How to express yourself

How to express yourself
Written By: Counselling Psychologist
M.Sc. Psychology - Swansea University, UK.
Reviewed By: Counselling Psychologist
MA Psychology Pennsylvania State University, USA
Last Updated: 25-03-2023

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The secret to an authentic and confident life is to be able to express yourself completely. There are times when we fear how people around us may react to our emotions. And thus, to avoid conflicts, as we age, we learn to suppress our emotions and opinions. Therefore, expressing yourself is an art that needs to be mastered, which will help you not always go with the flow and stand accountable for your thoughts and beliefs. The most crucial thing about expressing oneself is that it creates an outcome that is positive within yourself and the people around you.

The first and foremost step in expressing yourself is to understand and accept your emotions. You have to develop the ability to honestly view your emotions in certain situations- listen to yourself. This can be done by observing your feeling at a particular moment and realizing how you react in this situation. By practicing this, you will get an in-depth insight into your genuine emotions. Humans are good at hiding or building up emotions, which may lead to anxiety and depressionKahn, & Garrison, 2009). Thus, invest time in knowing your true feelings, lessen the risks of mental illnesses, decrease dissatisfaction with life, and improve your quality of life.

After you have started to acknowledge your feelings, you have to become an excellent communicator to express yourself better. This can begin with expressing your thoughts and feelings in a journal. If you do not like opening and writing down by hand and think it is too much work, you can always use the notepad on your mobile phone or laptop. There are guided journal apps to help you navigate your moods and thoughts if it is challenging to write independently. Note down how you feel in an angry situation. Also, observe and note the way your body reacts to it. Focusing on how your body arousal varies with each emotion will strengthen your mind-body connection than pushing emotions aside.

Once you get easy on observing your emotions, they have to be now expressed safely among people. Work out plans that may express your emotions in a healthy way to the people around you. For instance, projecting anger through violence or shouting may not end up in the right way for both sides. Take accountability for your emotions while expressing yourself by using I statements.

Lastly, there are plenty of other ways to express yourself apart from being verbally straightforward. You can dive into your hobbies and find several ways in which you can express your emotions and thoughts creatively. Physical expressions can include dancing (Lee et al., 2013) or perhaps the way you dress yourself up. You can also express your thoughts and opinions in the form of writing stories or poems (Kempler, 2003). Another excellent way of self-expression is through using different colors on paper or maybe just one!

In all, expressing oneself in an appropriate manner is difficult but not impossible, and following the above step can make you a better emotion regulator and expression. To some, it may seem that it is not required, but it does help in the long term.

“A person without self-expression is a person without freedom” – Robin S.


Kahn, J. H., & Garrison, A. M. (2009). Emotional self-disclosure and emotional avoidance: Relations with symptoms of depression and anxiety. Journal of Counselling Psychology, 56(4), 573.

Kempler, N. Z. (2003). Finding our voice through poetry and psychotherapy. Journal of Poetry Therapy16(4), 217-220.

Kever, A., Grynberg, D., Eeckhout, C., Mermillod, M., Fantini, C., & Vermeulen, N. (2015). The body language: The spontaneous influence of congruent bodily arousal on the awareness of emotional words. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 41(3), 582.

Koole, S. L. (2009). The psychology of emotion regulation: An integrative review. Cognition and Emotion23(1), 4-41.

Lee, J., Lee, H. J., Ko, B., & Boswell, B. (2013). Effects of Creative Dance on Students Self-Expression and Perceptions of Dance. International Journal of Applied Sports Sciences25(1).

Segal, D. L., Tucker, H. C., & Coolidge, F. L. (2009). A comparison of positive versus negative emotional expression in a written disclosure study among distressed students. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma18(4), 367-381.

Stephenson, R. C. (2006). Promoting self-expression through art therapy. Generations30(1), 24-26.

Takaesu, A. (2012). EFL journal writing: An exploratory study in self-expression as a bridge for creative writing. Accents Asia5(1), 45-54.


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