Expanding Our Feelings Vocabulary

To understand and manage our emotions, we need to think about where emotions come from and why we have them.  Although it may sometimes seem that emotions arise automatically, the fact is that emotions are biologically programmed into us to help detect threats.

This module will introduce some basic brain science about where emotions come from, then it will give you practice naming your emotions.  Naming your emotions–sometimes called increasing your feelings vocabulary–will make you better able to cope with challenging emotions. Or, as Psychologist Dr. Dan Siegel says:  “Name it to tame it.” Increasing our emotional literacy helps ensure that emotions inform us, not overwhelm us.

Watch: Increasing Your Feelings Vocabulary

Mental Health Monday: Building Your Feelings Vocabulary (Links to an external site.)

Take note of Ms. Mage’s four questions:

  • Name the feeling. Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions can help.
  • What is the source of the feeling?
  • Where is it in your body? Describe the physical reactions.
  • What does it make you want to do?