Adjectives and Emotions

Easy to Use, Difficult to Define

In everyday speech, we rely on adjectives to describe situations and use emotions to describe our private events.  One such use that comes up a lot with clients is the term FRUSTRATED.  Everyone has a similar idea of what it means to feel frustrated, but expressing frustration looks different based on the person and the situation.

Sarah was frustrated by her homework assignment.
Following three failed attempts to complete the assignment, Sarah broke her pencil and threw it across the room.

This example with Sarah illustrates the difference between use of emotion words and a description of the behavior.  By including other contextual information, that Sarah made several failed attempts, the fact that she was feeling frustrated is apparent even though the term was not used.

Observable and Measurable Emotions

Use observable and measurable language to define an emotion.  The experience will be unique to you and the context you are using for your example.  For this reason, it is acceptable to select an emotion that was already used.  When you are finished, comment on another person’s definition by adding your own experience or an experience you have observed with another person.

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