Feeling Words for Writing

Journaling or writing Mental health / wellness workbook and can’t think what to write at the moment?:



I feel _______ OR I am feeling ________ because I think_________

happy safe scared sad angry
good natured secure anxious tearful trapped
Jubilant warm butterflies morning annoyed
Joyful trusting Afraid haunted outraged
glad trusted fearful lonely explosive
festive inviting nervous helpless irritated
cheerful desired harassed vulnerable resentful
elated satisfied insecure tragic vengeful
loved receptive unsure bullied provoked
loving free worried disappointed offensive
brotherly certain cowardly ashamed useless
playful self assured desperate repugnant forced
aroused inspired threatened indignant pessimistic
esteemed encouraged suspicious lost dull
confident inspired wary pulled careless
provocative enthralled doubtful lousy apathetic
sexy manic victimized unhappy dispatched
manly , feminine energetic cheated confused uncared
comforted healthy wronged disoriented disjointed
strong pain-free terrified disillusion rejected
optimistic inquisitive alienated stupefied menaced
frisky curious offended stunned agonized
animated dependable hurt perplex menaced
glorious mellow injured doubtful unwanted
energized relaxed crushed worthless disrespected
vigorous affectionate rejected woeful shy
engrossed sympathetic listless energetic Taken advantage of
fluid respected amazed torn
touched flattered disorganized stressed conflicted
bold interested tired humbled ambivalent

This  list is no more than a cheat sheet to provoke ones own personal “feeling word” that describes his/her moment.
I made this and it is free: PDF (adobe reader), Doc (Ms-Word), Odt (writer),
click on the links below to open or download:

There are more downloads on the CHARTS tab/ page. please check them out.


Avoiding Roadblocks in Listening

“Reflective Listening” is using  effective active listening skills, that encourage orderly communication and allow one to listen as objectively and un-coercively as possible to another who is speaking.
Reflective listening above all   – is about listening–  , and giving passive responses and reflection for clarification and encouragement…. as covered in the previous post:Reflective Listening for improved communication

Often when one is listening he or she feel compelled to respond. Without realizing, one is introducing his opinion, experiences, advice and assertions. these “Roadblocks” are statements by a listener that impede the progress of  reflective  listening. Learning to avoid and abstain from “Roadblocks” as much as one can, will make a person a better listener.

Roadblocks to Reflective Listening

Advising or Recommending
What I would do is…”        “What I think you should do is...
Perhaps, you should...”  “Let me suggest….” “I wouldn’t do….
Some would argue it is better to allow  a person to be his or her own problem solver. Giving an advice may make someone depend on advice, have an excuse if the advice another gives didn’t work out, or they may spend more time debating whether its good advise or not, rather than problem solve themselves.

Warning, Preaching, or Directing
You must...”     “You had better...”     “If you don’t …. then..
Its your responsibility…” “you have to…
These statements can make someone feel guilty or obliged,  and don’t encourage or clarify communicating.

Psychoanalyzing or Diagnosing
Your problem is…”              “What’s wrong with you is…
You don’t mean that…”        “What you need is
While it might clarify a speakers motive,  it may sound threating or confusing. and if one is wrong, it  simply impedes communication.

Lecturing and Logic
Do you realize”           “The fact is..”               “yes, but...
Lecturing and using logic is a good idea if you are debating or trying to get your point across, not so good for being objective and open to  listening.

Judging good or bad, Criticizing or Approving
you are just lazy      ”  “thats a good thing to do
Statements like this can make people feel inferior or dependent on someones value judgment. these statements can also cut off communication.

Reassuring or Excusing
Don’t worry...”           “you’ll feel better when...”   “You’ll be fine…
Reassuring isn’t  so bad. We want to make people feel better immediately with some words or reassurance. However,  as an active listener, one will probably  notice    that using reflect listening  (“you are feeling”..) is more encouraging and empathetic.

Closed or leading questions
wouldn’t it be best if”       “Do you  dislike that person...“?
A leading question leads the speaker to answer a particular way. Although direct ,they can interfere with the objectivity and neutrality of listening.

that happened to me once..“,         “that reminds me...
lets discuss it later
Simply says that one is not interested in listening, right now.

I took a training course in active and reflective listening skills some years ago, and like most people, I found it difficult not to use  these “Roadblocks”. while listening in a conversation. It just seem natural to talk of my experiences … and t sometimes that does  makes for good casual conversation.
However  when listening is  important, its ok to say nothing. If  one is compelled to say something, why not use reflecting and open ended question that are part of  listening skills . Sometimes what one abstains from saying is as important as what he or she  says.

