Feelings List

By Vika Miller

(NOTE: To download a list of feelings and needs, as well as the 12 Universal Life-Need Categories, click here.)

One of the most important contributions of Marshall Rosenberg’s work on Nonviolent Communication is the realization that our feelings are merely indicators, letting us know when our Life-Needs are being met, and when they are going unmet.

The following is a partial list of words we can use to describe our feelings/emotions and physical sensations. This list is neither complete nor definitive. It’s simply offered as a starting point, to support anyone who’d like to travel further down The Road to Happiness (which is the road to THRIVING, aliveness, vibrant health, joy, fulfillment) by understanding the guidance — towards happiness — that our feelings are trying to give us.

Connecting fully with our PRESENT EXPERIENCE (whether positive or negative) is the single most valuable, effective strategy for creating a beautiful, life-giving connection with ourselves, with others, and with Life Itself (=God, Goddess, Universe … & any other name you might prefer).

In particular, when we feel discomfort or distress, connecting fully with that “negative” experience, becoming clear about what our unmet needs are, and then imagining what it would be like to have those needs fully met seems to be the quickest, most effective way to release our discomfort or distress. (Notice that nothing outside us needs to change, and that no one else needs to do anything different, in order for us to have access to this extraordinarily powerful, effective source of relief, comfort, and nourishment.)

There are two parts to this list: feelings we may have when our needs are being met, and feelings we may have when our needs are not being met. NOTE: Many feelings can go under several different categories; these groupings are offered as one way to help you more easily find the feelings that best describe what you’re experiencing. FEEL FREE TO ADD TO THIS LIST, as you discover feelings that come up for you that aren’t yet included.

One final note: we find that PEACE is always present, when our needs are met, or we feel confident that our needs will be met. If we feel happy but not peaceful (for example, happy and anxious), then whatever is going on is not genuinely meeting our needs.

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FEELINGS When Your Needs ARE Met

AFFECTIONATE
compassionate
friendly
loving
open hearted
sympathetic
tender
warmCONFIDENT
empowered
open
proud
safe
secureENGAGED
absorbed
alert
curious
engrossed
enchanted
entranced
fascinated
interested
intrigued
involved
spellbound
stimulatedINSPIRED
amazed
awed
wonder

 

 

EXCITED
amazed
animated
ardent
aroused
astonished
dazzled
eager
energetic
enthusiastic
giddy
invigorated
lively
passionate
surprised
vibrantEXHILARATED
blissful
ecstatic
elated
enthralled
exuberant
radiant
rapturous
thrilledGRATEFUL
appreciative
moved
thankful
touchedHOPEFUL
expectant
encouraged
optimistic

 

JOYFUL
amused
delighted
glad
happy
jubilant
pleased
tickledPEACEFUL
calm
clear headed
comfortable
centered
content
equanimous
fulfilled
mellow
quiet
relaxed
relieved
satisfied
serene
still
tranquil
trustingREFRESHED
enlivened
rejuvenated
renewed
rested
restored
revived

Feelings When Your Needs Are Met © 2005 by Center for Nonviolent Communication     www.cnvc.org    cnvc@cnvc.org 818-957-9393

FEELINGS When Your Needs Are NOT Met

AFRAID
apprehensive
dread
foreboding
frightened
panicked
petrified
scared
suspicious
terrified
wary
worried
anxious
tenseANNOYED
aggravated
dismayed
disgruntled
displeased
exasperated
frustrated
impatient
irritated
crankyANGRY
enraged
furious
incensed
indignant
irate
livid
outraged
resentfulCONFUSED
ambivalent
baffled
bewildered
dazed
hesitant
lost
mystified
perplexed
puzzled
torn

EMBARRASSED
ashamed
chagrined
flustered
mortified
self-conscious

AVERSION
animosity
appalled
contempt
disgusted
dislike
hate
horrified
hostile
repulsedYEARNING
envious
jealous
longing
nostalgic
pining
wistfulDISQUIET
agitated
alarmed
discombobulated
disconcerted
disturbed
distressed
perturbed
rattled
edgy
restless
shocked
startled
surprised
troubled
uncomfortable
uneasy
unsettled
upsetFATIGUE
beat
burnt out
depleted
exhausted
lethargic
listless
sleepy
tired
weary
worn out
PAIN
agony
anguished
bereaved
devastated
grief
heartbroken
hurt
lonely
miserable
regretSAD
hopeless
depressed
dejected
despair
despondent
disappointed
discouraged
disheartened
forlorn
gloomy
heavy hearted
hopeless
unhappyVULNERABLE
fragile
guarded
helpless
insecure
leery
reserved
sensitive
shakyDISCONNECTED
alienated
aloof
apathetic
bored
cold
detached
distant
distracted
indifferent
numb
removed
uninterested
withdrawn

 

 

 

Feelings When Your Needs Are NOT Met © 2005 by Center for Nonviolent Communication     www.cnvc.org    cnvc@cnvc.org 818-957-9393