#243: 21 English Idioms to Express Feelings of Joy, Calm, Frustration, and Anger

Jun 15, 2022 | Advanced Vocabulary, Idioms & Figurative Language

With English idioms you can precisely express your feelings, even adding finesse or nuance when you’re feeling joyful, tranquil, or frustrated.

Of course, you can use the words joy, calm, and frustration however today I’m sharing with you 21 idioms in English to express feelings with sharp accuracy bringing a new level of sophistication to how you express your feelings in English.

Understanding and knowing how to accurately use idioms in English allow you to describe an exact situation or a precise feeling in a more efficient and creative way. 

Not only that, but you can also be more concise in English communication. Idioms help you describe complicated emotions in just a few words. They perfectly describe something complex in a simple way.

For example, if I say I’m feeling frustrated, that simple word doesn’t fully express whether something is simply under my skin or whether I’m nearly ready to flip my lid (two idioms you’ll learn more about in a moment).

Recently members of my Confident Women Community explored more than 30 English idioms to express frustration, anger, joy, and calm and their subtleties. 

Today I’ve refined that list for you and I’ll share 21 English idioms to express feelings, specifically feelings of joy, calm, and frustration.

And if you’re wondering HOW you can effectively learn these idioms so that you can use them easily in your next English conversation, stick with me. I’ll share my top tips with you on how to do that.

21 English Idioms to Express Feelings of Joy, Calm, Frustration, and Anger

English Idioms To Describe A General State of Positivity


To feel sunny

Means to be outwardly cheerful or optimistic and generally happens when conditions lead you to feel hopeful and pleased. 

  • Ex. Henna felt sunny as she brainstormed ideas. 


To feel upbeat

Like ‘sunny’, upbeat means to feel full of hope, optimism, and joy.

Difference: A person can be sunny and not call attention to themselves. When we’re upbeat, we’re often referring to exhibiting hope, optimism, and joy in a lively way. 

  • Ex. “Listening to her favorite song made her feel upbeat”.


To be in good spirits

Means to feel light-hearted and cheerful without losing pace or balance

  • Ex. The team was in good spirits as they approached their project deadline. 


To be in good humor

To be cheerful and particularly agreeable or amicable

  • Ex. “My mother seemed to be in good humor as we strolled through the garden.”

English Idioms To Describe Joy

To leap/jump for joy

To feel so happy that you nearly, or do, jump up. 

  • Ex. “She couldn’t help but leap for joy when they offered her the job.”

To burst with joy

To feel full to a figurative point of bursting with happiness

  • Ex. “My daughter was bursting with joy while getting ready for her first day of school.”

To weep for joy

To cry out of pure happiness

  • Ex. “It was hard not to weep for joy when I saw my brother.”

To be over the moon

To feel extremely pleased

  • Ex. “We were over the moon when we found out that we were moving to France.”

To be on cloud nine

To be overwhelmed with happiness, satisfaction, or excitement

  • Ex. “Rachel felt like she was on cloud nine when she finally bought her dream house.”

English Idioms To Describe Calm

To be even-keeled

To be even, well-adjusted, and calm

  • Ex. “My coworker Susan always remains even-keeled no matter how stressful the situation might be in our office.”

To be cool as a cucumber

To be calm and composed, especially under the circumstances

  • Ex. “As she got ready to go out on stage to give her presentation, Carrie remained as cool as a cucumber.”

To keep one’s cool

To stay calm in a difficult situation

  • Ex. “I felt frustrated by the constant questioning, but I kept my cool all the same.”

English Idioms To Describe Irritation/Frustration

Sometimes it can be difficult to remain calm. In those moments, we may experience irritation, frustration, or other negative feelings. 

These idioms help use describe irritation: 

To get under one’s skin

To annoy someone through behavior or communication

  • Ex. “As much as she tried, her teenager daughter’s behavior got under Elaine’s skin.”

To push one’s buttons

To cause a strong reaction or emotional response in someone; to provoke a negative response

  • Ex. “My brother knew exactly how to push my buttons and get me in trouble with our parents.”

To be on edge

To be nervous, anxious, irritated, and/or unrelaxed

  • Ex. “As she got ready to go out on stage to give her presentation, Carrie appeared to be on edge as she paced back and forth.”

English Idioms To Describe Anger

To lose one’s temper/to lose it

To lose composure and visibly show anger

  • Ex. “My mom lost it when she found out that I had failed my test.”

To get triggered

To experience or have an emotional reaction to a disturbing topic in the media or social setting, OR to something that is associated with the memory of a past, negative event

  • Ex. “Watching the movie triggered me and I couldn’t finish the rest.”

To lash out

To suddenly attack someone, verbally or physically, from a point of anger

  • Ex. “She lashed out when she found out she lost her job.”

English Idioms To Describe Explosive/Uncontrollable Anger

To blow a fuse

To become extremely angry

  • Ex. “Jamie’s aunt blew a fuse when she found out that we weren’t coming over for Thanksgiving this year.”

To go ballistic

To become extremely angry and fly into a blind rage

  • Ex. “Fans went ballistic when they found out that their favorite singer was cut from the show.”

To flip a lid

To become angry in a crazy, uncontrolled manner

  • Ex. “My supervisor will flip his lid again if we don’t meet today’s target.”

Time to Practice!

After you watch the lesson with 21 English Idioms to Express Feelings of Joy, Calm, Frustration, and Anger, I have 2 questions for you: 

  1. Think about a point throughout the past week where any of today’s idioms accurately describes the emotion(s). Which idioms would you select?
  2. Now use the idiom(s) in your own example to describe what happened. Share why the idiom accurately reflects the emotion.

The best place for you to share (and learn from others in the SCE Community), is in the comment section below. I’d love to see how you use idioms from this lesson today to describe your feelings.

~ Annemarie


P.S. Are you looking for a community to provide support, help you stay motivated, and guarantee that you grow? Check out our Confident Women Community.

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