This list of  “roadblocks ” are based on the work of Thomas Gordon‘s P.E.T. and L.E.T.

reflective listening for improved communication

If  one wishes to be a good observer of facts ,one withholds judgments,  interferes as little as possible with data, and summarizes what he observes. One must do the same when he or she is listening to what others are saying. One can do this with “Reflective Listening“.

the purpose of  “Reflective  Listening” is to :

  • listen  fully, clarify understand what another person saying.
  • build trust and  a repore with other people.
  • Improve communication
  • Increase  personal  empathy and relatedness

Active Reflective listening:

  1. Use Good Listening Skills.
  2. Withhold judgment while listening
  3. Listen Closely To What is being said, and How something is said.
  4. Pay attention to nonverbal cues: gestures, voice inflections.
  5. Respond to What you hear, and Nothing else.
    • Reflect and Listen
    • Affirm Feeling and Values when express
    • Explore and Encourage a speaker to share
    • Avoid listening “Road blocks “
  6. Summarize
  7. Continue to listen.

Reflecting and Listening

Reflecting tells the person who you are listening to that you understand them, and allows you to passively challenge statements for clarity.

  • I hear you saying………..
  • Sounds like……………….
  • You believe………………….
  • you are confident that….
  • Could it be that……
  • You think that…….
  • Correct me if I, Wrong , but i hear……….
  • From your perspective…………
  • I’m picking up………..
  • The part I understand is…..
  • It Seems as though…………
  • By that you mean…..

Statements, that start like this are known as “Tentafiers” and they avoid introducing any opinion, advice, or talk of your experience. Remember: this is about  better listening  and listening objectively.

Speaker: Its my brother. He borrowed th car again without asking.  He never shows up on time.  Never helps me when I ask for his help. and now he is asking to borrow money again.

Listener: “It sounds to me, that you believe your brother is taking advantage of you”..

Affirming Feeling and Values

Sometimes people talk to get things “off their chest”, or the just need someone to talk to. They may not notice how they are feeling as they talk. Pointing out feelings and values when you here them, challenges the speaker to experience them, more directly as they communicate.
It also tells the speaker “Hey! I know how you Feel” and “I want to know how you are feeling”.

  • You are Feeling……..
  • You Feel……..
  • I hear you saying that,   part of you feels….. and part of you feels….
  • It Sounds  like you really value……

Its  helpful to have  Strong “Emotional Grammar” and Empathy in answering these Tentafiers.
The good news is mastering  Listening helps to improve ones Emotional Grammar and Empathy.
Some Feeling Words:
You are Feeling…….

Angry ,  Unsure ,  Excited ,  Apprehensive ,  Joyful ,  Happy
Suspicious ,  Sad ,  Curious ,  Helpless ,  Cheated ,  Confident ,
Overloaded ,  Stressed, abandoned , Conflicted  , In-love ,  disrespected …

(A   downloadable list of Feeling words can be found  {click Here})

Speaker:“I just got a raise at work and my vacation plans were approved!  I made record time on my drive home! I’m on a roll!

listener: “you’re feeling ecstatic!”

Explore and Encourage.

One doesn’t want to intrude on a speaker when he/she is active – reflectively listening, but we may want to encourage the speaker to clarify what they or saying or talk more specifically about a subject.

I am Wondering….

  • ….what that means to you.
  • ….How you’re feelings about…..

Questions that encourage clarification and specification, that don’t lead the speakers to conclusions , are called “Opened ended  questions“.

  • Can you Tell me more about…?
  • What does that mean to you?
  • What would you like to see happen?
  • What are some of your Options?
  • Could you give me some examples?
  • How did you come to this conclusion?
  • What worked before?
  • Have you felt this way before?
  • Which concern seems most important right now?

It is Recommended that “Open ended Questions” are be used sparingly after reflecting and listening for a while.

Listening “Road Blocks”

Road blocks are statements one tries to avoid as they are nonconstructive to listening.One  don’t wish to interject our opinions, experiences, and advice  while listening.
I will cover road-blocks in the next post.


* ” I’d like to take a moment to summarize so i am clear about…

  • your concerns…”
  • what your feeling…..”
  • what you’ve told me….”

* ” Lets recap the Ground we covered.”

Summarizing is a good way to  express that you’ve been attentive in listening and that you clearly understand the major points the speaker expressed.

In Conclusion

Active Reflective Listening was developed  from the work of Carl Rogers Client Centered Therapy. Reflective Listening is  used professionally by  Law enforcement, EMT, who need to listen to people for facts quickly, business people with clients, etc. It can be use personally to improve oneself and relatedness to friends and family.
After all, most people like “Good Listeners”.

My EQ Emotional Quotient

Your EQ is 140

You are remarkable when it comes to relating with others.
Only the biggest losers get under your skin.You are warm and open. Even when life gets you down,
you’re unafraid of the world and its challenges. 
You are comfortable with who you are. And you accept
your Weaknesses – as well as the weaknesses of others.

While you are quite stable, you don’t respond perfectly to every bad situation that comes up.

