If you are a person whose emotional range includes only “Feeling Crappy” OR “Feeling Awesome,” too bad for you.

You could learn to label your emotions more precisely.


“Because you’ll increase your well-being,” says neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett. “No drugs necessary and people who have succeeded, go to the doctor less often and spend fewer day in the hospital. They also are happier, successful and have more friends.

Sound good? Keep reading.

Say, you are feeling “AWESOME”. Do you mean you are happy, content, thrilled, relaxed, joyful, hopeful, inspired, prideful, adoring, grateful, blissful or something else? Think about that.

There are also more than fifty shades of “CRAPPY”. Are you feeling angry, aggravated, alarmed, spiteful, grumpy, remorseful, gloomy, mortified, uneasy, dread-ridden, resentful, afraid, envious or is it something else?

Take the time to learn to pause and recalibrate your emotions. Give up going from “0” to “90” in a blink of an eye and you will be better equipped to more effectively and appropriately cope.

You will become more lovable, for sure.


  1. Read books outside of your comfort zone. Don’t be satisfied with “happy”: seek out and use more specific words like “ecstatic,” “blissful” and “inspired.” Don’t limit yourself to words in your native language.  Each word is another invitation to construct your experiences in new ways. (This exercise is also an empathy-builder.)
  2. Now, imagine yourself getting into a car and driving away from everyone and everything you know. Then imagine you are not coming back. (Another way to help you successfully cope thorough inevitable real-life challenge                                                                                 

        (THIS LAST ONE SHOULD BE ONLY AN “IN-YOUR MIND’S EYE” EXERCISE. Disappearing, for real, is most likely to be counter -productive.)

3. Try reframing your worst fear: I remember being so afraid of a tiny mouse in my house, that I jumped on top of my kitchen table to escape that “monster.” Know what cured me? Years later, in a plant nursery, I saw another mouse and froze… visibly. A woman near-by laughed and called the tiny adorable creature “Mickey”. Bingo. I was able to re- think my worst fear… a silly one for sure… and to regulate my emotions … at least when it comes to tiny mice.


  1. Now,  re-label some other scary body signal as “excitement,” which can carry you through whatever your challenging task. For example, “Imagine that the butterflies in your stomach are flying in formation.” Think about how this can be applied to your own life.
  2. “Whenever it seems that you are suffering or that some insult has befallen you, ask yourself some questions:

a. Are you really in jeopardy?

b. Or is this so-called injury merely threatening your social reality ?

c.  Could this feeling have a purely physical cause?

The answer can help you to re-name your pounding heartbeat, the knot in the pit of your stomach and your sweaty brow as purely physical sensations, leaving worry, anger and dejection to dissolve like an antacid tablet in water.”

*The technical name for all this, is “EMOTIONAL GRANULARITY, ” which may be something you may wish to explore. Nothing like giving your emotional IQ a boost.

Check out: How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barret




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