Name that Emotion
Why does it seem difficult to put a name to the feelings that well up in response to everything we encounter in the course of a day? We tend to get into patterns of automatic response – you might very well recognize that when greeting someone.
“How are you?”
What emotion does ‘fine’ convey? Satisfaction, boredom, resignation? Happiness? Fine-ness?
When we are asked how we are feeling, the answer often starts with a story. It may concern how the day has begun, how traffic was that morning, or what we haven’t yet been able to cross off the perpetual to-do list. Or it may be about what we have yet to face in the course of a day, be it a meeting or a workout, picking up the kids or deciding what to feed them that they will hopefully eat!
The trick is to avoid the story, when you are searching for a name for your current state of mind. Our emotions don’t require justification, but we do benefit from recognizing what we are feeling. It gives us the opportunity to observe patterns so we can see habits of response. How many mornings do you wake up feeling overwhelmed? How many times do you feel guilty for skipping the gym? Alternately, when you do make it to your workout, do you feel grateful afterward? Proud of your accomplishments, or inferior to the other people you see?
These are only a few examples. I encourage you to save a copy of this fantastic tool created by Kaitlin Robbs, an English teacher. Review it now & then to see what emotions resonate with you, or whenever you have trouble putting a name on your current state of mind.