5 Ways to Know Your Feelings Better

As we grow up, we get better at knowing what we are feeling and why. Knowing our feelings help us know what we want and make choices. It helps us relate to other people. Even difficult feelings (like anger or sadness) help us know ourselves.

Paying attention to feelings is a skill that anyone can practice. Here are some things to try:

  1. Notice and name your feelings. To start, just notice how you feel as things happen. Say the name of the feeling to yourself. For example, you might say, "I feel proud" when a class presentation goes well, "I feel disappointed" at not doing well on a test, or, "I feel friendly" when sitting with a group at lunch.
  2. Track one emotion. Pick one emotion — like joy. Track it all day. Notice how often you feel it. Every time, make a mental note to yourself or write it down. Is the feeling mild, medium, or strong?
  3. Learn new words for feelings. How many different feelings can you name? Try thinking of even more. How many words are there for "angry"? For example, you might be annoyed, mad, irate, or fuming.
  4. Keep a feelings journal. Take a few minutes each day to write about how you feel and why. Writing about your feelings is a way to express them. You can also make art, write poetry, or compose music that captures an emotion you feel.
  5. Notice feelings in art, songs, and movies. Pay attention to what the artist did to show those feelings. How do you feel in response?

The more you are aware of your emotions, the more they help you know yourself and understand the people around you. Noticing and talking about feelings is a healthy way to express them. It keeps difficult feelings from building up.

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2020 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.

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