5 Activities for Emotional Expression During Adolescence

Adolescents need activities to learn good emotional expression, and adults should be their role models. Learn more in today's article.
5 Activities for Emotional Expression During Adolescence
María José Roldán

Written and verified by the psychopedagogue María José Roldán.

Last update: 01 May, 2023

Emotions should be expressed from early childhood, but when you reach adolescence, it becomes even more important. For this reason, we’re going to explain some activities for emotional expression in adolescence.

Emotional expression during adolescence

Emotional expression in adolescence takes on great importance. When this doesn’t take place correctly, young people can have serious emotional problems both at that age and later on. Emotional intelligence is fundamental in the life of any person to improve mental health and performance, both at a personal, academic, or professional level.

When we talk about emotional expression, together with emotional intelligence, we understand it as the ability to identify, understand, and manage one’s own emotions as well as those of others. This should be applicable to any area of life.

Why do some teenagers have difficulties?

It’s not new that some teenagers may find it difficult to express their emotions correctly. Therefore, it’s essential to teach them that emotions are neither good nor bad.

Young people should know that they don’t need to judge emotions but simply notice and feel them. Only in this way will they later be able to identify them, not as good or bad, but as comfortable and uncomfortable. This is why it’s very important to do activities with them so that they can reflect on their own emotions and thus develop good emotional intelligence.

A teenage girl crying.
Sometimes, teenagers think that an emotion that makes them feel bad is negative and so they try to block it, even if they don’t understand it.

Activities to work on emotional expression during adolescence

Emotional education should be a compulsory subject in all schools. Although this isn’t the case, the reality is that students who are emotionally intelligent will have better well-being and a much stronger personality. This even helps them to develop good resilience in the future.

For all these reasons, we’re going to explain some activities that you can use to work with your children or with your students so that, in this way, they’re able to better manage their emotional expression and find the answers in their emotions.

1. Journaling

Journaling is an ideal activity for teens who like to write. In this way, they can write down their experiences and objectively see what has happened to them and the feelings they’ve had about it. This practice will even serve as an emotional outlet for them.

2. Taking emotional pauses in tense moments

With the emotional lability of adolescents, it’s normal that, as a parent, you feel that they can be a difficult field to explore. In this regard, you need to learn to notice when they’re going to explode emotionally. That way, before that happens, they can take an emotional pause from what’s happening to them.

This emotional pause can be given in a variety of ways. For example, they can withdraw from the place of conflict, close their eyes, and breathe for a few seconds, write down what they feel, take a walk, or simply stop to cry. Afterward, they’ll have to think about how to continue to resolve the situation.

3. Write a letter

When a teen has an emotional conflict with a person, writing a letter becomes a great tool. It can be a symbolic letter, just to put their mind at ease about the conflict, or it can be a letter to give to the person who’s important to them. If the person with whom they have the conflict isn’t alive or present, it’s also a way to connect with them and work on the emotions they generate.

A teen girl writing in a notebook.
Writing is a good way to improve emotional expression in adolescence. For example, they can write a letter to express their feelings in a symbolic way or express them to another person.

4. Ask questions and answers with emotional vocabulary

It’s essential that adolescents learn to put words and names to what they feel. In this regard, they should identify the emotion a particular experience makes them feel and, in this way, be able to describe the feelings and get to the root cause more easily. This will allow them to better deal with what’s happening to them and look for solutions.

5. Turn criticism into constructive words

Teaching teens to turn criticism into constructive words is critical. In this way, they won’t take things too much to heart. To do this, they need to learn to answer these questions when they receive criticism: What can I learn from those words? Or, how can those words help me improve?

How to be a good role model for emotional expression

Of course, as parents, it’s essential to be a good role model for emotional expression. Only in this way will adolescents learn to have good management in this aspect. If you’re a person who shouts or blocks your emotions, what do you think your children will learn? Therefore, you must model what you want them to learn in life.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • J. Siegel, D.,  y Berástegui Rubio, J., M. (2014) Tormenta cerebral: El poder y el propósito del cerebro adolescente. Editorial: ALBA

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.