Do you find it easy to know how to express yourself?
We know that having ways to express ourselves is essential for our wellbeing. Expressing yourself means you can connect with others over shared interests or passions, share your opinions on the things that matter to you, and, ultimately, get support to manage when life gets tough.
Here are five healthy ways to express your opinions, thoughts, and feelings:
Different people use art to express themselves in all sorts of different ways.
If you prefer to express yourself through words, you might find that creative writing (whether it’s a story or a poem) is a good way to work through your thoughts and feelings, whether you want to share or not. It might even help you problem-solve, especially if you can use your creativity to explore the different potential options you have for responding to the situation you’re in.
Other people find that drawing, painting, crafting, or making music is a great way to express themselves without using words. It doesn’t necessarily matter if what you create is aesthetically pleasing – it’s about the process!
If you’re not sure where to start, check out Virtual Connections: downloadable arts-based activities from CW+ (one of the organisations behind Best For You).
Try an app
Best For You has an app library, which is full of hundreds of apps you can use to support your wellbeing, including those which can help if you’re not sure how to express yourself.
Many apps have features designed to help, like interactive journals, AI-powered chat functions, or tools that help you connect to supportive family members, friends, or other adults (like teachers or keyworkers).
Rootd, for example, has a journal with mood tracking and prompts, as well as an interactive feature called the ‘Rootr’, designed to provide instant support for people experiencing a panic attack. Find out more about Rootd.
Molehill Mountain is an app designed for autistic people. It has a mood tracker – and offers support for people who struggle to recognise their emotions, as well as tools to help people manage their worries. Find out more about Molehill Mountain.
Form (formerly FormScore) connects you with pre-selected friends or family members and makes it easier to tell them how you’re doing and what’s affecting your wellbeing. Find out more about Form.
Calm Harm is designed to help people ‘surf the wave’ of the urge to hurt themselves – but lots of different people find the ‘express yourself’ activities in the app helpful, including people who don’t have experience of self-harm urges. Find out more about Calm Harm.
Finally, the friendly AI penguin character in Wysa can offer really helpful place to vent or chat about what’s going on. Find out more about Wysa.
Speak to someone you trust
Expressing yourself isn’t just for tricky situations – it’s an important part of looking after your everyday wellbeing!
Connecting with other people is so important that it’s one of the five ways to wellbeing – actions that evidence suggests can boost our mental health.
Building strong relationships with others – including friends and supportive adults – can help us stay well, and also means people are there if we experience something difficult, or struggle to cope with our thoughts or feelings.
Text NATTER for free, confidential support
If you need to chat but you’re not sure where to turn, you can always text NATTER. We work with Shout to provide the free, 24/7, anonymous text service.
You can text NATTER about anything that’s on your mind, and trained volunteers will support you to reach a calmer place with some ideas about the next steps you can take. You can also ask them to help you think about how to express yourself in other ways, including talking to a parent, carer, teacher, or other trusted adult.
Find out more about what happens when you text NATTER to 85258, or, if you’re reading this on your phone, text NATTER now.
Kooth is a free online wellbeing community for young people. It’s funded by NHS organisations across London, and in lots of other parts of the UK as well.
Kooth has an online team to chat to about anything that’s bothering you, but there are also discussion boards for supportive conversations and a journal where you can track your mood and figure out how different things make you feel.