Written by
Vicki Wood


Published on 
March 17, 2023

On March 2, 2023, we talked about Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well in John
Chapter 4. We looked at how there are many things that the world throws into the well of our
souls which block the springs of living water. These blockages keep God’s Spirit from flowing
freely through us. Not being able to identify and voice our emotions contributes to this blockage
in our souls but with practice we can learn to identify and voice our feelings. The following
article can be found at https://advice.theshineapp.com/articles/struggling-to-name-how-you-

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands. It seemed easy enough as a child, but
age lets us in on a secret: naming your emotions as you feel them can be seriously tricky. We
feel hot bursts of…something and react accordingly. We stomp our feet, lean in for a kiss, lash
out, retreat, cry, make rash decisions—all driven by emotions we don’t understand. We know
that we’re experiencing something, but we can’t identify what it is until later, if at all. If you've
struggled with IDing your emotions, you're far from alone. “(Identifying your emotions) sounds
simple, but it's not,” Amelia Aldao, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist, tells Shine. “We see
this time and again, that people are pretty bad at identifying how they're feeling.”

The next time you feel an emotion creeping over you, look at the options at the center
of the wheel: fearful, angry, disgusted, sad, happy, surprised, bad. Which seems to best
encapsulate what you’re experiencing at the moment? It may—and likely will—be more than
one (ever felt shocked by a friend’s betrayal, angry at yourself for failing to see it coming, and
sad at the loss of a friend—all at once?) so feel free to go down multiple paths. Once you’ve
settled on a chunk/emotion or two, look at the terms that come lumped with that umbrella
emotion. Say you’ve settled on “surprised.” Are you excited or amazed? Or feeling more
startled and confused? Again, there’s often a mix of emotions, but pick the one that’s coming
through the strongest. From there, each secondary emotion is split into two even more specific
terms. If you’re excited, perhaps you’re eager or energetic. Feeling startled? You might define
your core feeling as shocked or dismayed. Work your way from the obvious to the nuanced,
landing on the emotion that best describes the feeling currently overtaking your body and

Defining our feelings can help us better regulate our emotions and weaken negative emotions,
but it’s not always easy to find the right word.

Anna Meyer

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