Alexithymia: [3 TIPS] To Regain the Ability to Name Your Emotions

I came across the word alexithymia while reading the book “Emotional Agility” by the Psychologist Susan David. Like me, you may have had or have alexithymia without knowing.

Although it is a difficulty millions of people struggle with every day, there isn’t a clinical diagnosis for alexithymia. However, psychologists have been able to link it to a range of mental health disorders like depression, PTSD, schizophrenia, and autism.

You don’t have to have a mental health disorder to display alexithymic personality traits. For instance, traumatic experiences can cause you to withdraw into yourself and repress emotions, which will result in a lack of emotional awareness.

What is Alexithymia? 

Alexithymia means “having no words for emotions”. It defines a person’s inability to identify, differentiate or describe emotions both in oneself and others. The symptoms of alexithymia include dysfunction in emotional awarenesssocial attachment, and interpersonal relating.

“Trouble labelling emotions is associated with poor mental health, dissatisfaction in jobs and relationships and […] physical symptoms like headaches and backaches. It’s as if their feelings are being expressed physically rather than verbally.” (S. David 2016). 

Treatment for Alexithymia

For the moment, there isn’t a treatment for alexithymia. However, psychologists recommend numerous resources and solutions to deal with and even get over it.

Daily Journaling is something I highly advise you to do. It will help you keep your thoughts organised, relieve stress or fear, improve your communication skills and emotional awareness and creativity.
I started journaling in 2014 to understand my feelings and depression better. The goal was also to have the opportunity to, later, reflect on them and readjust my life.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a treatment approach that helps you recognise negative or unhelpful thought and behaviour patterns. It aims at helping you identify and explore the ways your emotions and thoughts can affect your actions. Once you notice these patterns, you can begin learning to reframe your thoughts more positively and helpfully.
I have seen a therapist for two and a half years. I learned to address and accept my emotions by being self-compassionate. I also learned to expand my vocabulary when it comes to describing my feelings.

You can Do it too!

Words have enormous power. Knowing how to label emotions can be transformative and help you improve your life, health, career and relationships. 

Below you will find an emotional word wheel that will help you identify and describe your emotions. But also, understand its nuances. For example, are you stressed or anxious? Are you frustrated or angry?

These are questions we should ask ourselves when having a negative emotion. By labelling it right, you can take action to accept it as it is, i.e. information, and move forward in ways that align with your values and intentions. I hope you will enjoy it. 

Here is an emotional word wheel to help you identify and describe your emotions. More on my blog.

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