The ability to talk about our feelings can literally change our lives. It’s related to having closer relationships, longevity, physical health, stress reduction, and feeling better overall. But for most of us, talking about our feelings is harder than we think. Have a look at the following examples:
- I feel like you’re a great help.
- I feel like I don’t have many friends.
- I feel like you’re being mean to me.
None of these examples are actual feelings. As a community, we’ve gotten into the habit of using ‘I feel’ statements followed by an accusation, a story, or a description of the situation. Instead, we want to follow an ‘I feel’ statement with a feeling word:
I feel like you’re a great help, becomes: I feel very grateful for your help. I feel like I don’t have many friends, becomes: I feel sad because I want to go out tonight and I don’t know who to ask. I feel like you’re being mean to me, becomes: I feel hurt when you say that to me.
“It’s really important to talk about feelings. This is how you get close to people.”
– Amanda Sovik-Johnston
Talking about your feelings is a skill
Luckily, talking about your feelings is something you can learn! And I spend a lot of time working on this with my clients because it can be complicated.
It starts with accurately reading the physiological signs your body is giving you. For example, an increased heart rate, butterflies in your stomach, or your face getting red. The next step is relating those physiological signals to a specific description word in verbal language. With this word, you accurately label what you’re experiencing. You then want to use this word, or label, to communicate your feeling to the people around you.
Helping our teens talk about their feelings
A lot of teenagers are really getting into talking about their feelings. So as parents, we want to teach them this skill accurately. Let’s embrace them where they are and give them the skills and tools to do this in a way that’s going to help them forever. Have a listen to today’s episode to hear my tips on how to do this!
You can find our podcast Active and Connected Families wherever you listen to your podcasts, or easily click the links below to listen:
In this episode about talking about our feelings, we discuss:
- Talking about your feelings is a skill you can learn;
- Why it’s so important to talk about your feelings and the massive impact it can have on your life and relationships;
- The biggest mistakes we make when we are trying to express our feelings;
- Tips on how to get better at talking about your feelings;
- How you can help your teen get better at talking about their feelings;
- And more!
More about Active & Connected Family Therapy
Active & Connected Family Therapy is a mental health practice serving individuals, families, and our community. Our practice is designed to help people at all stages and from all walks of life by offering therapists and physicians with diverse backgrounds and specialties via face-to-face, walk-and-talk, and telemedicine appointments. Throughout, we are committed to developing strengths-based, authentic, and long-lasting relationships with you and your children. We hope to provide you with the support and insight you need to help your family navigate life’s hard times and joys.
Are you or your child struggling with mental health? We have a team of psychologists and psychiatrists who can help you out. You can learn more about our practice or contact us here.
Resources and links mentioned in this episode
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- We’ve got a bunch of episodes for you to binge-listen to! How about one of our most listened-to episodes on how we explain anxiety to kids and families?
Disclaimer: Please remember we are real live therapists, however this is a podcast and is not considered a therapy session. Not only because there is no co-pay but also because we can’t speak to your individual experiences. We are here to help you keep raising healthy kids. And remember, if you are an imperfect parent, we are right there with you. If you or someone you love is in immediate danger, please call your local crisis hotline or go to your nearest emergency room.