Emotional Vocabulary

This week’s trek is inspired by Lisa Feldman Barret's concept of emotional granularity, which focuses on understanding the nuances of different emotions.

Have you ever encountered an emotion you couldn't convey through words?

Depending on the number of languages you speak, this kind of thing might be a regular occurrence. In English, for example, there are 21 emotions from other languages that have no English translation.

Introducing Your Emotional Vocab Exercise

What It Is
A way to expand your emotional vocabulary.

Why We Love It 
The precursor to emotional intelligence is the ability to identify the depths of your own emotional reactions. Since emotional intelligence is essentially the currency of relationships, expanding your emotional vocabulary helps you better communicate with others. Consider this: would you want to take a sailing trip with a captain who doesn’t know the difference between the stern and the boom? Then, how can we expect to have earth shattering relationships when our emotional vocabulary doesn’t extend far beyond the likes of lonely and FOMO?

How It Works
1. To start, check out some of these awesome words from other languages like Age-otori, the mythical Japanese word for the feeling of “looking worse after a haircut” or Saudade, Portuguese for “a pleasure you suffer, an ailment you enjoy”. Both capture very specific emotional nuances.

2. Over the course of this week, stay close to how you are feeling each day. (I for one often feel my emotions in my gut!) When something comes up, see if you can name it, but then figure out if that word falls woefully or slightly short in fully capturing that internal experience.

Your goal is to find cases where words feel incomplete and then search for better words that more richly describe that fire in your belly. And if you can’t hunt down a word: Make one up!

3. If you do make up a word, send it our way (treks@lifetrekkers.me)! We're putting together an LT dictionary of emotions.

Want to dig deeper into this topic?
Shout. It. Out. To Sarah Jones for her exercise crafting skills!
Shout. It. Back. To 
treks@lifetrekkers.me if you have new words to share from this exercise or want to tell us what you think!
Here's what your fellow trekkers have to say about past treks:
"The Wake-up Call trek really hit home for me. My best days are the ones when I avoid email until as late as possible and this reminded me to stay mindful. It's key to make sure I get grounded first so I can give important things the attention they deserve."
Vijay Rajendran, Director, BBVA New Ventures
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Shankar Desai