Self-expression, as the word itself suggests, means the expression of one’s feelings, thoughts, or ideas, especially in writing, music, art, or dance. Self-expression is a healing and liberating act that helps in clearing our minds and regulating our emotions and thought processes. The specialty of the same is that all the ways of self-expression help us in introspection, without inhibitions and second-thoughts. Be it in writing, doodling, or drawing, we tend to take out things that occupy our mind – conscious and unconscious.
Even when we have no one to share our feelings with, self-expression techniques fill the void by making us feel lighter and heard.
A remarkable fact about the same is that parents nowadays use creative ways to inculcate the habit of expression in kids through various activities. This is done in order to reap the benefits of self- expression in the long run which is often overlooked by many. The question here is what are the best ways of doing the same?
HOW TO PRACTICE SELF-EXPRESSION
- Write, Write, Write: Many people have a habit of maintaining a diary. Penning down our thoughts and feelings on a daily basis is similar to sharing it with a trustworthy friend. Writing them down is considered a helpful mental activity and makes one feel lighter. One big emotional benefit of the same is the fact that writing is known to generate feelings of happiness and relief to the ones who practice it. It also increases gratitude, improves communication, and acts as a helping hand in handling tough times especially when we’re alone.
- Dance and Music: Dance is a form of exercise which is good for our mental and physical health. Music and dance both have healing tendencies as they help one express innate feelings and emotions that are difficult to express in words. Those who like to dance know what a great stress buster it is. Music too is loved by all and is known to treat mental illnesses. It eases pain and also helps in managing mood swings and stress.
- Know your choices and fears: In some cases, people struggle with mental health issues because they aren’t clear about their choices or are hesitant about it. Both accepting and expressing our choices as well as our fears is equally important for mental and emotional well-being. Deep-rooted fears and unexpressed opinions or choices lead to anxiety and stress. Thus, one should learn the art of accepting and expressing for a mentally-fit living.
- Show some art: Drawing, sketching, painting, doodling, or any other kind of art lets one express themselves without having to say much. A lot of people struggle to communicate their feelings while some cannot find the right person to do so. In such cases, artistic activities help one release the feelings and thoughts which are otherwise unexpressed or hidden.
- Dress as you like: Dressing is a creative form of expression that allows one to show their personality. The type of clothes and the colour we wear helps in reflecting our feelings and innate desires. The freedom of how we choose to appear in public gives us a feeling of pleasure and happiness.
- Reading: Reading books is also a healing process. People often relate to the characters of stories and empathize with them. They feel better knowing that someone else is also feeling the same. People seek answers to their questions in books, ultimately helping them clear their mind and regulate emotions.
- Communication is the key: The direct way of self-expression is communication. Those who are good at expressing themselves verbally are less prone to emotional vulnerabilities. They regret less and are likely to be carefree and relaxed in life in comparison to those who struggle to express themselves. Both verbal and non-verbal communication is equally important for emotional regulation and overall well-being of an individual.
- Vent it out: Apart from all the other ways of self-expression, ‘facial expressions’ lie at the core. One needs to laugh loudly and even cry at times for proper emotional regulation. We’ve often heard people say or from our personal experiences, that one feels relieved after crying. Venting out emotions, especially the negative and painful ones is necessary. However, smiling and laughing too is equally important for overall mental well-being.
All these ways of self-expression are equally reliable and beneficial. Healthy self-expression is necessary and makes one more confident, happy and satisfied in life. It contributes to the validation of self-concepts, thus making an individual self-aware and mentally fit.
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