I put this list of emotions and feelings together some years ago for use in my counselling sessions.
I was aware that men in particular (though of course not exclusively) often struggled to articulate their feelings. I thought it could help to give them a list of emotions and feelings to help them to reconnect with their innate resources and guide them towards identifying specifically what they felt. Yes... men do have feelings too, but they're more likely to have learnt to shut them off.
Prof. Simon Baron Cohen, in his book “The Essential Difference” explains it differently. He talks about 'empathising' brains and 'systemising' brains. Men are more likely to have systemising brains while women are more like to have empathising brains.
The 'empathisers' are more 'in touch' with their feelings and so can more easily pinpoint the particular emotions they are experiencing at any time.
This can mean that women are generally more able to identify and talk about their feelings than men. Women also tend to have a better memory for emotionally laden material. On the whole, in my counselling experience I have noticed that men often find it harder to express their feelings.
Of course, I learned over time that sometimes roles are switched. My list of feelings has been just as useful for working with women as it has for counselling men.
Oh, and by the way... clients couldn't care less about the difference between emotions and feelings!
This list of human emotions is a useful tool in relation to the suggested counselling practice that people should express their feelings to help them to get better.
Counsellors help their clients listen out for, identify and 'sit with' their feelings. I think this is helpful - for some people in some situations, some of the time, but it's not the ‘be all and end all’ of addressing problems and issues. In fact, the more emotional we are as human beings the less intelligent we become!
I have found through experience that very often more is needed to help people move on from where they are stuck. They may even have done the feelings bit too much already! So alongside identifying emotions and feelings I use the Human Givens Approach to Therapy.
If you are interested in feelings and emotions, you may also be interested in: Interpreting Body Language.
On the next page you can find an example of my List of Emotions and Feelings.