Do you feel in black and white or color?

photo by Joe Shillington
I ran across [an interesting article] recently that explained emotion is, in part, culturally acquired. The article shared that our social environment teaches us how to interpret and label the physical sensations commonly called “emotions.”
(If you grew up in an environment that suppressed emotion you may have an especially hard time recognizing what exactly it is you’re feeling.)
This made me think about our common struggle to express ourselves and the frustrating problem of being misunderstood when we talk about our sense of being depressed, or anxious, or manic, etc.
For example, the word “depressed” is in itself not very specific and is kinda hard for anyone to act on. Compare that word to the words: “Trapped” “Abandoned” “Lectured to” “Powerless”
When we can put our feelings into more nuanced language we’re better able to address the situations that trigger them.¬† Here are a couple lists to consider when you’re thinking about how to describe what it is you’re actually feeling.

 Another list you may find useful
Primary emotion Secondary emotion Tertiary emotions
Love Affection Adoration, affection, love, fondness, liking, attraction, caring, tenderness, compassion, sentimentality
Lust Arousal, desire, lust, passion, infatuation
Longing Longing
Joy Cheerfulness Amusement, bliss, cheerfulness, gaiety, glee, jolliness, joviality, joy, delight, enjoyment, gladness, happiness, jubilation, elation, satisfaction, ecstasy, euphoria
Zest Enthusiasm, zeal, zest, excitement, thrill, exhilaration
Contentment Contentment, pleasure
Pride Pride, triumph
Optimism Eagerness, hope, optimism
Enthrallment Enthrallment, rapture
Relief Relief
Surprise Surprise Amazement, surprise, astonishment
Anger Irritation Aggravation, irritation, agitation, annoyance, grouchiness, grumpiness
Exasperation Exasperation, frustration
Rage Anger, rage, outrage, fury, wrath, hostility, ferocity, bitterness, hate, loathing, scorn, spite, vengefulness, dislike, resentment
Disgust Disgust, revulsion, contempt
Envy Envy, jealousy
Torment Torment
Sadness Suffering Agony, suffering, hurt, anguish
Sadness Depression, despair, hopelessness, gloom, glumness, sadness, unhappiness, grief, sorrow, woe, misery, melancholy
Disappointment Dismay, disappointment, displeasure
Shame Guilt, shame, regret, remorse
Neglect Alienation, isolation, neglect, loneliness, rejection, homesickness, defeat, dejection, insecurity, embarrassment, humiliation, insult
Sympathy Pity, sympathy
Fear Horror Alarm, shock, fear, fright, horror, terror, panic, hysteria, mortification
Nervousness Anxiety, nervousness, tenseness, uneasiness, apprehension, worry, distress, dread
(List of emotions as described in Shaver et al. (2001) shared in a post at

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