The Commotion of Emotion

Man expressing emotion

Emotion is not typically considered people’s best friend, but it is nothing to shy aware from, because emotion is information. It help us understand what’s impacting us; what’s touching a hot spot. They also aid us in understanding our histories. Anger to me may not have been explained or experienced in the same way in my life as it was in your life.  Therefore my relationship with anger is different than your relationship with anger. The same goes for sadness, fear, anticipation, rejection . . . the list goes on.


Because emotions don’t often happen one at a time, they can often be out of focus and confusing. It can be hard to tease apart exactly what we’re experiencing when we’re having more than one at the same time. Not only can we have anxiety and excitement, we can have anxiety about our anxiety and excitement. Meaning, we can have our base emotions, and then on top of that, we can have emotional reactions about our emotions.


I know. It’s a lot. So, let’s just start by playing with it. What I mean by that is let’s be curious and explore it without a sense of “getting it right.” No gold stars here, just guesses and gut instinct at work.


Below is a PDF file of a wide variety of emotion words. Use it help you decipher what constellation of emotions you may be experiencing in any given moment. Don’t concern yourself with picking the “wrong” emotion.  This is a work in progress. Just play with it and see if a selection of words feels like it captures your emotional experience.


I also wanted to briefly mention the Dialectical Behavior Therapy diagram from Dr. Marsha Linehan. This simply displays two seemingly opposite sides of how we work in the world: Reasonable (aka Logical) Mind, Emotional Mind and Wise Mind.  Notice that there is value in both our reasonable, problem solving mind, as well as information from our emotional mind that contribute to our wise mind.

DBT diagram of Reason Mind, Emotion Mind and Wise Mind

Click here to watch my YouTube video on emotion for additional thoughts.

Tell me what you think in the comments below or on the YouTube video. I’d love to hear your perspective and if you relate to these ideas.

Speak Your Mind



Karin Lawson

2312 Wilton Drive, Suite 22
Wilton Manors, FL 33305