We think we have an enormous range of feelings. There is an overview available from the NVC – Non Violent Communication, which contains hundreds of feelings and reading through them is very confusing.
However, several studies (one from the University in Glasgow) has come up with a ‘list’ of just four core emotions for humans and each feeling can be brought back to one of the four emotions: anger, fear, sadness and joy.
There is a distinction between an emotion and a feeling. An emotion is something raw, inside your system and a feeling is a translation of that emotion and contains a lot more distinctive elements that relate to circumstances, memories or experiences.
Life becomes easier if we understand and understanding is greatly helped by simplicity.
An example of bringing in simplicity
How about you are coming home from an evening with friends and you keep on mulling over an unpleasant remark that one made about you: ‘Oh, she is always unreliable and late’. When you heard it you were startled and couldn’t say anything, but now you are going over and over it. You don’t think you have been late that often, and you feel you are always there when someone needs you…… and you get more emotional the longer you think about it.
You end up feeling……………….. enraged, furious, incensed, indignant, irate, livid, outraged, resentful (all variations of the same emotion) ANGRY at the person who said it. Two days later, the anger has subsided and has been replaced by feeling depressed, dejected, despair, despondent, disappointed, discouraged, disheartened, forlorn, gloomy, heavy hearted, hopeless, unhappy or wretched or SAD because you doubt the value of the friendship.
If you can see the two emotions – anger and sadness – you are not distracted by trying to describe in details how you feel, and it will be easier to process those and find a way forward.
Next time you are upset, see if you can bring it down to one of the 4: happiness, sadness, anger or fear. It will safe you a lot of time and aggrevation.
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