Episode #28: Naming Emotions and Feelings and why you can’t be happy all the time
Welcome to the Samantha Leith Show with me. Yep, you guessed Samantha Leith. Each month we dive into a different topic and this month is all about emotions, feelings, and moods. What they are, how we use them, the good, the bad and the what the… And how we can get a true handle on them to help us with our extraordinary lives.
Psychologist Robert Plutchik, I hope I said that right, created the Plutchik model, the wheel of emotions. Breaking it down into eight core emotions and I happen to like this model. Joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, anticipation, anger, and disgust. On the wheel they’re positioned with their opposite joy and sadness, for example. As I said in last week’s episode, these emotions are neutral and your body’s way of signaling you in a situation. Creating the physiology to go with it. Disgust and trust, for example, would lead you to want to reject or embrace the situation. The model also shows the intensity of the emotions. Fear, for example, at a more intense level could be described as terror and depending on the person, that same situation may spark anticipation.
Seems confusing, but it’s really not. We should just have been taught about it in school. Add that to the list. The emotions are also shown to combine joy plus trust, for example, creates love. Along with the internal changes of an emotion, we can often show external signs of the emotion. Fearful, you may have wide eyes, intense stretched slips. On the other hand, when you’re experiencing sadness, there may be a loss of focus or tears in your eye. Someone may even say, turn that frown upside down. Once we can objectify the emotion, we can look at what prompted it and our reaction to it and understand how where possible and where needed we can help ourselves.
As I said, there’s also the Junto and Geneva wheels of emotions, which explore similar concepts and they’re in the downloads. Now let’s look at feelings. Depending on where you look you’ll find lists of all sizes with feeling words. From admiration to zeal there’s something for everything. Then there’s the ones we make up. Are you confuddled like I am? You’ll know the ones that are more common for you and there’s a great power that comes from being able to name it. Much like feelings, there are many words to describe your general mood and in lots of cases, they’re the same words. Some would simply say, good mood, bad mood, happy mood, sad mood.
A mood can also come into a room with someone. Have you ever thought someone walked into a room and a black cloud of sadness above them? Or as if they had champagne bubbles of happiness popping all around them. In this month’s worksheet, there’s a tracker for your emotions, your feelings and your moods. Use this to monitor how you go and when looking over it, get online and see if maybe there’s a better word to describe how you’re feeling. You may just learn a new word.
The worksheet asks the following questions. What was the situation? Where and what did you notice in your body? What is the core emotion you would associate it with? What feelings came to the surface? How did this impact your current mood? What action, if any, did you take to change the situation? It wasn’t until last year that I actually started to pay attention to where I experienced things in my body. Once you start, woo, I could sense the warmth growing in my chest, all the little bubbles in my leg veins. It’s quite magical really. All this stuff is happening to us that’s really creating our own encyclopedia of self as we age. I doubt we’ll ever run out of things to learn about ourselves and this has me feeling inquisitive and hopeful.
This is such a waste of time and money. I can’t believe people like this place. My eyeballs feel like they’re drying up and my chest is tight. I can feel those tiny little bubbles in my veins. My mouth is tight and dry. Maybe I want to vomit. If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands. I’m happy all the time, I swear. If someone says this, I call bullshit. It’s simply not possible. Bad things happen and to good people. If you are happy about that, then you my dear may need some help.
I can’t even agree with life being 50/50. It’s not a perfectly shaped cake that you can cut down the middle. Life is a collection, a kaleidoscope. There’s a gazillion feeling words in the world because there’s a gazillion feelings. You can absolutely be like me, someone who searches to find the glass half full, but sometimes it’s really not and that’s life. There are so many things outside our control wars, elections, environmental catastrophes, child trafficking, and so much more on a large scale. Then closer to home, it might be things like price hikes, getting cut off in traffic, or yet another reality TV show that has your emotions rising up to bite you in the bum. You’ll feel things positive and negative. It’s your fabulous humanness.
If your goal in life is to be happy all the time, you are setting yourself up to fail and here’s a secret. Failing at that goal will not help you to feel happy. One thing we can do is tip the scales in a better direction. We can do that by understanding why we feel the way we feel. Recently I felt terrible, truly terrible. As someone who’s had two failed suicide attempts, best fuck ups I’ve ever had, I know what to feel depressed and not being able to get out of it is like, and this wasn’t it. I could list the things that were making me feel down in simple terms. I spoke to my therapist. Yep. We should all have one people even in the good times. I explained how I felt and why.
The culmination of two years of the pandemic taking a toll on my business and social life. Any extroverts feel me there? Sydney being a rain bomb that flooded parts of my house and my soul. To top it all off, I got COVID and was really sick. Life wasn’t all bad. There was still some fabulous things I could be happy about including this show, but things like my routine and immaculate house, exercise and a social life had gone out the window and with it my mood. So I did what I help other people to do. I recognized and named what I was experiencing. I looked for ways I could improve it and I got to work. I made more phone calls, made sure I got out into sunlight as much as I could. Started adding one small thing at a time back into my routine, had a huge cleanup so only one room looked like crap and I don’t even need to look at it. Turned off from mainstream media and watched more fluff as well as getting involved in local community issues.
I started exercising again, but being really gentle on my body. Now don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t Penelope positiving my life. Toxic positivity can be shocking. I was following the beautiful map our bodies and minds give us in order to feel better. So take some time to make an inventory of the negative feelings and situations in your life at the moment, then start small. Think of just one thing you can do to improve it.
This is all so new. I’ve never done anything like this before. Will I like it? Will I chicken out? My eyes are a little bit squinty while I’m watching out around me and my heart is beating a little bit faster, but it kind of still feels okay. I’ve got a wee bit of a knot in my tummy, but fingers crossed it’s all going to be okay. Thank you so much for watching this week’s episode, please like, share, comment and subscribe and help me to be able to bring you more juicy topics like this. Don’t forget to grab the worksheets on the website, samanthaleith.com/freebies, and please stay in touch on the socials. I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to.
Produced by Rebecca Saunders and Pyrmont Studios
Pharrell L Williams
Happy © Emi April Music Inc., Emi Blackwood Music Inc., Universal Pictures Music, More Water From Nazareth
Produced by Samantha Leith / Michael Tan
Vocals by Samantha Leith