emotional precision (part 1)

A PRECISE emotional vocabulary gives your brain better tools for dealing with life's challenges.

In this activity, we show you how you can get more PRECISE with your emotions.


how are you feeling today?

Here is a quick question for you.

Just type your answer into the box and press next.

about your answer

Now, we bet that you typed 'good' into the box above, did we guess right?

If you didn't say 'good', you probably said something like 'ok''not bad', 'fine', or'happy'.

Most of the time when asked how we feel, we reply with these simple answers, and whilst there is nothing wrong with that, it's much, much better if you are more PRECISE. 

We explain why next.

3 reasons why it's nice to be precise

  • 1
    Research shows that being PRECISE about how you feel has many benefits from better performance at school to a longer, healthier life.
  • 2
    Being PRECISE with your emotional states means that you experience the world around you more accurately, it also helps you to have better relationships (with yourself and with others).
  • 3
    A rich and full emotional vocabulary gives your brain better (more precise) tools for dealing with the challenges you will face in your life.

how your brain makes emotions

Your brain's main job is to look after your body (without it, your brain would not be able to work).

It does this by constantly trying to predict what your body will need in order to cope with the situation it finds itself in.

And your brain predicts what is coming largely based upon what has happened before.

How does this knowledge help us?

Your brain searches for past experiences to help it to make sense of what is coming next.

So, by being more PRECISE with your experiences, your brain has more CHOICE and can COMMUNICATE what you are feeling more accurately.

It's the same as speaking a language, the more words you know, the better able you are to express yourself and communicate.

here's an example

As we saw before we often think about how we feel in simple terms so let's take the emotion BAD..

Click on the box below to see how many different ways of feeling 'BAD' there are.

I'm feeling BAD

As you can see, feeling BAD can actually mean many different things.

So being SPECIFIC about how you feel is very important.

There is a huge difference between feeling BAD, or feeling STRESSED, or feeling in complete DISARRAY.

How you deal with each one of these emotions requires very different tools and strategies.

why this is important

Simply saying you feel BAD, is a bit like going to the Dr's and saying you feel pain. 

Without knowing exactly where the pain is, how painful it is, how long you've had the pain, and how often it hurts, a Dr couldn't possibly give you the right medicine.

It's the same with your emotions.

If you can learn to label your emotions accurately, you can diagnose the problem and then prescribe yourself the right medicine.

an example

As we said earlier, there is a huge difference between feeling BAD, or feeling STRESSED, or feeling in complete DISARRAY.

If you diagnose how you feel as BAD, this is too inaccurate, you can't prescribe the right medicine.

If you are feeling STRESSED, you might choose to solve the problem by going for a walk, or prioritising your actions.

Whereas in DISARRAY, you might want to ask someone for help.

By being PRECISE with your emotions you can find the right solution.

let's get precise

If you start to learn new emotional words today, your brain will be better at finding the right emotions tomorrow.

This means that you can be much more INTELLIGENT with how you deal with your emotions!

We have created an activity sheet that will help you to learn to be more PRECISE with your emotions.

  • 1
    a paper version of the PRECISE EMOTION SELECTOR (page 1)
  • 2
    an activity to help you see how many different emotions you feel each day (page 2)
  • 3
    a challenge: see how many different emotions you can feel over the next 7 days (page 3)

precise emotion selector: online version

Click on one of the 7 MAIN emotions below that sounds the closest to how you are feel.

Each MAIN emotion has another 2 levels of emotions that you can explore.

See how PRECISE you can get with how you feel.








If your emotion isn't described, we have also included a link to a dictionary, thesaurus and a words visualiser to help you find the emotion you are feeling (see below).

can't find your emotion?

Use the VISUALISER, DICTIONARY or THESAURUS below to find it.

Visualise any emotion

Look up an emotion- dictionary

Look up an emotion- thesaurus