Name your feelings to improve your ability to respond (not react) to your emotions

This technique is simple and powerful (and improves in its effectiveness the more you do it).

Name your feelings. When you’re feeling angry, sad, upset, worried, or another emotion that is creating distress, take a moment to pause, take a deep breath, and name your emotion. Take an extra beat and see if you can find specific words to define how you are feeling. In doing this, you activate your brain in a healthy way that keeps you connected with your feeling (rather than pushing it down) but creates a bit of space between you and the feeling so you can evaluate it and choose how you want to respond, rather than just reacting. After you’ve named your feeling, take a moment to ask yourself “What can I learn from this feeling” and explore the feeling a bit more. The more you take this small step, the stronger your brain will become in learning how to respond and evaluate your feelings rather than simply reacting to them.

Spending time with this feelings wheel may help you expand your own lexicon of words to describe feelings. Take time exploring it during moments of calm and during moments when you’re struggling to name your feelings.


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— Keridwyn Deller, Hypnotherapist. I work with clients in-person in Seattle as well as online with live video. Questions? Feel free to contact me at

Hours Click "Contact" at the top of the page for my Contact Form
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