As women we get so used to having to take care of people we forget how to take care of ourselves, and more importantly, don’t stop to express and take in what our emotions have to teach us. So how do we fair when it comes to managing emotions as an expat?

We seem to be used to neglecting/ignoring the very negative emotions.

Did you hear the same lines when growing up, “don’t get angry. You look so ugly when you’re angry”?

So what do you do to express these emotions? We cry, to express anger. We cry because we see it as a socially accepted way for a woman to show her anger, her irritability or annoyance.

But, is the response correct? Our emotions have valuable information to teach us about ourselves, and if we’re not listening to them as expats they have the potential to do damage to our mental health. What about emotionally healthy expat living?

What emotion are you feeling? Are you managing emotions as an expat?

When clients come to me, they are so used to neglecting that anger and managing emotions as an expat. They are not in contact with their anger. They can’t even name the emotion as anger. They say they know they have irritability and that’s it.

But, that’s the anger. The word angry, I’m angry, it takes a couple of sessions to get it out of your system because we have learnt to neglect or ignore the emotion for some time.

Once we name the emotion though, it doesn’t stop there. We also have to learn how to express it.

Should we be used to crying when angry? Is that how we should express it?

At the root of all this, and when you can finally identify what the emotion is, finding out what that emotion has to teach us is important to dealing with it and managing emotions as an expat.

what emotion are you feeling - frustrated woman

What is the purpose of emotions?

Emotions are neither good or bad. Emotions, every single one of them, have something to tell us, they have a purpose.

The goal for sadness?

To cry, is to lower your energy, to take you back from where you are, and take care of yourself. Lower your energy, recharge your batteries, and rest. That’s the purpose of sadness.

The purpose of anger?

To move you to change. When we are angry, we are reacting to injustice, we are reacting to something, whether that’s a boundary that was stepped on or something crossed. We are reacting to something that is wrong, and we are not happy with it. We’re not happy, it is damaging us.

What happens when you don’t deal with these emotions properly?

When you cry your anger out why are you you’re tired? That’s the purpose of tears.

But the anger is still there. You don’t release it you just calm down.

So what happens? It comes back, and it comes back stronger. So, what do we do as women? We direct it towards ourselves.

Again, this is because we are still inherently brought up to have to take care of people.

How can you release the emotion and address it?

The key to managing emotions as an expat. What can you do release the emotion and address it?

The purpose of anger is to move us to change, reacting to injustice, that’s the information that anger is giving us. So now we have to focus on the need. What need do I do I have to fulfil, so that anger goes away or calms down (and you’re not ignoring it).

I had a situation where what was going on was completely internal. I had a meltdown as we say, I was crying and I was just looking back and asked “why am I in this situation? I didn’t do anything wrong. So why am I so frustrated?” I realised that it was anger, I was angry at myself and angry at the world.

In that situation and specifically focused on anger, releasing that emotion means being able to focus on what it has to teach you.

Releasing the emotion you could:

  1. Sleep on it
  2. Go for a walk outside
  3. Go wash the dishes
  4. Walk up and down the stairs for 5 minutes
  5. Shake your body out
  6. Scream into your pillow

I’m a firm believer that movement, taking action, physical action is going to change our brain much more than thinking, dwelling and trying to plan, whatever it is that you’re doing in your brain.

Do you find yourself getting a knot in your stomach when you’ve got a lot coming at you and you’re behind? Are your reactions just to spiral, to self-deprecate?

Is that part of leading an emotionally healthy expat living?

Instead do something, something that you don’t have to think about but gets you moving.

What Our Emotions Have to Teach Us - Pinterest

Being mental health, or health aware and willing to work on yourself with the purpose of getting better, to feel better and understand yourself better is core to what I do as an expat psychologist in my online counseling. It’s core to managing emotions as an expat and emotionally healthy expat living.

When you do that, your life improves substantially and sustainably in not only for a moment.

Remember you’re not alone. There are many other expats who go through or are going through what you are. Don’t sit with it, learn how to navigate your emotions so you can take action on what they have to teach you. You deserve to live your best expat life, working with an expat psychologist through online counseling to develop strategies and coping mechanisms can help you navigate that expat experience.

Find out more about my methods and approach here.

Do you want to know more about on how to overcome Limiting Beliefs of life abroad? Check my Workshop here

Searching for useful and effective strategies? Download my 9 Tools to overcome Expat Anxiety Freebie

Want your 30-Minute Free Consultation? Book Here! and let’s start the road to the expat life YOU want to live!

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By your side,


If you are an expat woman who wants to live a joyful, successful and fulfilled international​ life, Gabriela is the Licensed Psychologist and Mentor you need.

She helps you reclaim your self-confidence back and design your expat life in your own terms. Gabriela has more than 20 years of professional experience, speaks 3 languages (sometimes in one sentence, like you!) and has supported more than 350 expats overcome anxiety and burnout, build meaningful relationships and enjoy their international lives, wherever they are, wherever they are heading.

Gabriela offers counseling to expat women in Spanish, English and German.