Increasing Emotional Awareness

When I choose my word for the year to be Joy, I wanted to be happier every day. Transitions are hard, and I wanted to intentionally manage the roller coaster of feelings this huge change of entering retirement was creating in my life.

Being the geeky researcher, I did a bunch of reading about emotions.

While happiness, the positive end of the emotions scale, does have a genetic component (some people are naturally happier than others), a huge part of personal happiness is one’s attitudes, habits and thoughts.

Various books encourage you to identifying the emotions you are feeling.   Once you have the emotion identified, you can address it head on.   The idea is to move to a more positive emotion by consciously thinking about the situation differently, changing beliefs thru affirmations, or working with gratitude lists to increase positive feelings. Feel and deal.

I started with an emotions list from Ask & It Is Given, but found it needed more positive levels!   It was ironic, as I was trying to be happier in my emotions, how many more words there are for negative emotions.

Emotions – positive to negative
Joy, Love, Happiness
Freedom, Empowerment
Appreciation, Gratitude
Passion, Flow
Enthusiasm, Eagerness, Positive Expectation
Jubilation, Celebration, Delight
Optimism, Energized
Empathy, Sympathy, Caring, Compassion
Boredom, Loneliness, Feeling Blah
Frustration, Irritation, Impatience, Annoyed, Aggravation
Doubt, Insecurity, Uncertainty
Worry, Anxiety
Discouragement, Dejected
Jealousy, Resentment
Hatred, Rage, Disgust
Guilt, Unworthiness, Unwanted
Fear, Disempowerment
Grief, Powerlessness, Helplessness
Depression, Despair

In the morning as I am journaling, I review this emotions list and consciously identify where I am.  Many mornings I am in a more positive emotional space – eagerness, freedom, or feeling content. (A shout-out to an intentional life plan that is based on my values, strengths and interests.)

But I am still on that roller-coaster of transition and some mornings I am not a “happy camper”.   On those days (feeling blah, anxiety, discouraged), I might jump right into creating a gratitude list to help me start the day in a more positive place. Or think about how I will change the situation, plan something inspirational, or connect with someone to talk it out.  Feel and Deal.

Increasing my emotional awareness has helped me to recognize my trigger responses and uncover some self-sabotaging patterns.  I now actively use positive affirmations as the antidote to negative self-talk.

I also regularly look at my life plan and see if it meets the basic requirements of happiness: eat well, sleep well, move often, play often, connect often, learn new things, be kind.  I might not be genetically pre-disposed as the happiest person, but I am choosing to be happy and find joy in each day.


Picture Credit: Pixabay


5 thoughts on “Increasing Emotional Awareness

  1. Feel and deal – I like that! It’s probably not always possible, but I think by being more mindful, we can choose the way we react to the world. I often find that if I am grumpy, the littlest irritant can set me off. If I’m feeling more positive, that same irritant will hardly be noticed.


  2. Hi Pat, I love the intentionality of your mornings. And while I don’t necessarily use a list, I believe wholeheartedly that “I get to decide what to make of the day.” And that includes how I feel at any given time. Like you, I like to take a bit of time to just breathe, be mindful of how I feel in that moment, and then make a plan. I haven’t gotten into journaling per se, because I’m really not sure how to go about it, and I’m not sure if I would be consistent at it.


  3. This list seems to be very useful and I think I might give it a go in my own transition. I love the picture you have used.


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