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Exercising the Emotions I


Everywhere I go I have no problem locating information, data, and evidence that people need to work out to get healthy and fit.  There are gyms at every school and just about in every borough and hamlet in the countryside.  There are also food centers, books galore, and classes shouting about what we need to eat to be our healthiest and in good form.

I am here to tell you that in the last 6 to 8 books I have read and reviewed the authors have all made mention of one of our greatest weaknesses and that is what we need to “muscle” up to keep us all healthy.

We have been working so hard at being rational and in control we have not being using or practicing our emotions and thus we are flaunting our emotional weakness all around the middle.

I am offering up an exercise routine for emotions this week.  I am going to promote a couple of Challenges for you to test your fitness knowledge and I am going to start right now:

The first challenge is centered about just finding and using words which emphasize the feelings we might use when our needs are NOT being fulfilled.

The average college graduate uses about 16 different words to describe emotions within this category. I recognize that there are many of us who are trained to not talk about our emotions at all, but even football players only use a few of these words with the sportscasters when they lose a game and we have so many more available to us when we work out and exercise.

I am going to give you a list of 50 words and the first part of the challenge is for you #1 to think about how these words are different and #2 how you would use them to your advantage.  This will stimulate some new vocabulary and some new brain synapse pathways – see flexing those thinking muscles already.

Afraid            angry            annoyed        agitated
Bored            bitter            bad            beaten
Brokenhearted        confused        cold            cross
Depressed        discouraged        despair            disgruntled
Distressed        disturbed        displeased        dread
Embarrassed        exhausted        edgy            embittered
Fatigued        fearful            fidgety            furious
Frustrated        grief            guilty            gloomy
Hate            heavy            helpless        hesitant
Horrified        hurt            hot            impatient
Indifferent        insecure        insensitive        irritated
Jealous            lassitude        let-down        lethargy
Mad            mean            miserable        overwhelmed
Perplexed        provoked        pessimistic        reluctant

#3 Now I would like you to add 10 more words to the list of emotions where needs are not being fulfilled and finally #4 I would suggest that you use at least 20 of these words in your speaking, sharing, and writing in the next week.  Practice.

Use ‘em or lose ‘em!

Our drivers within our gut and that work with our egos are the primary users of these emotions as they are about protecting ourselves, safety and preservation.  To be able to use these emotions fluently will give us the edge on any playing field, our office cubicle, or battle ground we encounter.

Please share your 10 words in the comments section and let me know how your workout is progressing!

Related Reading:
Begin It Now
90 Seconds of Anger-90Seconds of Happiness
Born to Run

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28 Responses to “Exercising the Emotions I”

  1. Melody | Deliberate Receiving Says:

    Hiya Patricia,

    I love words. Always have. I think it’s so important that we learn to express our feelings and own them, so that we can deliberately move beyond them to a better feeling place. Learning a new vocabulary so that we can verbalize (and become aware of) what our emotions actually are goes a long way towards achieving this goal. What an awesome post. :)

    Melody | Deliberate Receiving recently posted..What Casino Dealers Know About Calming Down Angry PeopleMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Thank you so much for coming by and reading my words today – I certainly enjoyed your article on JD’s blog this week and have been roaming around your site working on answers to my 90 pound dilemma! and my resistance.

    I think the body is giving us a wealth of information that is true “gut knowledge” all the time, but our ego’s and resistance get in the way. Controlling emotions is not the same and understanding and using emotions as they are intended and the positive thinking movement will not work or no change will happen until we muscle up our emotions and figure out that they are valuable tools.

    Part II is coming out on Thursday of this week…

  2. Talon Says:

    What a neat exercise, Patricia. As a lover of words, I never have any problem finding just the right word to fit my mood or to express myself to family and friends. And I think, thankfully, I passed that on to my children. What you say is so true – so much emphasis on our outer being and so little emphasis on the inner one. I hope the pendulum swings back and centers a bit – we are all so much more than our body.
    Talon recently posted..WoebegoneMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    It is vitally important for us to understand and use our emotions they are the building blocks of all our rational thinking…we as a society have worked so diligently to deny and control and I think this is coming back to haunt us…We are social beings that need interaction and our emotions facilitate just that action within us and without us

  3. Jannie Funster Says:

    How about….


    Those are MY 10 and I’m sticking to them!

    Jannie Funster recently posted..“Resisting My Dishes” — Song Lyrics &amp ChordsMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Oh Jannie those are tremendous words and I think the are all included in the challenge for Thursday’s post as the emotions when all of our needs are being met – good for you and do stick by them..

    But do not ignore all the words above which are our emotions when our NEEDS are NOT being met….
    Those are the words that make for better song writing as so many people need songs to draw out their emotions and help them understand…

    As a song writer you are a teacher of emotional well being and problem-solving skills and interpretation.

