Talking About Your Feelings

How many feelings can you name? Happy, sad, scared? That's a good start.

Can you name some more? How about playful, joyful, calm? Mad, upset, worried. Confused, lonely, nervous. Grateful, glad, cozy. Loved, friendly, peaceful.

There are so many feelings to name. Try coming up with some of your own.

No matter how you feel — good or bad — it's healthy to put your feelings into words. Talking about feelings helps us feel close to people who care. It helps us feel better when we're sad or scared.

Putting feelings into words helps us use self-control when we feel mad or upset. If your little brother took something of yours, you can say, "Hey, I'm annoyed that you took that without asking me. Next time, please ask." No need to get in a big fight over it. Just say how you feel and why, without yelling.

Know Your Feelings

It's easier to talk about your feelings if you know how you feel and why. Try these easy steps:

  1. Think of the name for how you feel. (Let's say you feel nervous.)
  2. Think of why you feel that way. (Let's say you are nervous because you have a spelling test tomorrow.)
  3. Put them together into words. (Say to yourself, "I feel nervous about my spelling test tomorrow.")

If you don't know why you feel a certain way, you can still talk about it. You can say, "I feel upset, but I don't know why."

Pick Someone to Talk to

A parent, grandparent, or a friend can be a good person to talk to. It's easier than you think. You can start by going to the person and saying, "Can we talk for a minute?" Then say how you feel and why.

Let the other person listen. Maybe they will give you advice. Or say something kind. Maybe they will help you laugh, or give you a hug. Or say, "Don't worry, I'll help you study your spelling words." Just saying how you feel and why helps you start to feel better. It helps to know you are not alone with a problem or worry.

Talk About Feelings Any Time

You don't have to wait for a big problem to talk about your feelings. You can say how you feel any time. It's a good thing to practice.

Talking about feelings doesn't have to be a big talk. You can make a short and simple comment. Like this:

  • "Dad, I'm really glad we're having pizza tonight! Thanks!"
  • "I'm excited about the game tonight. I think the coach will let me start."
  • "I'm so relieved because I did really well on my math test!"
  • "I felt so awkward when I asked Kyle to the dance, and I was so happy when he said yes!"

You don't have to talk about every feeling you have. But noticing your feelings and saying how you feel and why is good practice. The more you do it, the easier it gets. Talking about your feelings is a healthy way to express them. And when you have difficult feelings you need to talk over, you'll be ready.

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2019 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.

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