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Processing Negative Emotions

Updated: Feb 9, 2023

The first step of processing emotions is identification. It is asking yourself, "How do I feel?" And then being able to acknowledge the emotions that you are experiencing. It helps to name each feeling we are having and increase our vocabulary to be able to accurately articulate our emotions.


I'll start with anxiety, depression, and anger, and then move on to other negative emotions, providing synonyms and related feeling words to increase our ability to process emotions.


Anxious- Fear, afraid, frightened, horrified, panicky, paralyzed, petrified, terrified, terrorized, wrecked, alarmed, apprehensive, unsure, awkward, defensive, fidgety, fretting, jumpy, on edge, nervous, scared, shaky, jittery, skittish, spineless, threatened, troubled, bothered, wound up, worried, cautious, tense, uneasy, concerned, uncertain, unknown.


Sad- Blah, disappointed, down, funk, blue, grey, low, morose, somber, subdued, unhappy, tearful, awful, depressed, crestfallen, demoralized, discouraged, devaluated, dispirited, distressed, downcast, downhearted, fed up, melancholy, miserable, rotten, sorrow, upset, woeful, in despair, hopeless, grim, grieved, gloomy, dismal, despondent, desolate, dejected, beaten, dissatisfied, unfulfilled


Angry- Mad, annoyed, frustrated, bothered, impatient, irked, petulant, aggravated, antagonistic, crabby, cranky, exasperated, fuming, grouchy, hostile, ill-tempered, indignant, irate, irritated, offended, sore, spiteful, testy, ticked off, affronted, belligerent, bitter, enraged, fuming, furious, heated, incensed, infuriated, outraged, provoked, poked, seething, storming, vengeful, vindictive, attacking, aggressive, about to explode


Hurt- Pain, used, neglected, let down, put down, belittled, cheapened, criticized, damaged, depreciated, devalued, discredited, injured, maligned, marred, miffed, mistreated, tortured, wounded, abused, aching, anguish, crushed, degraded, destroyed, devastated, discarded, disgraced, forsaken, humiliated, mocked, punished, rejected, ridiculed, ruined, scorned, disrespected, invalidated, victim, judged, criticized, wronged


Jealous- Greedy, envious, greed, lusting, rivalry, grudge, craving, desiring, longing for, comparing, covetousness, spite, possessive, needy, critical, judgy, territorial, protective, distrustful, wishful


Regret- Remorse, guilt, shame, embarrassed, bashful, blushing, chagrined, chastened, humble, meek, sheepish, apologetic, ashamed, contrite, culpable, flustered, penitent, repentant, sorry, abashed, debased, delinquent, depraved, disgraced, evil, exposed, humiliated, judged, mortified, sinful, wicked, wrong


Lonely- Isolation, detached, distant, remote, separate, withdrawn, alienated, alone, dejected, despondent, estranged, cut off, left out, excluded, lonely, unloved, abandoned, deserted, forsaken, marooned, ostracized, outcast, rejected, shunned


Inadequate- Inferior, incomplete, small, tiny, unsure, weak, defeated, loser, deficient, helpless, impaired, imperfect, flawed, incapable, incompetent, ineffective, inept, insignificant, lacking, lack, substandard, unimportant, blemished, broken, crippled, damaged, impotent, less than, inferior, invalid, powerless, useless, wash up, worthless


Confused- Doubt, distracted, uncertain, undecided, unsettled, unsure, unfocused, not able to concentrate, adrift, ambivalent, bewildered, puzzled, a blur, cloudy, fuzzy, disconcerted, disordered, disorganized, disturbed, dizzy, foggy, frozen, misled, mistaken, misunderstood, mixed up, perplexed, troubled, baffled, befuddled, chaotic, confounded, flustered, rattled, reeling, shocked, shook up, speechless, startled, stumped, stunned, taken-aback, trapped


Overwhelmed- Flooded, smothered, buried, submerged, swamped, inundated, overrun, run down, crushed, defeated, deluge, destroyed, engulfed, conquered, trounced on, beaten, overpowered, controlled, out of control, bested, thwarted, foiled, unsuccessful, failed, humbled, routed, subjugated, vanquished


Traumatized- Shock, disbelief, upset, distress, stung, affronted, attacked, demoralized, devastated, troubled, disturbed, scarred, heartbroken, distraught, gutted, stricken, shattered, reeling, desolate, distracted, tormented, shook up,


Guarded- Denial, repressing, walls up, not letting anyone in, reserved, vigilant, watchful, cautious, reserved, restrained, calculating, careful, leery, wary, defensive, shielded, walled, fortressed, braced, barricaded, entrenched


Apathetic- Numb, empty, callous, indifferent, passive, stoic, uninterested, I don't care, cold, emotionless, flat, nothing, unresponsive, careless, flippant, lackadaisical, lazy, lethargic, sluggish, couch potato, passive, inert, unmotivated, aloof, non-committal, could care less,


Bitter- Jaded, cynical, pessimistic, slighted, grudge, burdened, unfair, wronged, holding onto, sour, resentful, offended, acrimonious, peeved, petulant, irreconcilable, sulky, vehement, spiteful, crabby,


Bored- Blase, turned off, disinterested, dull, meh, inattentive, listless, spiritless, discontent


I hope we can acknowledge these emotions that we feel and maybe feelings we are still holding onto. It helps to identify and name what we are feeling. Then we can think about why we feel that way, what is causing this emotion? We want to do this because the emotion might affect our thinking, our view of ourselves and others and situations, decision making, and actions in a negative way.


This is emotional processing: Identify our feeling, validate the emotion by explaining why we feel that way, understand how that emotion is affecting us, and take actionable steps to express that emotion productively. Exhale.


I'll post a list of positive emotions in the next blog.

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