The Full Range of Emotional Expression

emotional expression

It’s easy for most people to identify common emotions such as happy, sad, angry or surprised. But there is such a wide range of emotions that go beyond these well-known few; sometimes what you’re feeling is so much more than happiness or anger. You need a word to help pinpoint exactly what’s going on inside. The following lists offer up a full range of emotional expression to help you identify exactly what you might be feeling – negative or positive. And once you know what you’re really dealing with, it’s far easier to figure out what you want to do about it!

Negative Feelings

Annoyed

  • bitter
  • edgy
  • exasperated
  • fractious
  • frustrated
  • impatient
  • irritable
  • irked
  • peeved

Discomfort

  • agitated
  • alarmed
  • discombobulated
  • disturbed
  • perturbed
  • rattled
  • restless
  • shocked
  • startled
  • surprised
  • troubled
  • turbulent
  • uncomfortable
  • uneasy
  • unsettled

Sad

  • depressed
  • despondent
  • disappointed
  • discouraged
  • disheartened
  • dismayed
  • gloomy
  • heavy-hearted
  • hopeless
  • troubled
  • unhappy
  • wretched

Angry

  • agitated
  • enraged
  • exasperated
  • furious
  • irate
  • outraged
  • quarrelsome
  • resentful
  • upset
  • vengeful
  • vindictive

Disconnected

  • ambivalent
  • apathetic
  • bored
  • complacent
  • distant
  • distracted
  • indifferent
  • numb
  • uninterested
  • withdrawn
  • “checked-out”

Stressed/Tired

  • burned-out
  • depleted
  • drained
  • drawn
  • edgy
  • exhausted
  • listless
  • overwhelmed
  • restless
  • spent
  • weary
  • worn out

Aversion

  • appalled
  • contempt
  • disgusted
  • dislike
  • disdain
  • horrified
  • repulsed

Embarrassed

  • ashamed
  • flustered
  • guilty
  • self-conscious
  • chagrined
  • humiliated

 Vulnerable

  • fragile
  • guarded
  • helpless
  • insecure
  • leery
  • reserved
  • sensitive
  • shaky

Confused

  • baffled
  • bewildered
  • dazed
  • dumbstruck
  • hesitant
  • lost
  • mystified
  • nonplussed
  • perplexed
  • puzzled
  • torn

Fearful

  • afraid
  • apprehensive
  • anxious
  • distressed
  • frightened
  • guarded
  • hesitant
  • nervous
  • panicked
  • paralyzed
  • petrified
  • querulant
  • scared
  • suspicious
  • tense
  • terrified
  • watchful
  • vigilant

Yearning

  • envious
  • jealous
  • longing
  • pining
  • wishful

Positive Feelings

Affectionate

  • compassionate
  • friendly
  • inclusive
  • kindly
  • loving
  • receptive
  • sympathetic
  • tender
  • warm

Grateful

  • appreciative
  • moved
  • thankful
  • touched
  • hopeful
  • encouraged
  • expectant
  • optimistic

Rested

  • alert
  • alive
  • energized
  • invigorated
  • refreshed
  • rejuvenated
  • relaxed
  • renewed
  • replenished
  • restored
  • strong

Interested

  • absorbed
  • alert
  • amazed
  • awed
  • curious
  • enchanted
  • engaged
  • fascinated
  • intrigued
  • inspired
  • invigorated
  • motivated
  • rapt
  • spellbound
  • stimulated
  • transported

Hopeful

  • confident
  • encouraged
  • expectant
  • optimistic

Glad

  • alive
  • amused
  • cheerful
  • encouraged
  • energetic
  • enthusiastic
  • excited
  • grateful
  • happy
  • hopeful
  • joyful
  • optimistic
  • pleased
  • thrilled
  • wonderment

Peaceful

  • balanced
  • calm
  • comfortable
  • centered
  • composed
  • content
  • equanimous
  • fulfilled
  • relaxed
  • relieved
  • satisfied
  • serene
  • tranquil

Feelings based on the book by Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD, titled Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, published in 2003 by Puddledancer Press.

Sensations

The following words are examples of sensation words, that is, a sense felt within the physical body more than felt as an emotional response. It is best to be alert to temperature, texture, movement, and/or image to determine the description of sensations.

  • bubbly
  • buzzy
  • chilled
  • clammy
  • cold
  • contained
  • expanded
  • flowing
  • gentle
  • hard
  • heavy
  • hot
  • icy
  • jittery
  • jumpy
  • loose
  • numb
  • quiet
  • pounding
  • pulsing
  • quiet
  • relaxed
  • rhythmic
  • rigid
  • ringing
  • settled
  • slow
  • smooth
  • snappy
  • soft
  • sparkly
  • stiff
  • still
  • stuck
  • streaming
  • tingling
  • twitchy
  • uplifted
  • vibrating
  • warm

Adapted with permission from the Hoffman Institute Foundation, based in San Rafael, California.

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