Identify Your Emotions

Practice of the Week
Identify Your Emotions

Like, every time. Emotions are constantly being triggered, many times a day. You can let them carry you away. You can be in denial that they are there. Try, instead, stopping and identifying what the emotion is. The spiritual benefits of this practice led the Dalai Lama and Paul Eckman to team up to create atlasofemotions.com.

CALMNESS. Emotions constantly arise when triggered and then recede. Calmness is not itself an emotion, but the capacity to evaluate, and understand each emotion as it occurs. Without a baseline calmness, your emotions are “in control” and may “run away with” you -- or they are suppressed, which means they're operating in the background, manifesting at times and in ways that can seem random and surprising. Practicing at identifying your emotions cultivates calmness for understanding and responding effectively to your emotions.

This is a practice of continual self-monitoring. Whenever an emotion comes up, identify it. Say its name, using the following scheme of five basic emotions -- each with a number of variations.

THE FIVE BASIC EMOTIONS: sadness, anger, enjoyment, fear, disgust

Sadness: We’re saddened by loss.
S1. Disappointment: A feeling that expectations are not being met
S2. Discouragement: A feeling that there is no way to cope
S3. Distraughtness: Agitated sadness
S4. Resignation: Acceptance that nothing can be done
S5. Helplessness: Realization of the inability to prevent or cope with loss
S6. Hopelessness: A feeling that nothing good is to come
S7. Misery: Anguished sadness, usually prolonged
S8. Despair: Resigned anguish
S9. Grief: Anguished sadness over the loss of a loved one
S10. Sorrow: Sadness over a loss.
S11. Anguish: Intense agitated sadness

Actions that may be driven by sadness:
Seek comfort: seek help or support from others. Generally enables collaboration.
Mourn: focus on the loss. May either enable or inhibit collaboration
Protest: complain about the loss, knowing the complaint will not recover what was lost. May either enable or inhibit collaboration.
Ruminate: repetitively think about the emotional experience. Generally inhibits collaboration.
Withdraw: physically or mentally leave the scene of what is triggering the sadness. Generally inhibits collaboration.

Anger: We’re angered by interference.
A1. Annoyance: Very mild anger.
A2. Frustration: Response to failure to overcome an obstacle despite repeated attempts.
A3.Exasperation: A loss of patience at repeated failures to settle a problem.
A4. Argumentativeness: An inclination to prolong disagreements.
A5. Bitterness: Disappointment that no one wanted to settle a problem.
A6. Vengefulness: A desire for retaliation.
A7. Fury: Intense anger.

Actions that may be driven by anger:
Dispute: Disagree in a manner that may escalate the dispute.
Be passive-aggressive: Take indirect actions that have an angry undercurrent.
Insult: Disparage the other person in an offensive or hurtful way that is likely to escalate the conflict rather than resolve it.
Quarrel: Verbally oppose in a manner intended to escalate the disagreement.
Scream/Yell: Lose control of how one speaks; yell = speak loudly; scream = yell + high pitch.
Simmer/Brood: Act in a way that makes clear that angry actions are building or being contemplated.
Suppress: Try to avoid feeling or acting upon the emotion that is being experienced.
Use physical force: Harm or constrain someone; an action that may be deliberately chosen or the result of loss of control over how one acts.
Undermine: Take action to make someone or something weaker or less effective, usually in a secret or gradual way.

Enjoyment: We enjoy what feels good.
E1. Sensory Pleasure: Enjoyment derived through one of the five physical senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, smell.
E2. Rejoicing. A warm, uplifting feeling that people experience when they see acts of human goodness, kindness, and compassion. Also called elevation.
E3. Compassion/Joy: Enjoyment felt when you act to relieve another person’s suffering.
E4. Amusement: Light playful feelings of enjoyment and good humor.
E5. Schadenfreude. Enjoyment of the misfortune of another person, usually a rival.
E6. Relief: When something expected to be unpleasant, especially the threat of harm, is avoided or comes to an end.
E7. Pride: A desire for others to know the pleasure you feel in your own accomplishments or the accomplishments of someone either you nurtured directly or with whom you identify.
E8. Fiero (Italian): The enjoyment felt when you have met a challenge that stretched your capabilities.
E9. Naches (Yiddish): Feelings of pride in the accomplishments, or sometimes just the existence, of your offspring or mentees. Crucial for motivating the nurture of infants and children.
E10. Wonder: An experience of something that is very surprising, beautiful, amazing, or hard to believe.
E11. Excitement: Energy that unlike other enjoyable emotions is rarely felt slightly, but ranges from mid to high in intensity. May merge with any of the emotions generating a very active form of that emotion.
E12. Ecstasy: Rapturous delight. A state of very great happiness, nearly overwhelming.

Actions that may be driven by enjoyment:
Maintain: Continue to do what is necessary to continue the enjoyable feelings. Generally, enables collaboration.
Savor: Relish the experience of good feelings about physical and psychological experiences. Generally enables collaboration.
Indulge: Excessively engage in the enjoyable feelings. May enable or inhibit collaboration.

Fear: We’re afraid of danger.
F1. Trepidation: Anticipation of the possibility of danger.
F2. Nervousness: Uncertainty as to whether there is a danger.
F3. Anxiety: Inability to cope with an anticipated or actual threat.
F4. Dread: Anticipation of severe danger.
F5. Desperation: A response to the inability to reduce danger.
F6. Panic: A consequence of desperation.
F7. Horror: A mixture of fear and disgust.
F8. Terror: Maximum fear.

Actions that may be driven by fear:
Avoid: Physically stay, or internally keep one’s mind, away from what is triggering the fear.
Freeze: Become incapable of acting or speaking.
Hesitate: Hold back in doubt or indecision, often momentarily
Ruminate: Repetitively think about the emotional experience.
Scream/Yell: Lose control of how one speaks; yell = speak loudly; scream = yell + high pitch
Withdraw: Physically or mentally leave the scene of the threat
Worry: Anticipate the possibility of harm

Disgust: We’re disgusted by anything toxic.
D1. Dislike: The mildest form of disgust.
D2. Aversion: A desire to avoid something disgusting.
D3. Distaste: Response to a bad taste or smell; can also be metaphorical.
D4. Repugnance: Repulsion to something literally or figuratively toxic.
D5. Revulsion: Very intense disgust.
D6. Abhorrence: Extreme repulsion.
D7. Loathing: Intense disgust focused on a person.

Actions that may be driven by disgust:
Avoid: Physically stay, or internally keep one’s mind, away from what is triggering the disgust.
Dehumanize: Deprive someone of human qualities, personality, or spirit
Vomit: Expel contents of stomach through mouth
Withdraw: Physically or mentally leave the scene of what is triggering the disgust

Using the above list as your guide (print out the one-page PDF synopsis HERE), practice taking moments throughout the day to investigate and name what you are feeling right at that moment!

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For list of all weekly practices: "Practices of the Week Index"

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