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How to Be More Open with Your Feelings

by Katrina Miller, studioD

You already have the tools you need to be more open with your feelings: awareness, a voice and the ability to write. The most difficult aspect of improving your ability to communicate openly may be motivational: overcoming a fear of rejection and exposing yourself. The rewards for expressing feelings openly are rich, including an increased liking and trust of others, suggests the August 2010 issue of the "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology." An article in "Science Daily" reports that talking or writing about your feelings can make sadness, anger or pain less intense.

Use words to describe your feelings. "Science Daily" reports that people who said the word "angry" when observing an angry face kept themselves calmer and had brain images demonstrating less reactivity in the brain's emotional center as compared with those who did not say the word to themselves. There are many words to describe feelings and their intensity -- use them to label your feelings.

Ask friends about their feelings. In April 2010, the Association for Psychological Science reported that people with greater well-being facilitated more substantive conversations with friends. Asking questions about your friend's feelings can help you reach deeper levels of communication.

Express your feelings to people you like. The "Journal of Experimental Social Psychology" notes that your desire to belong motivates your desire to listen to a friend's feelings; your friend's desire to be a friend motivates the friend to listen to your feelings. As you rely on each other to discuss feelings openly, your feelings of connection are likely to increase.

Write about your feelings in a journal. Writing about positive feelings can help you feel better about significant relationships, notes the March 2010 issue of the "Journal of Positive Psychology." Expressing positive feelings through writing can remind you that the world is good and that tomorrow will be a better day.

About the Author

Katrina Miller is a medical writer specializing in behavioral health. She has been published in "Family Perspectives" and the "Salt Lake Tribune." She has a doctoral degree in Family and Human Development from Utah State University.

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