First things first: What the heck does emotional expression of self mean? It's pretty simple actually; emotional expression of self is being free with your emotions. It's understanding what you're feeling, letting the important people in your life know how you feel, and being open to both physical and emotional intimacy. And wouldn't you know it, it's absolutely vital to living a happy, healthy life!
Bottling up our emotions is akin to wearing around a weighted vest. Each time we hold back a strong feeling or emotion, we add weight to that vest. Very quickly the vest becomes a burden, and eventually it will all but immobilize us. Our emotional health is critical to our overall heath. Expressing ourselves openly allows us to be ourselves and promotes an environment where everyone can be comfortable in his or her own skin. In the past we believed that success made people happy, but recently researchers have discovered that it's the other way around! Happy people are actually more successful! They are more likely to work toward goals, find resources they need and attract others with their energy and optimism.
I'm not suggesting that we should always say everything we think and feel -- of course we shouldn't. This is more about being in touch with our feelings and understanding what exactly it is that we are feeling and why exactly it is that we are feeling it. There is a time and a place to keep our feelings to ourselves, but when it's something important involving people who are important to us, we need to express ourselves openly. Now, the time, place, and tone of voice are all incredibly important, and I strongly encourage you to choose wisely.
This is exceptionally true in your love life. How can you be completely intimate without a clear line of communication (with yourself and with your partner)? You'd be surprised how often I discover that a couple has a very clear and open stream of communication everywhere but the bedroom. Is there any place that we feel more emotion than in the bedroom? I don't think so. It can be the single most difficult place to let go and be yourself because it's where you are most vulnerable, but that's what makes it so important.
Luckily, there are ways to improve our understanding of our emotions. Here are a few exercises to strengthen our muscles of thinking and feeling:
- Choose a quiet, relaxing place and remember each part of the previous day. What were you thinking? How did you feel? To express yourself openly and clearly you first need to understand exactly how you're feeling.
- Be completely present in something you're doing, whether it's for work or fun. Take in all of your surroundings and focus on exactly how you are feeling at each moment in time. There should be a special depth and richness to the experience that you can start to incorporate into the rest of your life.
- A clear flood journal can also help us be mindful. Write down what you are thinking about eating and why, what you decide to eat, and afterwards, how you felt about the meal. Just a simple exercise like this can keep us from emotional eating!
It's so important for each and every one of us to be physically and emotionally healthy. Concentrate even a small amount of time on your emotional health and you'll see an improvement in both. You'll also be one step closer to having your S.W.E.E.P in check!