Often times just putting a name to what you’re feeling can help you understand it better and work to overcome these emotions. Below is a list of words describing different nuances of emotion. Read through this list of emotionally-laden words, and on a separate piece of paper, write down those that best describe what you’re currently feeling:
Abandoned Angry Anxious Agitated Apprehensive
Abused Bad Confused Distracted Depressed
Degraded Distressed Disgruntled Disinterested
Detached Frustrated Frightened Fearful Furious
Guilty Grief stricken Helpless Homesick Held back
Inferior Inadequate Indifferent Invalidated Irate
Insecure Incensed Insignificant Lonely Numb
Neglected Oppressed Overwhelmed Panicky
Powerless Remorseful Repressed Restricted
Sad Selfish Shy Small Stuck Timid
Trapped Thwarted Unable Uncertain
As you read through this list, you may have been surprised to discover certain words struck an unexpected nerve, and that you’re feeling things you weren’t consciously aware of. Now pick out 4 or 5 of the ones that describe what you’re feeling most, and for each one, speculate on what it is that’s making you feel this way. Try to be as specific as possible.
Next, go through this list of neutral and positive-leaning words, and pick out 3-5 that best describe how you’d like to feel:
Able Accepted Acknowledged Adequate Alive
Assured Authentic Brave Certain Cheerful
Comfortable Clear Compassionate Cherished
Confident Content Competent Determined
Detached Enthusiastic Enlightened Friendly
Good Happy Indifferent Jolly Loved
Motivated Optimistic Positive Powerful
Protected Resolved Satisfied Secure Sure
Once you have your list of positive emotions, ask and answer the following questions about each list:
- Are any of these emotions tied to specific ideas? If so, what are those ideas?
- Are such ideas your own, or do they come from others? If you changed these ideas, would you still feel the same?
- What is the relationship between the negative emotions you’re feeling and what you’d like to feel?
- Is there anything tangible keeping you from feeling that way now, or is it all a matter of mind?