    I know how busy you have been – thank you for dropping by

  4. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    I love the idea of exercise routine for emotions! I exercise my body daily.. why not my emotions?
    vered | blogger for hire recently posted..Where Can I Find Sandals for Ugly FeetMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    To think most of us only use about 16-20 in our lives and at least 365 are available every day…Vered emotions are the important rational language of our minds and hearts working together – they are important messaging tools…

    Our automatic brains are still on fight or flight responses…I hope we have not left it too late…we need some well exercised and knowledgeable d thinkers.

  5. Arts Web Show Says:

    They are all variations of the same bad feeling in life.
    Rather than use these words in a positive way.
    I prefer to hold onto the positives themselves.
    Interesting thought provoking post here.
    Through finding a happy place in life makes all of this negativity so much more bearable

    patricia Reply:

    I don’t use the term downer words or negative words…these are crucial words in the emotional systems and by skipping or ignoring these we miss vital messages and tell ourselves they are not significant and we are in control…

    We miss the communication.
    We only spend about 90 seconds in each emotion – we are in trouble when we can not recognize them within that time frame and choose to sort them to our use…
    that is the point where we want to use the emotion and move on before they key into things like automatic thinking or depression…
    if we don’t use them or learn to use them we are missing out on a whole spectrum of what we need to know about about our internal communications systems.

    I would not want to dwell there, but I do not want to diminish them and how valuable they are at keeping my values working for me.
    Thanks for you comments and coming by

  6. susan Says:

    Hi Patricia! I’m with Jannie! When my needs aren’t being met (and I wonder by whom and in what context) I would be disappointed and move right along. Ok. Sometimes I get mad but then I also chew a bit on the situation to see if perhaps I wasn’t clear what my needs WERE. I don’t spend time with the downer words because those emotions are pretty fleeting – I see to that. Negatives are draining and I like to preserve my energies. I think we can feelings are in large part a choice we make. I’ll make mine Jannies!

    patricia Reply:

    I will say that I do not dwell on these words either – unless they just drive me crazy – like right now I am digging into the resistance I am feeling about weight loss – I do not see them as negative and I do see them a very powerful parts of myself – I value them and want to be an expert at using them to be fully me and fully authentic.

    Thursday’s post is all about words that we use when NEEDS are being met. When one thinks about there are 365 words available to us in each 90 seconds and that we seem to be stuck in using about 16 to 20 and think we are safe if we can control those…it worries me, what are we doing with the other important messages our hearts and minds are telling us?

    One needs to keep training, practicing and honing skills to gain proficiency …I think of Robin Easton in Naked in Eden, by just listening so intently she was able to figure out what the trees were saying and the plants and the snakes…how powerful it that?

    I am by no means an expert, but if the people are going to survive and help this planet survive then I think emotional proficiency is in order…and all the recent books I have been reading are saying the same thing…automatic pilot is not working for us now….there is so much fear feeding our lives..
    too much?

  7. patricia Says:

    Maybe a question I should be asking is why do we resist these words and taking on this challenge? What is the motivation behind not going forward or exploring these options?

  8. Julie Says:

    1. Emotions I feel when my needs are NOT being met?

    Anger, fear, confusion.

    2. Why do we resist these words and taking on this challenge?

    Because there is so much focus on thinking positive that people don’t want to seem vulnerable hence the focus on positive words. It’s nice to go there though, to sort of run the gammit of them all.

    Thank you for making me think.

    Julie recently posted..andMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    thank you for coming on by and making your thinking comment here – I am just home from a walk of 3 miles with the puppy and was thinking about our resistances of life…and I have a software program to work with today that is producing some fear in mean and hesitation…all of a sudden I thought about my car NEEDING and oil change and lube and it needed to tell me in so many ways to take care of it – I did. The car did not want an oil change it needed an oil change and I read all the signs to confirm that and take care of it…

    I think our minds, bodies and hearts give us needs signs in 90 seconds at a time..we need to not ignore those or mask them or cover them up – if we can recognize them quickly we can live a fuller life?

    I am not talking about wants but needs fulfillment and expanding vocabulary

  9. EdenSol Says:

    What an intriguing conversation you’ve begun, Patricia!

    Part of your challenge is to look at how the words could be used advantageously. Life isn’t black or white, but there’s been a great
    deal of emphasis upon positivity. While perception IS important, to
    shut out emotions perceived as ‘negative’ is turning off an important information guidance system. Hopefully we’re using the words as guidance in how we’re not allowing for our needs to be met, yes?

    patricia Reply:

    Eden Sol,
    Yes you have summarized this exercise very well and yes NEED words are neither negative or positive – so I am not addressing the power of positive thinking.

