25 Feeling Words for a Bigger Emotional Vocabulary

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Sad, mad, bad.

Fine, okay, good.

These are common words we use to express our feelings.

And while they do the job, they don’t exactly express the richness and depth of our experiences.

Often, we describe our feelings this way because our emotional vocabulary is limited.

So, today we’ll learn 25 new feeling words for five emotional categories: anger, happiness, fear, love and sadness, and how to use them.

Anger

1. Frustrated

Frustration is on the milder side of the anger spectrum, and describes a feeling of annoyance and upset, often because of unmet needs or goals.

Ex. “I’ve been trying to get this bread recipe right for days, and it’s not working. I’m really frustrated!”

2. Irritated

Irritation happens when we feel bothered or annoyed. This may be due to the habits of others, uncontrollable situations, etc. 

Ex. “My coworker keeps talking over me in meetings and I’m irritated.”

3. Grumpy

While the definition of grumpy is similar to being irritated, it’s often used to mean slightly moody or cranky.

Ex. “I always feel grumpy before I have my morning coffee.”

4. Enraged

Enraged literally means to be filled with rage, an intense feeling of anger.

Ex. I’m enraged about all the injustices in our society.”

5. Livid

Livid and enraged mean the same thing, to be incredibly angry.

Ex. “I can’t believe he would do that to me. I’m absolutely LIVID!”

Happiness

6. Content

Content means to feel satisfied.

Ex. “I’m content to just sit here and watch the sunset.”

7. Delighted

Delighted refers to feeling incredibly pleased.

“I’m so delighted to finally see you! I missed you a lot.”

8. Elated

Feeling elated means being extremely happy, often as the result of some good fortune.

Ex. “I’m elated to announce that I’m having a baby!”

9. Cheerful

Cheerful means to be in high spirits, or upbeat.

Ex. “I feel the most cheerful when I get to spend time with the people I love.”

10. Exhilarated

To be exhilarated means feeling intense excitement and enthusiasm.

Ex. “This is my first live rock show in years. I haven’t felt this exhilarated in a long time!”

Fear

11. Uneasy

Feeling uneasy refers to physical and mental discomfort caused by worry, uncertainty, anxiety, etc.

Ex. “I feel uneasy when I’m home alone at night.”

12. Alarmed

Feeling alarmed means having an immediate sense of worry or danger.

Ex. “I was alarmed to receive a phone call at 2:00am. I thought something was seriously wrong.”

13. Frightened

Frightened is a common alternative to “scared” or “afraid”.

Ex. “I watched a scary movie and now I’m too frightened to sleep.”

14. Panicked

Panicked refers to an overwhelming sense of anxiety and dread, often brought on by a certain thought or scenario.

Ex. “Just thinking about public speaking makes me feel panicked.”

15. Mortified

Mortified refers to feelings of embarrassment, shame, or humiliation (which often come from fear of judgment).

Ex. “I called him the wrong name for years! I’m absolutely mortified!”

Love

16. Adore

To adore is to be very fond of someone or something.

Ex. “I adore my cat. She’s my best friend.”

17. Sentimental

Sentimental feelings are driven by idealistic thinking and emotion-driven behavior.

Ex. “I spent the day looking at photo albums and daydreaming about old times. What can I say? I was feeling sentimental!”

18. Devotion/Devoted

This means feeling deeply connected and dedicated.

Ex. “I feel a deep sense of devotion to my community.”

19. Compassion

A deep sense of caring for others’ emotional experiences, especially difficult ones.

Ex. “I have so much compassion for her. She’s been through a lot.”

20. Admiration

This means having a strong sense of respect and approval for someone.

Ex. “The way she treats others fills me with admiration.”

Sadness

21. Miserable

To be extremely unhappy.

Ex. “I got caught in the rain without an umbrella on the way to work, and then I got fired. I’m absolutely miserable today.”

22. Dejected

To be disappointed and generally feel down.

Ex. “I feel dejected because I didn’t get the promotion I wanted.”

23. Wistful

To be wistful means to feel a subtle sense of longing and regret.

Ex. “When I saw my ex with her new partner, I felt wistful.”

24. Glum

To feel moody and withdrawn, and generally have a low mood.

Ex. “Sorry I was so quiet yesterday. I was feeling pretty glum.”

25. Bereft

A sense of lacking or loss, either of something or someone.

Ex. “When I lost my job, I felt bereft of hope for quite a while.”

This list is just a small sample of the ways we can label feelings. As we continue to learn new words, we can grow our emotional vocabulary further and express ourselves fully.

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