Sunday, September 16, 2012

Feeling Nice-Feeling Bad: Teaching Students How To Put Feelings Into Words


Teaching children how to talk about, or how to cope with, troubling feelings (e.g. feeling humiliated and resentful) and/or a conflictive classroom event (e.g. angry feelings that escalate into a fight in the schoolyard) is a basic therapeutic communication intervention aimed at teaching children how to resolve conflictive events in a more resourceful way; most specifically, before the unresolved feelings spread-out into a high-impact disruptive classroom event. Talking about the emotional component of a troubling experience is an area of difficulty for many children, this being particularly true for those students who already exhibit behavior deficits, among them, children with weak impulse control and/or low ability to tolerate frustration. Because talking constructively about what is troublesome is too hard for them, we see these children displaying recurrent acting-out episodes and/or aggressive behaviors in an unsuccessful attempt to find some relief from the conflicted feelings that are fueling those behaviors. To being able to process and to cope adequately with their troubling feelings, rather than impulsively acting-out on those feelings, our initial intervention would be to give children the words they can use to best describe the way they are feeling. Only after children know how to label, how to describe, and how to analyze all kinds of feelings (including pleasant and unpleasant feelings) they will be able to process the emotional component of any experience in a way that facilitates dealing with troublesome events in a more positive and constructive way. The following list of words can be used to help children build and/or strengthen their social-emotional vocabularies. Most of the words listed next are considered feelings; some of the words were included because they relate to feelings and help in identifying feelings accurately; all words listed help develop awareness in the instrumental role that feelings play in influencing behavior. Words are grouped by similarity.

List of Words About Feelings:

Admiration: awe, captivated, delighted, fascinated, reverent

Aggression: aggressive, brawl, hateful, violent

Anger: aggravated, agitated, angered, angry, annoyed, bad, bitter, bothered, bugged, choleric, cranky, discomforted, disturbed, enraged, exasperated, frustrated, furious, grouchy, grumpy, ill-tempered, inconvenienced, indignant, infuriated, irascible, irate , irritated, mad, moody, mortified, outraged, rampaged, resentful, ruffled, shocked, sore, temperamental, testy, uncomfortable, upset, wrathful

Anxiety: agitated, anxious, apprehensive, awful, concerned, discomforted, dismayed, distraught, distressed, dreadful, fussy, impatient, preoccupied, solicitous, tense, troubled, turmoil, uneasy, worried, worrisome

Apathy: apathetic, bored, unenthusiastic, unmotivated

Appreciation: appreciated, appreciative, cared, cherished, esteemed, liked, loved, pleased, prized, respected, treasured, valued

Attention: attentive, curious, interested

Aversion: animosity, aversive, detest, disapproving, disgusted, dislike, grudging, resentful

Bad: cruel, ill-will, malicious, mean, naughty

Betrayal: betrayed, disloyal, resentful, unfaithful

Bravery: audacious, bold, brave, courageous, fearless, gutsy, heroic, intrepid, unafraid, valiant

Calmness: calmed, eased/at ease, free from trouble, lighthearted, patient, peaceful, placid, relaxed, serene, tranquil, undisturbed

Confidence: awesome, confident/self-confident, secure, sure, self-reliant

Defiance: antagonistic, argumentative, aversive, bravado, defiant, disobedient, hostile, noncompliant, oppositional

Distress: afflicted, agitated, agonizing, anguished, breakdown, burnout, discomforted, distressed, disturbed, exhausted, hurt, miserable, overwhelmed, strained, stressed, tense, troubled, turmoil, unsettled, worried

Embarrassment: abashed, ashamed, blushed, disconcerted, embarrassed, humbled, humiliated, mortified, offended, self-conscious

Enjoyment: enjoyable, joyful, nice, pleasant

Excitement: excited, frenetic, frenzied, impatient

Fear: afraid, alarmed, apprehensive, dismayed, fearful, frantic, frightened, horrified, intimidated, nervous, petrified, scared, shocked, startled, terrified, terrorized

Frustration: demoralized, disappointed, discouraged, disenchanted, disheartened, disillusioned, dispirited, frustrated, overwhelmed

Guilt: blameful, contrived, guilty, remorseful, (feeling) responsible, tortured

Happiness: cheerful, cheery, glad, good spirits, happy, high-spirited, joyful, joyous, jubilant, lighthearted, merry, pleased, sunny

Hurt: afflicted, agonizing, anguished, awful, burdened, desperate, destroyed, devastated, distraught, heart ached, heartbroken, hurt, in pain, miserable, resentful, ruined, tormented, tortured, troubled, unhappy, upset

Indifference: apathetic, detached, indifferent, unemotional, uninterested

Insecurity: agonizing, ambivalent, conflicted, confused, insecure, having mixed feelings, turmoil, unresolved

Love: adore, affection, caring, compassionate, cordial, heartfelt, infatuated, sympathetic, warm

Mixed: bittersweet

Motivation: competitive, curious, challenged, decided, determined, enthusiastic, fired, firm, interested, motivated, passionate, resolute, resolved

Nervousness: agitated, apprehensive, awkward, edgy, excitable, fidgety, fussy, impatient, jittery, jumpy, nervous, restless, tense, uneasy, worried, worrisome

Optimistic: confident, hopeful, positive

Other: envious, jealous, obsessed

Pessimistic: demoralized, despair, desperate, discouraged, disheartened, dispirited, grave, helpless, hopeless, negative, self-defeating, unworthy

Pride: awesome, boastful, bragging rights, proud

Sadness: anguished, blues, cheerless, depressed, disconsolate, gloomy, grieving, heart ached, heartbroken, inconsolable, in pain, languished, low in spirits, melancholic, miserable, mourning, nostalgic, sad, sorrowful, unhappy

Surprise: amazed, astonished, shocked, surprised, wonder

Vengeance: revengeful, spiteful, vengeful, vindictive

Related Resources (Free Downloads):


2.     Facts About Feelings Sheet


Of Interest to Teachers and School Staff...

Essentials of Emotional Communication for Reaching the Unreachable Student: Where Do I Start? What Do I Say? How Do I Do It? To preview this book on Amazon, click here