    I am looking at the guidance system that is brilliant and is not being utilized to our best life outcomes. I am writing about what the last 8 books I have read have said about how we under use our emotions and that is severely effecting our culture and our society in a most painful way right now…we need to become savvy and smart about this system that works so well for us if we explore it and develop it.

    It is the major work of the mediator in conflict-resolution.

    patricia Reply:

    Antonia at Eden Sol has a wonderful example of just how clearly she listened to her needs here:


  10. EdenSol/Antonia Says:

    Thanks so much for sharing my post, Patricia! Very sweet of you :-)

    patricia Reply:

    It is a great post and tucks in nicely to share it with others :) You are welcome

  11. Davina Haisell Says:

    Hi Patricia.

    When we know our needs are not being met, we automatically know *because* we have felt one or more of these words. Otherwise we wouldn’t connect with the very fact *that* our needs are not being met. We would sell ourselves short if our emotions didn’t clue us in.

    I think it is important to give ourselves the permission to “feel” and not deny what is there, rather than fluffing it off. Speaking to whether something is positive is just as judgmental as speaking to something else as being negative. It’s just the other side of the coin.

    When my needs are not being met I feel any number of these:
    sad, abandoned, needy, unworthy, ashamed, lost, insignificant, weak, wronged, alienated.

    Just by admitting this… this very minute… I feel a sense of compassion for myself. This really opens a door. Great exercise, Patricia.
    Davina Haisell recently posted..Putting Prepositions IN their PlaceMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    What a great perspective… and yes they are like foghorns of truth….and actually unless we get behind the wheel and drive them they only speak to us for about 90 seconds…we need to learn to hear them :)

    The exercise for the next post Exercising Emotions II continues on this great class and is actually harder for me because I have to practice with diligence to recognize them as it is so easy for me to ignore them

    Just off to read the landing page…Wow Davina you do such great work…I am exciting and pleased to know that you enjoyed the process and the writing.

    Wise Ears will be better for your efforts.

  12. Todd | Channelingmyself Says:

    If my wife knew I read this article she would probably want to kiss you. I for one will admit I don’t verbally express what I am feeling. Thanks for the list.

  13. patricia Says:

    Todd welcome and thank you for your great comment…I have another post to come on Thursday with another exercise.

    In all my reading and work, I think emotional literacy is a crucial skill to have. We only get about 90 seconds with each emotion – it is kind of like a fast NAME THAT TUNE and the better one can get at naming and getting them out of their heads the better off we will be in this world… then how to use them well?

    Lots of work to do in this area, because we have been steeped in Victorian concepts and rational thinking for so long…

    we need to return to the romantic thinking modes – we will actually laugh more too :)

  14. Cath Lawson Says:

    Great exercise Patricia. I already use a lot of these words when I’m doing freewriting, or morning pages. I was bottling things up for a while, which was unhealthy, so it was great to start doing morning pages again and let it all out. It doesn’t make me dwell on things. It allows me to explore my feelings at a set time of day and I think it does help me feel better for the rest of the day – most of the time. :)

    patricia Reply:

    Nice to find you here this morning – yep those morning pages are so helpful to get these valuable tools out of our head and off the circular thinking treadmill…

    Just think how amazing out world would be if we all could use these words as power tools…and expand our base!

    Good for you – go for whatever works

  15. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. I’m very late and I haven’t fully complied .. but I’ve added my piece to the pie …

    Bored – find a way to be stimulated
    Bored – for goodness sake this is life .. there’s so much to do – go do
    Discouraged – someone else’s perception
    Annoyed – don’t be … accept that things happen
    Cold – get up and move around
    Cold – think about others in the world, who cannot do anything about the penetrating cold
    Gloomy – we can’t be living in the western world .. we are so lucky – find that fortune, change your attitude
    Hesitant – make a decision, if necessary it can always be changed … or just wait, don’t hesitate though (that brings other negative spins to bear)
    Miserable – think of the positives, and think of the times ahead when happiness will come around
    Overwhelmed … one small step at a time, and time will overwhelm itself – by moving forward you will avoid the quagmire you’re thinking of … the overwhelm will go away.

    Fortunately I am of the happy side of life and do want to sink quietly into the abyss … but I just say to myself – turn on your heel – and get on with it .. you’re doing things your way – just get on with it.

    Love the new photo .. cheers Hilary
    Hilary recently posted..Guess when this was first written – “I wrote 2 U B 4”My Profile

  16. patricia Says:

    Thanks for coming by…I need to come over and read your latest too…I am setting up a new business blog and learning so many new things – very slowly

    Great words.

    I am trying to emphasize here that these emotion words are great announcers and tellers of emotional recognition – they are not negative or positive but how we react to them can be negative or positive… understanding discouragement quickly and early can save one a heart attack or stroke…
    Emotions are early warning systems…important to our well being and we only experience them for about 90 seconds.