Top Ten Tips for emotional literacy

Published Categorized as emotional literacy, Understanding emotions, Videos

I made this video: Top ten tips for emotional literacy to give some general advice about emotions and becoming more emotionally literate. Here are the top ten tips that are outlined in greater detail in the video.


1) Understand emotions are a normal part of being human and we all have them. It’s good to acknowledge them or they might turn up in more aggressive or unpredictable ways.

2) Never think of emotions as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. It’s better to think of them as enjoyable or unenjoyable.

3) As humans we need to expect to feel both enjoyable and unenjoyable emotions. It is completely unrealistic to think that we can feel happy all of the time.

4) You can improve your emotional literacy quite quickly by doing ‘emotional check ins’ where you think about what you are feeling and what you have been feeling.

5) Because we rarely make good choices when we are gripped by a powerful emotion, it’s always a good idea to take time out before we react.

6) Remember we can’t always help what we feel, but we should be able to always choose how we behave.

7) You are responsible for your own emotional reactions. Try and get out of the habit of blaming others for your emotional responses as this rarely helps.

8) Use ‘I messages’ to express how you feel as this is less blaming and less disputable! e.g. ‘I feel angry when people tease me.’

9) Try hard to empathise when others are having an emotional reaction – even if their emotional ‘outburst’ is making you uncomfortable.

10) Work out coping strategies that work for you when you are experiencing a strong unenjoyable emotion.