I was watching a Ted talk by Alan Watkins on Why you feel what you feel, and he said that there are 34,000 emotions. I had a hard time believing this, but I did find an article saying the human face is capable of 7,000 different distinct expressions. I did not find support for the claim when I checked the references there, however.
I then purchased the Universe of Emotions App $1.98 and I’ve been exploring places like toska, desiderium, litost, otiose, kenopsia and torschlusspanik, feeling I never knew had names.
American psychologist Paul Ekman, a pioneer in the study of emotions and their relation to facial expressions, found a high agreement across members of diverse Western and Eastern literate cultures on selecting emotional labels for facial expressions. Expressions found to be universal included anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise.
I’ve driven around the country interviewing people about happiness for a book I’m writing on the subject, and one interesting exercise I discovered is to just sit and feel happiness or gratitude. I’ve done that experiment with interesting results, so this is the next step, an expansion of the experiment.
If you don’t want to buy the app, the test below is a list of 101 positive human emotions. Can you visit them? Some people have access to feeling what they want to feel, others do not. I believe this is similar to lucid dreaming, or waking up at exactly the time you want to wake up without an alarm. Some people can definitely do these things and other people think they are completely impossible.
Give it a try. Sit in a comfortable place and try to feel each of these positive emotions, no more than 10 seconds each is what I suggest. If you can feel the emotion, mark the box, if not, move to the next one. There is no time limit, but try all of them. Press VOTE when done to see how your answers compare to others.