Emotional life is far richer than the vocabulary we have to describe it. Sadness, joy, exhilaration, regret, fury, etc., bleed into each other, creating unique blends in which one emotion is tinged with another very different feeling. But while words will never capture the full range of human emotions, there's actually a wider range of available terms out there than you probably imagine.
That's the takeaway of a fun and illuminating recent Psychology Today post from Claremont McKenna organizational psychology professor Ronald E. Riggio. In it, he describes several fairly common emotional experiences and does readers the service of supplying the technical term for the particular feeling.
Some, like déjà vu, I'm pretty sure you've heard of before. But others are a great combination of familiar experience but completely fresh word, such as:
"Have you ever had a sense of warmth, peace, and tranquility when you are warm and dry inside the house during an intense rainstorm?" asks Riggio. Why yes, I have (it always makes me want to curl up with a good book). You probably have too, but did you know it had a name?
"This experience could be likened to feeling like you are back in the womb, and so has been labeled 'chrysalism,'" explains Riggio.
"This is a sense of frustration experienced when meeting a new and interesting person, but realizing how long it is going to take to develop the relationship fully. You want the relationship to develop quickly, but you know it won't," explains Riggio. Revealing personal information to each other can help you get close quicker, he adds.
"Have you ever wished that you could go back in time and tell your past self about the future?" asks Riggio. If so, this desire is know as enouement.
More specifically, it's "when something has turned out well, you recall how your younger self worried about it, and you wish that you could go back and let your younger self know that things will turn out OK," Riggio elaborates.
This one happens to me all the time. It's "a hypothetical conversation that you play out over and over in your head. For example, replaying an argument in your head where you say all the right things and 'win' the argument, or practicing asking your boss for a raise and playing out his or her responses and your comebacks," says Riggio. Am I a weirdo or do you do this too?
Exulansis is "a sense of frustration when you realize that you are talking about an important experience, but other people are unable to understand or relate to it, and so you give up talking about it."
Are there any other emotional states you wish you had a word for?