by Geraud Staton
I used to think that my emotional vocabulary was incredibly limited. I have recently taken up daily meditation. There are a number of ways to practice meditation. One of my tasks in my meditation is to do a body scan. In its simplest form, a body scan is where you check in with the different areas of your body. You note how they feel but you do nothing to alter those feelings. Just pay attention to them. The more often you do this, the more in tune with your own body you can become. I have experienced this first hand.
But the body scan isn't only for the physical sensations of the body. It's also for the emotional. What are you feeling? And it is here that I realized that I didn't have enough words for my own emotions.
"How do I feel today? I feel...bad?"
"Bad" isn't a terrible way to describe a feeling, but it isn't a great one either. This is where your emotional vocabulary comes in. The reason that a high emotional vocabulary is important is because unlabeled emotions often become misunderstood emotions. Knowing that you feel bad about a particular situation is not the same as knowing you are feeling irritable or impatient or frightened. Feeling bad about something is more likely to make you avoid that situation. But what if what you are feeling isn't bad, but wary? Being wary makes you pay more attention rather than shutting down and fleeing. And that wariness might allow you to see something useful that your subconscious suspected was there.
The more specific you can be in regards to what you are feeling, the faster you will be able to handle your emotions. This is especially helpful for our most extreme emotions. Feeling angry is completely legitimate. If, on the other hand, you're feeling violent or hostile, and are aware of the difference, then you also know that you should take a step back before you do or say something that you will regret later. There are many instances where someone's emotional outburst was a shock to even themselves. This is often because they were unable to identify what they were feeling, or had mislabeled that feeling as something more generalized, thus letting it build and not recognizing the change.
Outside of self-awareness and conflict resolution, having a strong emotional vocabulary, which leads to a strong emotional intelligence (or EQ), can also help you with your social awareness. Being able to understand your own emotions allows you to better understand those of the people around you. It can be quite effective knowing that your potential business partner isn't "a total douche" but is instead feeling threatened or insecure.
Here is a list of emotional vocab words to help get your started, thanks to Henry4School.
How are YOU feeling today?