NAME IT: The Handy Cheat-Sheet For How to Deal with Feelings.

Feelings, emotions, troubles and woes: no one is immune, despite the shiny glory of the internet and our addictions to various social-media outlets. I have a handy trick that I've used with a lot of success over the past couple of years each time I get overwhelmed, scared, afraid, worried, or wondering what to do a midst all the befuddlement:

Name it.

The best thing you can do with your feelings is to name them. Acknowledge them. Point to them, and talk about what they really are and where they came from.

"since feeling is first" - e. e. cummings.

The range of human emotions is incredible: each emotion a short clue into your relationship with your environment and the world around you. Spend time considering what each feeling is and what it's proper name is.

Are you feeling overjoyed, happy, excited, enthusiastic, rushed, terrified, afraid, lonely, scared, sad, depressed, frantic, cold, weak, weary, wonderful, in awe, in love, in lust? How about frightened, joyful, thankful, grateful, gleeful, brave, energized, unbelieving or disillusioned?

What is the feeling that you're having, and what's causing it?

I use this template to death, often walking on a brisk and quick walk, dumping out the plethora of feelings onto my mental notepad, exploring the reason behind each one. This is the template I used for weeks after a terrible break-up, the one I used when I was too tired to think straight after my website launch, and even the template I used this week after catching a nasty cold and traveling for nearly every single day this month. (I feel TIRED, yo, because I've been TRAVELING.)

What are you feeling? 

Name it. 



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10 Responses to NAME IT: The Handy Cheat-Sheet For How to Deal with Feelings.

  1. Jacklyn Lee says:

    So amazingly true. Sometimes when you are at a loss of what to do or how to feel or don’t know what it is you’re feeling…define it! Name it!

    I love this example. I will definitely be using this in the future…

  2. Simple and brilliant. You are made of solid stuff.
    Thanks for sharing…
    With love, prayers and best wishes,
    naren

  3. david says:

    I found this useful. Easy to use, simple to apply, and helped me work through some stress, regret, feelings, all brought on by the Events of Sandy Hook. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Pete Worrell says:

    Sarah:
    I really like this piece. I would build on your foundation in the following way (because I am always looking for the “why’s” behind feelings or emotions!).

    Feeling What Feeling is often caused by
    Sadness/Withdrawal = Motivated by Loss…”I’ve lost something important to me”
    Anxiety/Agitation = Motivated by Danger…”Something bad is going to happen”
    Anger/Aggression = Motivated by Trespass…”I’ve been harmed, my rights have been violated”.
    Guilt/Apology = Motivated by harm…”I have inflicted harm”
    Shame = Motivated by negative comparison…”I don’t measure up”

    Knowing these conditions or contexts that motivate the feelings may help one to NAME IT!
    Best,
    Pete

  5. jennifer says:

    Hi, this is always good to name your feelings, and also identify WHERE you are feeling it in your body… tight stomach, holding your breath, tense shoulders, etc. Then breathe into that space and it usually will open up.

    I would like to caveat the “because” statement… if it involves someone else, it’s usually about you, not them. If you say, “I feel angry because so-and-so is an a-hole” then you’re creating divisiveness, separateness, and you’re unable to see why so-and-so is affecting you so deeply. So it’s good to follow up with more questions. What is it that I’m really upset about? Let’s say this person was insensitive. So why is insensitivity so upsetting to me? Other people may not be bothered at all by this. When someone pushes your buttons, it’s a great opportunity to find your “stuck points.” Often it’s because we ourselves are insensitive (or whatever.) Blame is never the answer… no one can “make” us feel a certain way.

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  7. Karina says:

    “I feel exhausted and weary because I’ve been going through my first year of teaching.” Hmmm… this Christmas break has been good at calming that but I need to start finding time for myself throughout the year ’cause there will not always be breaks like these. Identify the problem, find solutions and implement!

    Thank you and hope you had a wonderful holiday! Here’s to the new year!
    Karina

  8. [...] I love this feelings “cheat sheet” [...]

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