But you have enough emotional intelligence to know when you need a course correction.

What’s Your EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient)?

Click the link above to take the fun quiz yourself.
Read more of this post

Some Definitons for Mental Wellness: Mindfulness and Delvopment

Just in time for the New Year. I thought I would share some of the ‘emotional grammar terms and their  respective definitions as I came across them in reading, recently:
These pertain to life long development, are in the opinion of various writers and by no means is this list of definitions exhaustive.
Just some definitions to be mindful of in the  Up coming New Year for me:

Dignity -a sense of self value and worth and the expectation of respect and ethical treatment from others.

Self – Confidence – A sense of control and mastery of ones:
body/mind/behavior, in and interacting with ones ‘world’. A sense that one more likely to succeed than not, while undertaking tasks.

Intentionality – the wish, will and capacity to have impact, and to act upon that impact with perseverance.
Related to sense of competence and (perhaps developing sense of purpose and meaning.)

Self control – the ability to modulate and control ones actions in appropriate way [that meets situation]. related to developing social conduct and (perhaps developing self regulation.)
A sense of inner control.

Relatedness – the ability to engage others, based on being understood by; and understanding of, others. Developing sense of empathy and expressing emotion.

Assertiveness – stating concerns, values and feelings without anger, anxiety or passivity.

Mental Metabolism (gestalt theory thinking) – the developing ability to discover, consider , test, and compare: new ideas, actions, values, relationships in small ‘bites’, and to judge if they be rejected or assimilated.

Curiosity – the sense that finding out about objects, subjects, how things works: is positive and leads to pleasure.

Capacity to Communicate: the wish and ability to communicate: ideas; concepts to others.
related to a sense of “trusting”.

Cooperativeness – the development of ability to balance ones own needs with other’s needs in a group.

I’ll be thinking of these terms  . plus I added a couple extra definitions of ole’ terms  I often use at this blog:

Gestalt -.A whole, form, or configuration. …[ Simkin 1973] … an integration of members of a whole , as contrasted with a Sum total of parts.

Existential – pertaining to a subjects, (eg. person, group, organism, etc.) own existence (eg. participation in life, being, etc.) . some also include pertaining to the purpose or meaning of a subjects existence.

Experiential –  pertaining to a subjects copacity, ability and mindfulness of learning by first hand experience.

As I look at the terms,  in particular the last couple here, I realise I never attempt to be a “intellectual” in using them. Rather I always wish to be  a clear communicator…
…and better communicator.

Have a happy New Years.

How Are You Feeling?

How Are you Feeling? (left)A  greeting sent to me by a good friend sometime ago.
I have often ask  “How are you feeling”  to the people I care about….
forgetting that it is a question that sometimes makes people feel surprised or taken a back.

Why is it so difficult to say how we  feel, simply?

Are we conditioned to hide are feelings from one and other, to “Keep Are Guard up”? is it really a “weakness” to say how one feels?
Or is it a weakness in our childhood and adolescence education that we are never taught to express our feelings in simple words.

in all my schooling,  including Geometry to Calculus, History to Civics, literature and Grammar… all to make me better…
I never had a class in Emotional Literacy or Emotional Grammar.

With the amount of school kids who lash out or develop emotional problems at school age…. wouldn’t make sense to have short course on being able to express feelings in words?

I feel excited, brotherly, and confident  because I am posting   Feeling Words

I AM FEELING ________

First  Simple Feeling words:

afraid curious happy mad
sad conflicted disconnected tuned in
pleasureful sore ( pain) healthy ill
alert tired confident unsure
empty peaceful aroused overwhelmed


When I say “I”  I mean the  whole of me.
Feelings Happen in our  Mind /Body / outside -world -Interaction
when I say “feel” it is the sensations   in my feet to my chest to my face; my awareness; my thinking my perception.
My Feelings are mine to feel.

Some feelings are more bodily and simple.
I feel  exhausted… I feel panicky…I feel hungry…I feel ticklish..

Some are more complex and connected to thinking…
e.g. “I feel cheated…I feel stigmatized…I feel old fashioned”.

Some feelings more about our outside needs…
e.g. “I feel lonely…, I feel sociable… I feel irresistibly curious

Conflicting Feelings

Feelings often over-layer to others in a moment, and expressing emotional literacy  can reveal the depth, especially in  choice making.
example I feel:
conflicted“, “torn“, ” choice- less”, “ambivalent“,” pulled apart”
one part of me feels_________ ( because, I think…
and another  part of me feels_________ (because I think…..

Categorizing emotion for Personal Therapies

I think being able to express emotional literacy in writing or speech, is very helpful in becoming aware of feelings in gradients, before they become explosive. Emotional grammar can help with Anger management or emotional management.

