Affect Labeling

Have you noticed how our negative feelings feed themselves?

  • We get angry about being angry.
  • We get anxious about being anxious.
  • We get stressed about being stressed.

These downward spirals make the emotions much more intense than they need to be.

But luckily, there’s a simple technique you can use to break out of them.

It’s called affect labeling, and it’s as easy as naming the emotion you’re experiencing.

If you feel anxious, for instance, you can make the soft mental note: “Anxiety.”

Research shows that labeling emotions this way decreases their intensity1.

So, make a habit of putting negative feelings into words.

If you name them, you will tame them2.


  1. Putting Feelings Into Words
  2. I picked up the “name and tame“ phrase in Mindsight by Daniel Siegel.

Improve Your Life in 5 Minutes a Week

Get my free One Percent Better newsletter.

It’s short, actionable, and loved by 7,000+ subscribers.

Enter your email address below now and join us:

I’ll never share your information, and you can unsubscribe easily anytime.