This is the bit of the website that we've written especially for people who are aged about 8-16.
We know that talking about feelings can be really difficult sometimes, so we hope that this little guide can help you feel a bit more confident.
You might have heard some of these words before.
They are all to do with emotions and feelings.
All of these feelings are a normal part of being human.
Feelings start in the brain, but are felt in the body. You know that you're feeling something through these signals.
You might have experienced some of the following:
Butterflies in stomach
"Sinking feeling" in chest
The urge to hit, kick, headbutt or throw something
Finding it harder to breathe than usual
There is no such thing as a "good" or "bad" feeling, but some of them feel nice, and others feel less nice.
BUT WHAT ARE FEELINGS FOR?
Feelings that are pleasant to experience are your brains way of saying - "yes, that is good! do more of that!"
Unpleasant feelings are your brain's way of saying "something's not right, you might need to do something differently"
Feelings are created in the body by hormones and chemicals released in the brain.
They are created in response to the things that happen to you or around you to help you figure out what needs to happen next.
Sadness can happen if something has happened which has upset you. You may feel weak or low in energy, have a 'sinking feeling' in your stomach, cry or feel like crying.
It is your brain's way of saying "I wish that [that thing] didn't happen/have to happen”
Anxiety is very common. It feels a bit like worry, fear or stress. You might feel headaches, tension in your jaw, sickness, stomach aches or shortness of breath or have butterflies in your tummy. Often, with anxiety, we might not know how we feel - it sometimes feels like words can't describe it.
It is your brain's way of saying "you need to be alert to something”
Sometimes, when we find out information that is unexpected, that was offensive or critical to us or that is really undesirable, we might feel physical pain. It can be in the chest, jaw, collarbones, throat, head, eyes or arms. It might feel hot, sharp, cold, dull, buzzing, thudding... and you may feel other accompanying feelings.
It is your brain's way of saying “Ouch!"
Depression is the feeling that happens when you are feeling helpless, powerless, out of control or without hope. You may feel entirely flat and struggle to find joy in anything. You might have heard someone say that you can "have" depression. If you've been feeling this way for a while (more than 1 week), you should seek help from a trusted adult.
Anger might feel hot, heavy, urgent or demanding of your attention. You might notice tension in your jaw, head or muscles. You might be red in the face or talk using a harsh tone of voice. You might feel the urge to punch, kick or headbutt something, or even throw things.
It is your brain's way of saying "Something is crossing my boundaries".
Irritation is a kind of low-level anger. You might notice yourself being snappy, having a short temper or having headaches, a tense jaw or other pains in your body. It is your brain's way of alerting you to the fact that something isn't quite right - there might be something you're not dealing with or ignoring, something that you're not saying that you'd like to say, or need to do that you're avoiding.
WHY AM I FEELING THIS WAY?!
Sometimes feelings will last for a few minutes, hours or days, and even though it is horrible, that is totally part of being human. There's nothing wrong with you, even if you've been feeling this way for a long time. Feelings are signals, and you can trust them. They are usually trying to tell you something that is quite reasonable and you deserve to be listened to - even if you don't always feel like its worth hearing.
There are some things that we all know are really hard, and if you've experienced any of these things its quite likely that there will be some longer-lasting unpleasant feelings that accompany it:
A death or loss (of a family member, friend, pet or someone you admire)
A break up or divorce (of parents, grandparents or your own relationship)
Experiencing violence personally or witnessing violence
Experiencing arguments or witnessing arguments
Having someone say unkind or hurtful things to you
Having a person close to you go through something really difficult
However, sometimes things that we often think of as 'normal' can cause a lot of difficult or overwhelming feelings - friendships, exams, family, social media, pressure to look or act a certain way, changing schools, moving house, going through puberty, understanding your sexuality or gender identity... and they can all be enough to make life really difficult for a while.
SO WHAT DO I DO NEXT?
I need a therapist!
You might benefit from talking to someone about the way you're feeling. We can do that. If you think it would be helpful, you can fill in the referral form below and we'll get in touch with you. Below that, there are also some other websites that might be useful if you'd like to find out more about feelings, mental health and types of support available.
Other Support Available
Emergency Support Helplines
- 999 (if you are in immediate danger or feeling suicidal)
- Childline: 0800 11 11
- Muslim Youth Helpline: 0808 808 2008
- Papyrus- Hopeline UK: 0800 068 4141
- Samaritans 116 123