A man who looks confused and harassed, standing in front of a yellow wall. Above his head, dark scribbles appear to depict a confusing tangle of negative emotions

This List of Negative Emotions Can Help You Manage Them Better

Understanding and expressing our negative emotions is a complex process that can significantly impact our emotional well-being.


Feelings come in all shapes and sizes—sometimes bold, intense and overwhelming, and other times they’re subtle and buried deep inside, making them a bit tricky to spot.


Verbalizing our emotions helps us acknowledge them. This practice not only heightens self-awareness but also activates our cognitive ability for managing and comprehending our emotional states.


How to use a list of negative emotions


Specifying our feelings helps us untangle our emotional responses and accept them as valid and normal.


Plus, identifying our negative emotions and saying their names aloud has a neurological effect: it activates our prefrontal cortex (PFC), the region of our brain responsible for decision-making, self-control, and emotional regulation. With our PFC ‘switched on,’ we’re more able to manage our reactions and behaviour.


But identifying exactly how we feel can be challenging, because negative emotions often operate beneath the surface, influencing our thoughts and actions in subtle ways.


Also, negative emotions can be interconnected, creating a complex web that further complicates the process of identification. For instance, feelings of frustration may intertwine with underlying anger, and a sense of disappointment might be accompanied by shades of sadness or regret.


So if you need help identifying and naming your negative emotions, refer to this handy list.


A list of negative emotions


Emotions related to anger


I feel…


Angry: A powerful and intense emotion characterized by heightened displeasure, often arising from perceived injustice, frustration, or opposition. This emotion often has physical sensations including 


Bitter: A lingering resentment or hostility resulting from past grievances, disappointment, or the perception of unfair treatment.


Exasperated: A feeling of intense annoyance or irritation that tests the limits of one’s patience.

  • Agitated: Generally heightened emotions combined with restlessness and a sense of unease, often stemming from internal or external factors that disrupt one’s state of calm.
  • Frustrated: A feeling of irritation combined with a sense of being thwarted in response to obstacles, delays, or challenges that impede progress.

Irritated: A state of mild displeasure or frustration triggered by perceived inconveniences or disturbances.

  • Annoyed: Mild displeasure or irritation, often triggered by perceived inconveniences or disturbances.
  • Aggravated: Intense irritation caused by increased persistence or the mounting intensity of a frustrating situation.

Jealous: A mix of insecurity and resentment, often arising from the perceived advantages, success, or possessions of another and leading to a desire for similar benefits.

  • Resentful: Bitterness or indignation, typically in response to perceived unfairness, mistreatment, or disadvantage.
  • Envious: A strong desire for the possessions, qualities, or advantages of another, accompanied by a sense of discontent or covetousness.

Disgusted: Intense aversion or strong displeasure, often in response to something offensive, repulsive, or morally objectionable.

  • Contemptuous: A scornful attitude, expressed via strong disdain towards someone or something perceived as inferior or unworthy.
  • Revolted: A strong sense of disgust and repulsion, often accompanied by a desire to reject or distance oneself from a disturbing or offensive situation.

Emotions related to fear


I feel…


Nervous: A heightened state of discomfort, apprehension, or tension, often stemming from anticipation of an upcoming event or experience.

  • Anxious: Unease, worry, or fear about an uncertain future or potential threats, triggering a heightened state of alertness.
  • Worried: A feeling of concern or inner disturbance about potential future events, outcomes, or uncertainties, leading to mental distress.

Embarrassed: The combination of self-consciousness and awkwardness that results from a perceived social blunder or the fear of judgment from others.

  • Mortified: Intense and overwhelming embarrassment mixed with shame, often stemming from a humiliating or deeply distressing experience.
  • Horrified: An intense emotional reaction characterized by profound fear, shock, and repulsion.

Insecure: A lack of confidence or assurance in oneself, often accompanied by fear of judgment, rejection, or inadequacy.

  • Inadequate: A sense of insufficiency or lack of competence, often accompanied by self-doubt or feelings of not measuring up to perceived standards or expectations.

  • Inferior: A sense of being lower in quality, value, or worth compared to others, often leading to diminished self-esteem or a perception of inadequacy.

