5 Keys to Expressing Emotional Pain

5 Keys to Expressing Emotional Pain

Last update: 08 May, 2020

Expressing emotional pain has become increasingly unpopular. Although everyone experiences internal suffering, it’s more and more common to ignore it.  People who are “positive” and have “good energy” are welcomed with open arms. Yet, those in emotional pain often get the gold shoulder, as if pain was a contagious disease. 

The truth is that all human beings, at one point or another, experience emotional suffering. Some more than others, but everyone feels it at some point. And when we do, being able to express it is vital. Repressing emotional pain only makes it more intense and keeps it from being processed. 

-Viktor Frankl-
The problem is, oftentimes we simply don’t know how to express emotional pain. At the end of the day, words fall short. But on top of that, they’re often not enough to ease the pain. This is why we decided to suggest some keys to help you effectively express how you feel.

1. Say it out loud

Although it may not seem so, there’s a big difference between thinking and saying painful thoughts.  Thoughts are wrapped in words, and we all keep a constant internal dialogue. However, thoughts don’t require us to organize or precisely define ideas.

Woman expressing painful emotions

When we say our thoughts out loud, an interesting process occurs. We organize our ideas to create a comprehensible and coherent message. We also specify and clarify facts to make them understandable, which is why voicing thoughts out loud can be so cathartic. You don’t even have to say it to someone else. Just say it to yourself. Or record yourself and listen to it later.

2. Learn to let the tension go with relaxing activities 

Emotional suffering causes a lot of tension, an uncomfortable feeling of displeasure that can be difficult to get rid of. It can manifest with either anxiety and apprehension or even apathy and numbness.

Nothing is better than exercise for eliminating emotional overload. Physical activity helps change our focus and activates neurological processes that induce feelings of well-being.

3. Vocally express your emotional pain

People, in general, have become more apathetic to the suffering of others, so expressing emotional pain is sometimes very difficult. No one wants to bother others, or worse, be rejected. Nevertheless, it’s sometimes impossible, at least  momentarily, to shake off a dark mood alone. 

Woman talking about her emotional pain

If that’s the case, the best thing to do is talk to someone about the pain you’re going through. Help them understand you’re going through a difficult time and that the emotional pain isn’t going to go away by itself. Instead, it’s necessary to process your emotions. Give them the information they need to understand your situation, without being confrontational.

4. Avoid conflict

It’s normal for pain to make you irritable and sometimes frustrated with others. And it’s easy to give in to the temptation of taking out your frustration and  discomfort on others. 

But it’s important to avoid this, as it will only make the situation worse in the long run. It may be better to simply avoid arguments of any kind when we’re feeling very irritable. Otherwise, we could get involved in a unproductive conflict. In this instance, it’s better to avoid confrontation.

5. Write a diary

Humans have been keeping diaries for ages for all kinds of reasons. One reason is to express emotional pain. Just like how saying our thoughts aloud makes us reorganize them, writing thoughts down  helps us organize and clarify them even more. 

Writing your thoughts can help ease emotional pain

Writing is one way to achieve catharsis. But on top of that, it helps you see things from a new perspective. Reading your written thoughts allows you see them from a distance. This helps you process them better and view them rationally. Writing sometimes also gives you a creative outlet for your pain.

All of these methods of expressing emotional pain are very valuable. But in reality, anything is better than staying quiet, repressing, or keeping the pain inside. You have to let it out to let it go, through any means necessary. Expressing emotional pain is the only way to process it, and eventually, overcome it.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.