Of Agreeableness

People who are more extroverted will talk more.

And we like people who are emotionally expressive most of the time, especially if they are emotionally expressive around positive emotions. This is the trait of agreeableness.

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Being Ambivalent Over Emotional Expression

Being “ambivalent” in the context of emotional expression means either you want to express emotions but you aren't able to, or you expressed emotions and kind of wished you hadn’t.

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Expressing Emotions From A Cultural Point Of View

Organizations and even families have their own type of culture and the largest differences around emotions are called cultural-display rules.

All cultures recognize the basic emotions and they’re all expressed the same way, but those display rules, which are a function of our culture, tell us how do we show those emotions. How we express these is completely driven by those cultural-display rules. If you don't know those, you’re seen as an outlier. And maybe as lacking what people would call communication skills.

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The Overarching Sense Of “Be Positive!”

Great long-term interpersonal relationships (in terms of quality) are based on shared experience but also the ability to share how we are feeling at that time.

And if we are always expected to say positive stuff, we won't be able to reach that level of intimacy that we need in a really good relationship.

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Recognize Your Emotions: Pay Attention To The Physiological Signs

  • Acknowledge any signs of tension (in your jaw or eyes) and ask yourself, "Am I worried, am I anxious, am I angry?"
  • Next, ask yourself, “Where is it coming from?”

Knowing that will help you better manage your emotions and express your feelings in a way that will send a good accurate message.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Emotions are responses to information

Believe wrong information and you’ll experience wrong feelings.

For example, if you think something about a co-worker, don’t trust those feelings and don’t express t...

Feelings are...

  • Responders to perceived reality. They aren’t the reality.
  • Responses to our imagination.
  • Confirmation: Always confirm imagination and perception by investigating reality.
  • Admiration: People admire and respect leaders who control their feelings. Additionally, others feel it’s safe to trust us when we’re stable and predictable.

Make small talk

You communicate a genuine interest when you inquire or listen to the small details that make up your partner’s day. It’s those insignificant moments that make up the reality of our lives.

Shared experiences

We feel closer to others when we can talk about the experiences we have in common. 

Words are not necessary for shared feelings to improve a relationship. Just doing something at the same time—riding bikes, watching a movie, or eating dessert, intensifies both pleasant and unpleasant experiences.

Listen carefully

Knowing that you are being heard is one of the experiences most likely to cement a feeling of connection to another. 

Use a technique called “active listening” - a form of listening in which you acknowledge that you understand what is being said. 

A Zen Parable

There was a man riding on a horse. When a man walking on the road asks him where he is going, the rider replies, “Why are you asking me? You should ask the horse.”

The ho...

Emotional Intelligence

The ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions. -Salovey and Mayer (1990)

Emotional Mastery

It manifests itself in the kind of statements we make about ourselves, in relation to our emotional skills and success.

Qualities such as confidence, awareness and optimism, come under the umbrella of emotional intelligence.