Gambling Awareness Project Sheffield

Making sense of feelings

Feelings can be hard to make sense of. You might be having new feelings you don't understand, like:

  • Just not feeling yourself
  • Feeling something isn't right
  • Finding it hard to enjoy things you normally would, like seeing friends or partners, or doing your favourite hobby
  • Feeling like you want to be alone
  • Having strange thoughts you don't understand
  • Feeling energetic or hyper
  • Struggling to concentrate or focus
  • Feeling out of control


How can I recognise what I’m feeling?

Recognising your feelings is the first step towards understanding them and learning how to cope with them.

It might feel difficult at first, but with time and practice, it will get easier.


Here are our top tips:

  • Set aside time to check in with how you’re feeling. You could use a notebook, journal or your phone to write down your feelings.
  • Practise paying attention to your feelings in the moment. For example, how do you feel when doing something you enjoy? Or how do you feel when doing something you find difficult or scary?
  • Express your feelings creatively. You could draw, paint or try arts and crafts.
  • Talk to yourself like you would to a good friend. You could ask yourself: ‘Is this a new feeling?’ or ‘What does this feel similar to?’


Remember: how we experience our feelings is unique to each of us. Your feelings and reactions might be different to others, even towards the same thing, and that’s okay. You might also feel lots of different things at once, and that’s okay too.

Although it’s important to pay attention to your feelings and try to recognise them, you don’t need to do it all the time. Making time to relax and clear your mind is just as important for your wellbeing. Take as many breaks as you need.


Why am I feeling this way?

There are lots of things that can affect the way you feel, like:

  • Problems at home, school, or in your relationships and friendships
  • Losing someone important to you
  • Confusion about who you are, your sexuality or beliefs
  • Big events or changes in your life
  • Pressure from yourself or others
  • Feeling lonely or like nobody understands you
  • Feeling unwell
  • Being bullied
  • Being abused
  • Worrying about what's happening in the world or on the news
  • Worrying about things you see on social media
  • Experiencing something traumatic or frightening


Sometimes there might not be a reason for what you’re feeling, and that’s okay. You’re not alone and you still deserve help. 

When we’re really busy, like if we have exams or have started a new job… we might forget to check in with how we're feeling and that could lead to negative feelings building up.


Are my feelings becoming a mental health problem?

As we get older, we go through lots of emotional and physical changes. We might experience a range of feelings from moment to moment, or day to day, and some can feel more difficult to manage.

If the way you’re feeling, thinking or acting lasts for a long time, becomes difficult to cope with, or stops you from doing the things you enjoy, it might be a sign that you need more help.

Remember: deserve help if you’re struggling to cope.

Low mood doesn't need to be caused by anything. It can just occur, and that is okay!


When should I ask for help?

It's normal to wonder whether you can handle things on your own, or even just feel like you don't know where to start. Whatever you’re feeling, big or small, you don't need to cope on your own.

It doesn’t matter how long you have been struggling with your feelings, it’s always okay to ask for help.


Why should I ask for help?

Asking for help can feel like a really hard step, but reaching out for support can help you to:

  • Find support to help with how you're feeling
  • Feel like you're not alone
  • Share how you feel with someone you trust
  • Understand your feelings better
  • Speak to a professional
  • Stop things from getting worse
  • Start to feel better
  • It's important to try and learn to recognise and address these feelings, and get the right support at that time to cope with them.


What can I do right now?

You could:

  • Think about how you can share your feelings with someone you know. You could talk to a friend, partner or trusted adult.
  • Call a helpline to have a confidential chat with an advisor. Sometimes it’s easier to talk to someone you don’t know.
  • Visit your doctor..
  • Explore options for support.
  • Take some time to do something you enjoy or find relaxing.