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Emotional Intelligence, Emotions

How Are You Feeling? Your (Surprisingly Detailed) Emotional Cheat Sheet

You may be feeling jittery, jealous, furious, frazzled, panic-stricken, petrified, lonely, bewildered. If someone asks you how you’re feeling, chances are you’ll say “awful”, or another vague word that won’t communicate your specific emotion.

Expressing our feelings can be harder than it seems. Most of us aren’t always in touch with how we feel, and even when we are, we don’t always know how to articulate our emotions. On top of that, saying how we truly feel makes us vulnerable, something we’ve learned to think of as negative.

But learning to identify and name our feelings helps us gain self-awareness, improves our communication, and increases our chances of getting exactly what we need. When we know how we truly feel and can articulate it,  we’re better able to help ourselves and get help from others. We’re also better able express gratitude.

To be specific about how you feel, you first need to know the wide range of emotions you can experience. Use this detailed list (created by Center for Nonviolent Communication), to expand your emotional vocabulary:


Friendly, affectionate, compassionate, loving, open-hearted, sympathetic, tender, warm

Curious, absorbed, alert, curious, engrossed, enchanted, engaged, entranced, fascinated, intrigued, interested, involved, spellbound, stimulated, hopeful

Confident, empowered, open, proud, safe, secure

Excited, amazed, animated, ardent, aroused, astonished, dazzled, eager, energetic, enthusiastic, giddy, invigorated, lively, passionate, surprised, vibrant

Grateful, appreciative, moved, thankful, touched

Inspired, amazed, awed

Happy, amused, delighted, glad, joyful, jubilant, pleased, tickled

Hopeful, expectant, encouraged, optimistic

Calm, clear-headed, comfortable, centered, equanimous, fulfilled, mellow, peaceful, quiet, relaxed, relieved, satisfied, serene, still, tranquil, trusting

Refreshed, enlivened, rejuvenated, renewed, rested, restored, revived 


Afraid, apprehensive, foreboding, frightened, mistrustful, panicked, scared, suspicious, terrified, wary, worried

Annoyed, aggravated, dismayed, disgruntled, displeased, exasperated, frustrated, impatient, irritated, irked

Angry, enraged, furious, incensed, indignant, irate, livid, outraged, resentful

Disgusted, appalled, horrified, hostile, repulsed

Confused, ambivalent, baffled, bewildered, dazed, hesitant, lost, mystified, perplexed, puzzled, torn

Bored, alienated, aloof, apathetic, bored, cold, detached, disconnected, distant, distracted, indifferent, numb, removed, uninterested, withdrawn

Upset, alarmed, discombobulated, disturbed, perturbed, rattled, restless, shocked, startled, surprised, troubled, turbulent, turmoil, uncomfortable, uneasy, unnerved, unsettled

Embarrassed, ashamed, chagrined, flustered, guilty, mortified, self-conscious

Anguished, bereaved, devastated, heartbroken, hurt, lonely, miserable, regretful, remorseful

Sad, depressed, dejected, despaired, despondent, disappointed, discouraged, disheartened, forlorn, gloomy, heavy-hearted, hopeless, melancholy, unhappy, wretched

Anxious, cranky, distressed, distraught, edgy, fidgety, frazzled, irritable, jittery, nervous, overwhelmed, restless, stressed out

Helpless, fragile, guarded, insecure, leery, reserved, sensitive, shaky, vulnerable

Jealous, envious, nostalgic, wistful

Now stop for a moment and ask yourself, how am I really feeling? 

© 2005 by Center for Nonviolent Communication |  Website: |  Email:  | Phone: +1.505.244.4041

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