How do you feel?

“How do you feeling?” is a question that can elicit a variety of responses. It’s a question that results in us choosing from a list of words grouped as our “feelings vocabulary.” What happens when you ask your tween or teen, “How are you feeling?” and they answer “good” or “bad?” Both are very broad terms and very general. You might follow up with, “Good, how? or Bad, how?” and in result get an “I don’t know.”

In that moment you may think your teen doesn’t want to share more and that may well be the case. However, what if they really doesn’t know? You see, in order to answer this question, one needs to have an awareness of feelings. “Good” or “bad” may be the extent of their feelings vocabulary.

Awareness of feelings is not just essential in relationships with others but also essential to our emotional and mental well being. Being able to assess our feelings can help us to correct unhealthy thoughts. Feelings also contribute to the actions we take in a situation. If we are not clear on our feelings, we can make decisions that we later regret having made.

One of my favorite tools to use with clients is Gloria Wilcox’s Feeling Wheel. It starts with 6 feelings in the middle of a circle then expands into more narrow terms to identify the exact feeling that is taking place. Upon using it, clients then feel empowered to share those emotions more securely with the people they love. This is merely one of the benefits of feelings identification.

If you’d like to learn how to expand your feelings vocabulary, counseling can help. Call me today for a free consult (941) 800-1513.

Photo by Lesly B. Juarez on Unsplash

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