X is for Expression

(The ‘e’ is silent to fit with the alphabet theme of this blog series)

eXpression is defined as the action of making known one’s thoughts or feelings.

When you express, you learn about what is going on for you.

Making things known is about paying attention and becoming aware. The more aware you are, the more able you are to make decisions about said thoughts and feelings.

It’s important to express yourself because bottling things inside is not helpful, it can feel like a weight on your shoulders, feel as though something is bubbly up, it can impact your ability to absorb information and concentrate. It can also have a negative impact on your mood and leave you with a general feeling of overwhelm.

I’m learning that when we suppress and bury our emotions it can have a negative impact on our physical health too; it has been related to increased inflammation, problems with gut health and autoimmune concerns.

We may want to ignore or push down a thought / feeling as that can be easier than dealing with the discomfort of acknowledging and exploring it. But in the long run, doing so can have a detrimental effect on us both psychologically and physically, which further highlights the need to express and let them out.

When I’m talking about expressing yourself I don’t just mean talking. I’m aware people are encouraged to speak about about what’s going on for them. And I personally think it’s super important to, but at the same time people are not always comfortable speaking about said thing. Reasons could include: not wanting to burden any one, feeling that even if you speak about the situation things may not change, sensing that the person you may talk to just wont get it or you may not feel ready to talk about it.

In this post I want to discuss a few ways you can let it out and express yourself when you don’t actually feel like talking to someone else.


I thoroughly enjoy jotting things down and for as long as I can remember I would make entries on my calendar when something significant happened. In my training diary I have a little section titled evaluation where I summarise my reflections about my sessions, and every new year I write a letter about the year just gone and my hopes for the new one.

I started writing a daily journal in Jan 2022, this was a period of time when I felt quite unsettled and was preoccupied about the future, it affected my ability to get to sleep, as well as the quality of it because my mind was just so busy. And I felt the need to help myself by writing it down. Journaling allows me to work through my thoughts and feelings, it gives me the chance to have a conversation with myself where I can be brutally honest. I pair journaling with meditation which usually sets the direction of what I write about; generally speaking, I express gratitude, feelings of being stuck, letting go, changes, the unknown, love, affirmations and various things I have found challenging.

Writing feels freeing because I unload the psychological weight of whatever is on my mind, I gain more clarity on my internal experience and it gives me the space to learn more about myself. I like it because it’s a record of my thoughts and when I read through them, it has been very revealing to see what was happening for me during that period. I feel that I am a better version of myself for committing to this habit and it’s something I see myself doing forever.

Talking to yourself

I am grateful for my nearest and dearest who are always there to listen should I ask / need them to. However, you are the person you are with most in life, and a conversation you would have with a friend who requires support may need to be had with yourself.

Talking to myself is something I can do immediately to help with what’s going on for me. This is especially useful when no one is around in that moment, or when I can’t write there and then.

What I say ranges from motivating myself when needing a bit of a boost, talking through tasks and asking myself why I felt a particular way. Speaking to myself is thinking out loud and there is always something on my mind. And like writing, its helpful for me to offload the mental baggage and declutter my mind.

There was an occasion when I felt the urge to work through my thoughts, I couldn’t write about it in that moment and was about to drive so I recorded myself talking and later re-played it to learn from the situation. I knew if I didn’t express myself I would have found it difficult to complete other tasks.

Moving Your Body

This is another way of expressing, as I mentioned what we psychologically suppress can have a negative impact on our physiology.

I would like you to think about a time when you have been stressed, what happens to your body? Are you aware of any warning signs when your body is literally telling you it’s stressed out? Personally, if I’m acutely stressed I’ll hold a lot of tension in my shoulders, if the stress persists the Lupus is likely to flare up and I may have a sense of unease in my body.

The other day I went to bed without being clear on something, it disturbed my sleep and I woke up feeling dysregulated, I did my usual (meditate, journal and Duolingo) but none of those tools helped with my discomfort. So I went to the gym and cycled for 30mins, I purposely left my ear pods at home to challenge my thoughts without the distraction of music. Physically exerting myself was useful in that moment because I was forced to let go of what I was holding onto, especially as it was not serving me.

I’ve only touched on 3 ways of expressing here that personally work for me, there are so many other ways to let your emotions out, including: singing, drawing, any form of physical activity, poetry, squeezing a stress ball, having a good cry, shouting, throwing things (safely) etc.

As with everything, it’s about finding what works best for you.

I believe life is about feeling and it’s important to acknowledge the emotions we have, understand why they come up for us and what we can learn from them. I appreciate there may be deep rooted feelings that could be trauma related, if that is the case professional help may be required to gently guide you through your experience.

My mission is to help people help themselves and for you realise to there are tools available to help improve your quality of life without making hugely significant outward changes.

The tool today is finding ways to express.

2 thoughts on “X is for Expression

  1. This was beautifully written. This is such an important topic that we still need to practice. Even with mental health being a less taboo topic we still find ourselves bottling things up and I see this especially with men.

    I enjoyed the bit about you challenging yourself by cycling without distractions. I try to run or work out or even sit in the car without music or anything once a week jdut to challenge myself. I think it’s a bigger challenge than we realize but somtimes we need to sit with our own thoughts, even the challenge ones.

    Looking forward to next month’s topic

  2. Aw thank you for your lovely comment Brie. I appreciate it and completely agree with you, and unfortunately that comes with many negative consequences.
    I’m glad you did and it’s great that you don’t shy away from facing those thoughts head on – Well done! And most definitely, it all forms part of the learning process.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *