Express Yourself Ecards appHow labeling your feelings calms the brain

Tired of being misunderstood? Wish you knew what to say and how to say it better? Express Yourself E-Cards help you clarify your thoughts and feelings, and communicate them more effectively.

Completing the checklists takes you on a journey of self-discovery. That means that even if you never send an E-Card, you’ll benefit from the process.

Why does filling out a bunch of checklists make me feel better?

Because your brain loves you when you get it right! It’s a fact. Something changes in our bodies the instant we find the words we’ve been searching for.

The best example is the feeling you get when you see someone you know coming toward you, but you can’t remember her name.

You know the feeling, right?

It’s physical. You smile awkwardly, while your mind scrambles through your mental Rolodex of names:

“Sarah?”

“Sandra?”

“Sally?”

“Shoot! What is her name?

And then, it happens. Her sister shows up and instantly, you remember. “It’s Charlotte! Charlotte and Cherise Beignet. The Beignet sisters!”

The correct labeling of objects and feelings is soothing to areas of the brain associated with survival. Your life doesn’t depend on you Beignet sisters not reallyremembering the names of the Beignet sisters. But it might depend on you properly identifying the word “snake” when you hear a hissing rattle coming at you in the desert.

Emotions come to us through our senses. We see, smell, taste, hear, or feel something, and our bodies react. We don’t consciously think “snake,” for example, and then run. We hear hissing and our brain says, “Run!” Only later—once we feel safe—do we have the luxury of time to reflect and accurately label the cause of our actions.

Emotions are complex. It’s rare to feel just angry, without feeling resentful, or embarrassed, or insulted, or exposed, or hurt.

Anger is blunt instrument. It does one thing extremely well. It pushes people away when we feel unsafe. But it doesn’t fully describe the other feelings we’re having. And it’s those feelings that can bring us closer to the people we love. This is what makes it so hard to communicate. Words are the best way we know to express ourselves, but words are only approximations of actual experience.

Filling out an E-Card makes you feel better because it helps you recognize, identify, and communicate the “all” of

what you’re feeling: the hurt and the sadness, the disappointment and the loneliness, the heartache and the fear.

Many of my clients use the cards without ever sending them. They fill out the checklists as a way to clarify their thoughts and feelings before having a face-to-face conversation.

This naming process, and the soothing effect it has on us has been the greatest discovery for me in using the cards with my clients.  It turns out that learning to self-regulate by accessing the higher functions of the brain (where language is processed) is critical to self-mastery, and leads to more effective self-expression.