Expressing how you feel


Understanding emotions are a critical part of the human experience. 

in simple words

: a conscious mental reaction (such as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body. : a state of feeling. : the affective aspect of consciousness : feeling.

~American Psychological Association

identifying emotions

Words matter. Identifying how you feel is critical in understanding why you think and behave the way you do. Using specific language will first help you get to the root of your feelings. Secondly, it will help you communicate your experience in a way that others can begin to understand. 

universal experience

Every human feels emotions. We all have felt sad, angry, afraid, embarrassed, jealous, happy, brave...

According to psychology professor, James Gross, there are 4 components of feeling an emotion:

the situation you are in (whatever is happening to you at that moment)
the details you pay attention to
your appraisal of what the situation means for you personally
your response, including the physical changes (like blushing or shaking), and your behaviors (like shouting or crying)

Deeper Dive: 

This 4-step situation | attention | appraisal | response sequence is call the Modal Model of Emotion.

Name your emotion

There are a several theories of emotion that help us organize different emotions and help us understand how they relate to each other. 

Discrete (Basic) Theory of Emotion: the premise in this theory is emotions are separate, discreet and are basic because they originate from having to deal with fundamental life tasks.

Although these five emotions are basic and discreet they still vary in intensity. Each basic emotion may include varied emotional experiences.

Discrete (Basic) emotion Theory

Enjoyment: a positive emotions that include other positive emotional experiences:

Sadness: a low-activation | low energy negative emotion that includes:
Fear: a high-activation, avoidance-motivated negative emotion include fear-related list:
Anger: Like fear, anger is a high-activation negative emotion. Anger is an approach-motivated emotion including:
Disgust: an avoidance-motivated emotion includes these other emotions:

Name your emotion

A well-known model that suggests there are primary, secondary, and tertiary emotions. Each of the emotions can be combined to create new emotions. Take a look at the list of emotions from Plutnik's model:

Plutnik's Wheel of emotions





Name your emotion

Positive emotions are pleasant and desirable states of being. Most of us equate positive emotions to happiness but it more complex than this. Positive emotions range from high-energy emotions like excitement to low-energy positive emotions like calmness. The extent to which these emotions are desired is deeply personal. 

For example, I prefer calmness. I would consider it to be a positive emotion, but you may prefer excitement.

Here is a list of the most common positive emotions:

positive emotions


Negative emotions are unpleasant and undesirable states. Although they are non-pleasurable doesn't mean they aren't helpful. For example, fear helps us escape danger; anger can help you defend yourself; and sadness may help you seek help from family and friends.

We need both negative and positive emotions, we just need to learn how to effectively regulate our emotions.

Here is a list of the most common negative emotions:

negative emotions


We have talked about a lot of words that can be used to describe our emotions but you should also understand that all words have an emotional tone. In fact, at least one study* assessed the emotional tone of hundreds of words to see how people perceived the words - negatively or positively. 

What does this mean? For example, when you hear the word "catastrophic" you assume it's something bad. However, when you hear the word, "love" we assume that it's positive. We experience every word as emotional, even words that are not inherently emotional. We assign words meaning. Words create an experience in the imagination of the reader or listener.

It's critically important to be in touch with your emotions (AKA emotional intelligence) because your feelings are indicators about what's going with you and what's happening in your life. Emotions tell us what we need and want - or don't want. They also tell us what we need to hear even if it's something we do not want to hear. Emotions give us the option to tune-in.

Being aware of your emotions can help you talk about your feelings clearly. They help you to communicate those needs and wants. Being in touch with your feelings will help you avoid or resolve conflicts with ease. They also guide you to process difficult feelings more effectively. 

It is important to feel all of your feelings, I mean fully experience your emotions in order to sort out what you really want and think. They help you choose actions and behavior that correlates with your desires. Just for clarity, feeling your emotions is totally different than allowing your emotions to run your life or dictate your behavior!

You know how important self-care is to your wellbeing right? Blocked emotions are linked to mental illness, heart disease, intestinal problems, headaches, insomnia, and autoimmune disorders, just to name a few. Emotional intelligence is self-love.

    To help you alleviate emotional stress, may I offer you a list of 250+ emotions to help you identify what you're feeling. Please click the button below to download the, Name that Emotion printable. Share in the comments below if you identify with new emotions or ones that speak to you personally. 

I'll go first, I am aware when I am feeling "dispirited" because it leads to me feeling, "indifferent" and that looks like I don't care. I have hurt others with apathy and that's not cool. #selfawareness #innerwork

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It's Your Turn. Get Your Voice in the Conversation

If you have a few more minutes I'd love for you to check out a few more articles. In the meantime, please share your thoughts below, I'd love to hear from you. Don't be shy. It's ok to be the first. Be bold. We all would hear what you think. 


I guide women to display their best attributes and strengths in the best possible light while boldly exhibiting their genuine genius.

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