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Image / Editorial

10 Words For Emotions You Didn’t Know You Had


by Jennifer McShane
22nd Jun 2016
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This week, the IMAGE team got talking about Stendhal Syndrome, a term used to describe when a person is moved to emotion – which can include bouts of dizziness, rapid heartbeat, sweating, disorientation, fainting or confusion – by something they perceive to be beautiful, such as a piece of art. Such a reaction falls outside the realms of terminology for distinct human emotions such as anger, disgust, envy, fear, happiness, lust, pride, sadness, or shame and is the’result of an intriguing new trend; neuroscientists now say they can pinpoint exactly where these emotions occur in our brains, leading many to find various words to describe emotions you weren’t even certain you were feeling.

Tiffany Watt Smith,?a research fellow at the Centre for the History of the Emotions at Queen Mary University of London, is one such academic, and with the release of her new book, The Book of Human Emotions?-?‘she rounded up over of 100 words from around the world that provides language for some very specific emotions you likely never knew you had. ?It’s a long-held idea that if you put a name to a feeling, it can help that feeling become less overwhelming,? she told the Science of Us. ?All sorts of stuff that is swirling around and feeling painful can start to feel a bit more manageable once you’ve pinned the feeling down and named it,” she said of the concept for the book.

Below are ten precise words for various?emotions. You’ll likely have felt all these before in some form; you were just unable to put them into words, so to that end, this list should help:

1.?Amae:?A Japanese word which means ?leaning on another person’s goodwill,? resulting in a feeling of deep trust that allows a relationship – with your partner, with your parent, even with yourself – to flourish.

2.?L?appel du vide:?It literally means “call of the void” and is used to describe that unsettling emotion that comes with feeling like you’re not able to trust your own instincts. Have you ever looked at a train going passed and suddenly thought “what if I jumped off the platform?” It’s that feeling; that you might do something you’re not in control of.

3.?Awumbuk: That feeling of emptiness after visitors depart.

4. Brabant:?The feeling you get when you are very much inclined to see how far you can push someone.

5.?Depaysement: The feeling of being an outsider, probably strongest when you’re in a foreign country; a strange mix of displacement and exhilaration.

6. Ilinx:?A French word for the “strange excitement” of wanton destruction – ?that feeling you get when you have the urge to shove all your office stationary from your desk to the floor, just to see the mess it would create.

7.?Kaukokaipuu: A Finnish?word used to describe a feeling of homesickness for a place you’ve never visited. It’s a heightened?feeling of Wanderlust; an urge to travel to a place and feeling deflated because you can not, despite never having set foot in the country.

8.?Malu: The sudden experience of feeling constricted, inferior and awkward around people of higher status.?Have you ever gotten’stuck in a lift with your boss and drawn a blank? That feeling.

9.?Pronoia:?This is the opposite of paranoia. Instead of the fear that you are at the centre of some diabolical lot, pronoia, as Smith describes it, is the ‘strange, creeping feeling that everyone’s out to help you.”

10.?Torschlusspanik: Literally translated from German, torschlusspanik means ?gate-closing panic,” a word to summarise that fretful sensation of time running out.

Via Science of Us

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