Feeling, attitude, emotion & heart words

The WORD list (.pdf file - 8 pages)


Hello! If you find the word list helpful, please drop me an email.  

I'd love to hear from you.

Some other links you may want to explore

Uncover Yourself with Compassion

The Sound of Some Feelings

Beginner's Heart



The list of official emotions, as defined by neurobiologists, is short and still hotly debated. We can perhaps agree on fear, anger, sadness and joy. Some recent research suggests that disgust is also a basic human emotion. Other researchers are pitching for surprise and guilt. The thought is that most of our emotions are mixed feelings! Worry, anxiety, and stress may be fear plus a little anger and sadness to spice them up. 

In any event, it all happens in our mind-body. And all emotions cause physiological changes. We are mostly oblivious to these changes as we half-stumble, half-rush through life. Therein lies the rub. Therein, also, lies a key. We can learn to un-jumble, simplify, and neutralize our knee-jerk reactions to life's events. In essence, we can learn to talk back to ourselves.

I have compiled a list of over 1,150 words that express feelings, emotions, and attitudes (or characteristics) from multiple sources, including Internet sites on psychology. You can look up additional words using a synonym finder (I like The Synonym Finder from Rodale Press) or a thesaurus (I like Roget's II: The New Thesaurus). You can also use cross word puzzle dictionaries or books like English Through the Ages by William Brohaugh.)  

The point, for both you and me, is not to get hung up on the absolute number, but to create a list from which you can draw ideas. Use it for self-reflection, for description, and for fun (yes, have fun!)

What can you do with these words?

Try some of the attitudes and feelings on for size. If you have difficulty naming your emotions, work with this list. If you want to extend your emotional and intellectual understanding of feelings and attitudes, work with this list.  Use your imagination to get you started.  Try to bring the imaging in to sync with how you really feel.

  • how might this emotion feel in my body or in my head?

  • how do I look to other people when I am feeling or expressing this emotion?

  • how does this feel to other people?

  • how would I feel if this emotion were more intense; less intense?

You can ask other some questions, too:

  • am I on the receiving end of the attitude or feeling?
  • how am I dealing with feeling?

  • am I projecting the feeling on to others?

  • am I hiding the feeling?

  • am I labeling the feeling good or bad?

  • how does all this affect me (my mind AND body; my near and far relationships)?

While you are  working on this, or any other sensitive subject, it is helpful to keep in mind who you can call on for support or help if you start to feel out of control.

Also, it is useful to practice breathing exercises as you try to climb out of your status quo:

  • you can breathe evenly and slowly: if you can breathe as slowly as 6 breaths per minute (a count of 5 inhale; count of 5 exhale) your autonomic nervous system gets the message to slow down, relax, release anxiety
  • you can deliberately breathe in the threatening feeling, imagine it going into your heart and being transformed into a wish for peace for all beings and breathe out that desire 

If you discover that some words are glaring at you, sticking out their tongues, taunting you, take them, write them down on a piece of paper, draw a circle around them and then carefully, thoughtfully destroy the paper, breathing in release from their torment.  Or you can use them to write a story or poem, paint a picture with them, carve them into wood.  You decide.

Another useful skill is learning to hold a neutral space in your mind as you consider events. If something happens to you and you feel inclined to react, to "feel bad," or even "feel good:"

  • make a frame, build a fence, or blow a bubble and put the event into it
  • let it sit there unadorned, with no value judgments attached to it

  • let it be; it happened; it simply IS

  • come back to it later if you wish and work on it in a kindly, detached manner

  • or let it fade away.

Remember: no matter what happens to you, you don't have to let it become you.

Main Page: Selfcraft

Copyright 2003
Constance Lee Menefee
Cincinnati, Ohio