101 words to help you boost your EQ

Often when I’m facilitating a workshop, particularly on topics that cover leadership, Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and our mental wellbeing, the subject of emotions comes up. Yet when I ask people to shout out some words for emotions, after ‘Happy’, ‘Angry’ and ‘Sad’ they can soon run out of ideas (often, but not always, the Brits in the room). Many of us seem to struggle to identify our emotions in the moment, yet it’s a really useful skill to have, and developing greater awareness of our emotions will help us improve our EQ.

What’s more, many of us confuse thoughts with emotions – with the unintended consequence of expressing neither clearly – see my post on ‘Sleight of mouth’ for more.

To boost your EQ, here’s your homework:

  1. Note down at the end of each day 3 emotions that you’ve experienced during the day – complete the sentence ‘Today I’ve felt…’.
  2. Tell at least 2 different people how you feel at some point in the day. For example, about a task you’ve just been asked to take on, something you’ve seen in the news or simply how you feel about your day so far.
  3. Guess how someone you’re with is feeling, then ask them and see if you’re right. Play fair and let them have a go at guessing how you’re feeling. What clues led you to identify the emotion?

Here are 101 words to help you expand that limited emotion repertoire.


Dawn is the author of ‘The Feedback Book’ and ‘How to be Zoomly at work’.



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Image credits: Businessmen holding smilies @peshkova/DepositPhotos Easter eggs @ kaczor58/DepositPhotos

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