1 bothered 1 busy
2 annoyed 2 stressed
3 angry 3 pressured
4 furious 4 overloaded
5 explosive 5 overwhelmed

Although each feeling is unique, it would be advantageous to become aware of the feeling of “annoyed”  or “stressed” before becoming aware of  “explosive” or “overwhelmed” , in the case of anger management or emotional management.

In my opinion, feelings or emotions are not to be rigidly categorized. but we may detect relationships such as  “feeling annoyed ” to “feeling furious“.
But all this Emotional grammar is about  our awareness.
I have often seen web pages that, try to categorize emotions in some sort of “should be” model… all the “Happy” Emotions belong together… “Negative” Emotions, “Anxiety” Emotions
categorizing feeling words is to fit a particular need.
If I were a suicide hot line worker, for example… I might be listening for pre categorized “negative” feeling words or feelings loosely attributed to Depression  from a caller because, it fits the situation.

Often enough though,  One can feel:
irritable and aroused;  sociable and anxious; happy and guilty
at the same time. loosely categorizing feelings, In my opinion, is for the purpose of suiting ones personal therapeutic needs.

A long list of feeling words can be found at:


I am an  interaction.
my body/ my inner world of thought and memories/my outside world.

  • How I interpret “Facts” (what I believe, know, perceive)  affects how I Feel.
  • How I Feel affects how I interpret “Facts”.

example statement…
“I feel overloaded because, I think I have alot of work that I must complete today.”
I Feel Worthless because, I think I didn’t complete as much work as I should have.”

from a cognitive- rational point of  view:  one  may point out that,
feeling “overloaded” or worthless” is irrational if one cannot do work that is beyond ones limits…rationally one can only do so much work.
more appropriately,
the feeling is valid, but thinking “should have been able to more work than my limits” is irrational and is therefore a thought error.

However, I believe that  writing or verbalizing emotional literacy statements such as
“I Feel_______because,    I think_______”
“I Feel_______ because,    I believe_________”

are important because,
I can become more aware of how I am:  intaking, interpreting ; assessing  formulating what is “fact” or believe….
affect and are affected by how I Feel.

The Present moment.

Feelings happen in the present moment, although our experience allow us to predict possible future feelings.

Monday morning I am going to feel stressed.”
for the purposes of ones self therapy (journaling, speaking,etc.)using emotional literacy, it would be more accurate to say:
“I believe that I will be feeling stressed on Monday morning
or , more directly and present centered:
I am feeling apprehensive and dreadful (now) because, I believe Monday morning.…”.
the point is being aware of the present centered or (Here and Now) feeling.

If I am to understand assess describe my reality, I must understand and describe how I feel about my reality and how I feel in my reality.

How Are You Feeling?

Emotional Vocabulary and Literacy. more grammar foibals

Emotional vocabulary: A  single word or short phrase that best describes how one feels in the here and now.

I feel Happy“, “I Feel tired“,  “I feel sad“….

Emotional literacy: Being able to clearly and confidently express ones emotions in words.

I took  classes for Rogerian  Active listening (for a volunteer service) and I discovered that my own Emotional Vocabulary and Literacy was very weak.
I felt surprised because, I thought my Emotional vocabulary was limited “.

In fact, A word exist to describe a personality trait for not being able to express feelings in words: ” Alexithymia

So I worked on my literacy.

Some examples of Emotional literacy:

  • I feel like  no one understands me  and they won’t be my friend.” common mistake and indirect
  • I feel Alienated.”  – correct and more direct.
  • I feel alienated…because I think no one understands me and won’t be my friend. – correct and descriptive about ones thoughts”

Another example:

  • I feel like I am able to get this project done quickly.” (no no.)
  • I feel confident“. ( better and direct.)
  • I feel confident because, I think I am able to do this project quickly” (well said).

Another example of  learning to speak with emotional literacy:
”  You make me happy when you visit.”  (very indirect)
I feel happy when you visit.” (directly stated feeling)
Can you see the difference?

I and my classmates wrote down as many “feeling words” as we could in our class, to see how emotionally literate we were.
I think its a great drill, and I have worked to expand my own emotional vocabulary.

The following are examples of some feeling words.

Defeated, lonely   cheated,  betrayed  greif-strucken, deflated,
helpless, lathargic, uncaring, used, heart broken,
Explosive, paranoid,  annoyed, simmering,
Suspicious afraid, fearful, confused, jealous, empty,
unfocused, crisp confident,dull, powerful, motivated, in control,
Happy, loved, brotherly, playful,joyful,exited,exuberent
frustrated, ambivalent,pulled apart stuck, frozen
Curious, investigative, driven

A very large list of feeling words is located at:


You can write your own list, to see how emotionally literate you are.

If you get stuck remember these four basic feeling words : Mad,Sad,Glad, Afraid and see if you can find more descriptive words to replace them.

I  feel excited because, I think that  you would do well!