Children’s Mental Health Week – Express Yourself

Children’s Mental Health Week – Express Yourself

28/1/2021 //

A blog by Michele, one of our amazing therapists at Inclusion Hampshire 

February 1st – 7th is Children’s Mental Health week? The theme this year is ‘Express Yourself’.

What does that mean express yourself? If I don’t understand what something means, the first thing I used to do is look it up in a dictionary, (I’m old), these days I would just do an internet search. I discovered that the origin of the word, that just means where it came from, you know back in the day, is Latin. The word started off as ‘expressare’ which to understand you have to break down into two parts. The first part ‘Ex’ means ‘out’ and the second part ‘Pressare’ means ‘press’. So, we end up with to ‘press’ or ‘get out’ something from inside of us, like thoughts or feelings.

Getting thoughts or feelings out is a positive thing, both the good and the not so good ones. Getting a good thing out can be fun, sometimes you don’t even have to try, it just happens like a smile, a little dance, a hop, it might be the sharing of a good result or telling someone how your day was. The not so good things tend to be harder to express, and in some cases, depending on how you express them (how they come out), can be seen as things you should not have done. Something like slamming a door, damaging something or the sending of a rude text. This sort of self-expression is usually as a result of a thought or feeling that is less clear, it could actually be a feeling like, sadness, disappointment, being hurt or feeling down. Keeping thoughts and feelings like these inside, is not a good thing, as they tend to only get worse. To help self-express those feelings in a more positive way, you have to get creative.
Now, not all of us think of ourselves as being able to be creative. I hear myself, inside my head scream, I’m not Banksy I can’t paint! Whoa slow down voice inside my head, being creative is a personal thing, find your creative, do it your way, be you. After all neither you or I, can self-express as Banksy, because we’re not him, we’re us.

If you look around, you will see people expressing themselves in different ways. Rappers self-express through words and beats, poets do this with just words, as do authors. Some people express themselves visually, this might be through the way they dress or do their hair and make-up. Self-expression can be shared, or it can be private. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with others is a really good way of getting them out. But just as good if sharing with others is not your thing, is something more private like a scribble, a drawing, a sound, the pulling of a face in the mirror, the searching for song lyrics that connect to your feelings, or maybe something that uses movement like closing your eyes and whilst concentrating on the feeling just letting your body begin to move, however it wants.

The challenge, this Children’s Mental Health week is to find a way to express yourself, if you’re stuck for ideas one of things listed below may just trigger an idea, that could work for you:

• Let your body just move, if your whole body feels too much, how about just letting your hand or foot move

• Find a thick carpet or towel and create a shape or impression in it with a finger or toe

• Create something using toilet paper that represents how you’re feeling

• Before getting dressed, look at your clothes and choose something with a colour that connects to how you are feeling

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