Developing a Feeling Vocabulary

By Sharon Lind.


One of the most important asset emotionally intense people, and those who live and work with them, need to develop is an extensive feeling vocabulary. Not being able to ACCURATELY articulate (in words or through actions, music, art, movement, journaling, etc) our and other’s feelings can lead to frustration and a reluctance to communicate. Learning the nuances of the expression of emotion leads to validation of feelings and it gives partners, parents, friends, and siblings the language to help the intense person to recognize, accept, express and understand their myriad of feelings.


Here are a number of activities that help to increase a feeling vocabulary. Try these and then have your family create their own.


· Place a list of feeling words on the refrigerator to peak curiosity (see the following list)


· Choose a feeling word for the day — jointly look it up in the dictionary and be sure everyone in the family is now familiar with its meaning


· Chose a feeling word and act out how that might look; draw a picture of the feeling; create a dance that expresses the felling, etc.


· Pick a word and find all the synonyms you can for it. Talk about how the feelings differ. For example…

· Pick a feeling, find all the synonyms, and then place them in order of intensity from mild to intense. For example:

· REMEMBER feelings are subjective–it is possible to have three people order feeling words differently.



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