The ability to identify your emotional state and note which emotion you are feeling are valuable tools in expanding insight to your experience.

This may be easy for some, but for many it takes practice. We often may experience difficulty labeling exactly which emotion we are feeling at a particular moment.

  • A family member calls you in the middle of studying. You enjoy talking to this person in general, but now is not the best time. You decide to talk to them anyways for an hour or so, without letting them know that you were very busy.  After the call you feel ‘off’. You are unsure what this means exactly, but you notice that you do not feel good.

In reality, you may be feeling guilty that you took time away from studying and resentful that this family member spoke with you for so long. Noting that feeling guilty and resentful is a big step in deciding how to address and cope with your emotions.

The more awareness you have of your emotions, the more equipped you will be to move forward in a healthy manner.

For example, in the above example, if you notice that you just felt guilty about speaking for so long, it makes sense that you would want to be more assertive in the future.

Or if you only felt resentful, you may follow up with the person and see if there is a way that they can check in with you ahead of time, or in the beginning of the call, to see if it is a good time.


We have an extensive list of emotions below. You may have not heard of some of the emotions or be completely familiar with some. If one or more is unclear,  we have found it may be helpful to start with the emotions that you are most familiar with before you explore others. But feel free to engage with the list however you like. 

  • Accepting
  • Afraid
  • Agitated
  • Amazed
  • Angry
  • Annoyed
  • Anxious
  • Awe
  • Bored
  • Brave
  • Calm
  • Compassion
  • Concerned
  • Confident
  • Confused
  • Contempt
  • Content
  • Depressed
  • Despondent
  • Determined
  • Disappointed
  • Discouraged
  • Disgruntled
  • Disturbed
  • Doubt
  • Embarrassed
  • Excited
  • Exhausted
  • Fear
  • Frustrated
  • Grateful
  • Guilt
  • Happy
  • Helpless
  • Hopeful
  • Hopeless
  • Humiliated
  • Inspired
  • Isolated
  • Mortified
  • Nervous
  • Optimistic
  • Outraged
  • Overwhelm
  • Panic
  • Proud
  • Regret
  • Relaxed
  • Remorseful
  • Resentful
  • Sad
  • Scared
  • Shame
  • Stress
  • Surprised
  • Suspicious
  • Terrified
  • Vulnerable
  • Worried
  • Worthless


Try to identify emotions that you find yourself experiencing most often. This can be a clue to your emotional experience and lead to personal growth. 

Try to identify triggers for when you feel various emotions. These can be any emotions, including some that may be viewed more positively (such as relaxed, happy, content, etc.). 

Knowing what led up to you experiencing an emotion may also lead to more understanding of your emotional experience in general. 

Our emotions are often preceded by a thought. This thought may lead to whatever emotion follows. 

Consider the following two examples:

  • You are running late and there is unexpected traffic.  You think “Oh no, not again. Nothing ever goes my way”.
  • You are running late and there is unexpected traffic. You think “This was not what I planned, but I am resourceful and will make it work. It also gives me more time to put myself in a relaxed headspace before I arrive”.

You are likely to have very different emotional reactions depending on which thought you had. To learn more about self talk, click here


Write down what feeling(s) you experienced during the interaction.
It can be any kind (positive, negative, etc.). Put yourself in the shoes of one person in the story and imagine their thoughts/feelings.
Look at a list of emotions and cross off all of the emotions that you did not feel. See what is left and see if you can get down to a few emotions. This may help you identify them in the future.