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Curing Alexithymia: How To Build Your Emotional Literacy

Alexithymia is a condition where you don’t have the words to describe your feelings.

Now, you might be asking yourself why that’s such a big deal? I mean, plenty of people don’t always know what they’re really feeling, and they’re doing just fine. So why am I going on about this so much?

Great question!

There are a few problems that can occur when people can’t identify or describe their feelings:

  • The ‘lost’ feeling can wreak havoc in your physical and emotional system, leading to all sorts of psychosomatic issues.
  • The energy from that feeling doesn’t disappear: usually, you’ll channel it into anger, except you won’t really understand what it is you’re actually mad about.
  • You feel very lonely and disconnected from others, even you’re nearest and dearest. If you can’t tell other what you’re really experiencing and feeling about things, that often leads to very superficial, unsatisfying relationships.
  • You don’t feel comfortable in your own skin, or head-space. The lost feelings are always trying to remind you that they’re still there, and need to be acknowledged, and that is one of the most unpleasant, uncomfortable feelings in the world.
  • You have no idea what message your feelings are trying to give you, about what needs to change in your life in order for you to feel happier and more content.

So now you’re hopefully convinced that it’s something you need to take seriously, how do you go about fixing the problem?

The key is to expand your emotional vocabulary. Once that happens, you’ll start to be much more in touch with your authentic self, you’ll be able to express yourself more clearly, and your relationships will develop a new depth and sense of connection. You’ll also probably stop feeling so angry, frustrated and ‘stressed’ all the time (people often use the word ‘stressed’ when they can’t describe what emotion they’re actually feeling.)

Make your own ‘feeling words’ list

Take the following list of words, and go to your favourite thesaurus, or thesaurus website, to make your own list of ‘feeling’ words. Be sure to check out the ‘antonym’ suggestions too, to give you more emotional word ideas. You’d be amazed how many terms there are to say ‘not happy’ – and if you go through and start learning the definitions of the different words on your list, very soon you should be enjoying some first-class emotional literacy.

  • SAD
  • DEPRESSED
  • DAMAGED
  • UNCOMFORTABLE
  • BORED
  • HURTFUL
  • VULNERABLE
  • EMBARRASSED
  • GUILTY
  • ALONE
  • LOST
  • CONFUSED
  • SHOCKED
  • NEGATIVE
  • TIRED
  • AFRAID
  • ANXIOUS
  • HURT
  • VICTIMIZED
  • INADEQUATE
  • HELPLESS
  • INDIFFERENT
  • HAPPY
  • OPEN
  • ALIVE
  • GOOD
  • LOVING
  • INTERESTED
  • STRONG
  • POSITIVE
  • ACCEPTABLE
  • CARED FOR
  • THANKFUL
  • SMART
  • CARING
  • RELAXED
  • ATTRACTIVE