Terrified: Overwhelming and intense fear, often causing a heightened state of alarm, distress, and a strong desire to escape or avoid the perceived threat.

  • Panicked: A sudden, overwhelming sense of fear or anxiety, leading to a loss of control and a frantic, impulsive response that attempts to address or escape from the perceived danger.
  • Hysterical: A state of uncontrollable and excessive emotional reaction, often characterized by intense fear, agitation, or distress, which may result in irrational behavior or a loss of emotional balance.

Emotions related to sadness


I feel…


Sad: A profound and often melancholic emotion resulting from loss, disappointment, or unfulfilled desires, leading to a low mood.


Ashamed: A deep sense of remorse or embarrassment about one’s actions, choices, or perceived inadequacies, often leading to a desire to conceal oneself.

  • Regretful: Sorrow or remorse for past actions or decisions, often accompanied by a wish that things had unfolded differently.
  • Guilty: A feeling that stems from the belief that one has violated moral or ethical standards, leading to remorse and a desire for atonement.

Disappointed: A sense of dissatisfaction or letdown when expectations are not met, leading to a subdued emotional state.

  • Dismayed: A combination of disappointment, concern, and a sense of discouragement that arises when expectations are not met or when facing an unexpected setback, leading to a temporary loss of confidence or hope.
  • Displeased: Displeasure that involves a state of discontent or mild annoyance resulting from dissatisfaction with a situation, person, or outcome.

Gloomy:  The feeling of gloominess that conveys a sense of darkness, melancholy, or pervasive sadness, creating an atmosphere of despondency and a lack of brightness or hope.

  • Hopeless: A pervasive belief in the impossibility of positive change or improvement.
  • Depressed: A persistent state of profound sadness, diminished pleasure, and hopelessness.

Hurt: Emotional pain or distress caused by perceived harm, rejection, or betrayal, often leading to a sense of vulnerability.

  • Agonized: Intense mental or emotional suffering, often accompanied by physical manifestations of pain, distress, or torment.
  • Disturbed: A state of emotional or mental unrest, typically characterized by a sense of disquiet, unease, or disruption, often triggered by unsettling thoughts, experiences, or external factors.

Lonely: A sense of disconnection from others, often leading to emotional distress and a longing for companionship.

  • Isolated: A profound sense of separation and loneliness, brought on by a perceived lack of meaningful connection or support from others, leading to a sense of being emotionally or socially distant.
  • Neglected: Experiencing a lack of attention, care, or consideration, resulting in a sense of abandonment or unmet emotional needs, often contributing to feelings of sadness, loneliness, or insignificance.

Unhappy: A state of discontent, sorrow, or dissatisfaction, indicating a general sense of not experiencing joy or fulfilment in one’s current circumstances or emotional state.

  • Miserable: An overwhelming sense of deep unhappiness, sorrow, and despair, often accompanied by a pervasive feeling of wretchedness or discomfort.
  • Disheartened: Feelings of discouragement, disappointment, or loss of hope that cause one to experience a decline in spirits or enthusiasm after setbacks or challenges.

Negative emotions related to surprise


I feel…


Confused: A lack of clarity or understanding, causing disorientation and uncertainty in navigating a particular situation or concept.

  • Disillusioned: A profound sense of disappointment and disenchantment, stemming from the realization that one’s beliefs or expectations were misguided and leading to a loss of faith or trust.
  • Perplexed: A state of intense confusion, puzzlement, or uncertainty, in response to a complex or puzzling situation that challenges understanding and leaves one feeling bewildered.

Overwhelmed: A sense of being unable to cope or manage effectively in response to a multitude of stressors (which could include other emotions) or demands.


Stunned: A momentary feeling of shock or disbelief, often resulting from a sudden, unexpected event or revelation that leaves one temporarily unable to react or comprehend what has occurred.

  • Shocked: A sudden and intense emotional response to a surprising or distressing event, causing a state of profound astonishment, disbelief, or numbness.
  • Bewildered: A state of confusion and disorientation, typically arising from a situation or information that is perplexing or difficult to grasp, leaving one feeling lost.


Vidula V Sawant (M.A., M.Phil., CRR No. A80980) is a clinical psychologist with 4+ years of experience and a passion for understanding the complexities of our minds and behaviours.

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