An interesting study, by UCLA’s Matthew Lieberman (Matthew Lieberman et al., “Putting Feelings into Words: Affect Labelling Disrupts Amygdala Activity in Response to Affective Stimuli”, 2007), found that decreased activation of the amygdala occurs when feelings are labelled with words.
It can be a challenge to name our feelings. By focusing attention on where in the body the feeling sits, and then guessing at words to describe the feelings, we can get clarity and a sense of relief when we find the word that corresponds to the feeling.
Marshall Rosenberg, from the Centre for Non-Violent Communication, has developed a list of universal feelings we have when our needs are met, and those we have when those needs are not met.
In addition to this, he has developed a list of universal needs, which are very useful for the development of self responsibility.
When Needs are Fulfilled
- Amazed, Fulfilled, Joyous, Stimulated
- Comfortable, Glad, Moved, Surprised
- Confident, Hopeful, Optimistic, Thankful
- Eager, Inspired, Proud, Touched
- Energetic, Intrigued, Relieved, Trustful
When Needs are Not Fulfilled
- Angry, Discouraged, Hopeless, Overwhelmed
- Annoyed, Distressed, Impatient, Puzzled
- Concerned, Embarrassed, Irritated, Reluctant
- Confused, Frustrated, Lonely, Sad
- Disappointed, Helpless, Nervous, Uncomfortable
- Choosing dreams/goals/value
- Choosing plans for the fulfilling one’s dreams, goals and values
- Celebrating the creation of life and dreams fulfilled
- Celebrating losses: loved ones, dreams, etc. (Mourning)
- Authenticity, Creativity
- Meaning, Self Worth
- Acceptance, Appreciation, Closeness, Community
- Consideration, Contribution to the enrichment of life
- Emotional Safety, Empathy, Honesty, Love
- Reassurance, Respect, Support, Trust, Understanding
- Air, Food, Movement, Exercise
- Protection from life threatening forms of life: viruses, bacteria, insects, predatory animals
- Rest, Sexual Expression
- Shelter, Touch, Water
- Fun, Laughter
- Beauty, Harmony
- Inspiration, Order, Peace