The power of naming emotions … and the link to happiness

It’s a trendy thing just now to write books about identifying and naming emotions.

First Brene Brown released ‘Atlas of the Heart’, and more recently Susie Dent – the resident wordsmith on TV’s ‘Countdown’ – published ‘An Emotional Dictionary: Real Words for How You Feel, From Angst to Zwodder’.

Both authors talk about the importance of ‘emotional granularity’ – the ability specifically and precisely to define our emotions.

According to their research, the more we can accurately name our emotions, the better we can cope with them.  And – an extra motivation – our ability is directly proportional to our happiness.

That’s certainly my experience of being an HSP and having worked with HSPs – finding the right word for a feeling is validating and, at worst, relieving and, at best, joyful.

It tickled me to find out that the term ‘emotional granularity’ was first coined in the 1990s by Lisa Feldman Barrett, a professor of psychology based in Boston, USA.

Which is around the same time that Elaine Aron, a clinical research psychologist 200 miles away in New York, was first coining the term ‘Highly Sensitive Person’.

Gotta love that – the importance of naming emotions identified at the same time as a name was found for people who feel emotions deeply.  The universe in perfect harmony!