#198: Describe Your Feelings in English [23 Collocations, Idioms, & Synonyms]
When was the last time you watched a TV commercial that made you cry and feel hopeful?
I know. It’s kind of strange for a TV commercial to do that. But it happens, right?
A common way to talk about that bizarre but strong mix of feelings is to say, “That commercial gave me all the feels!”
When someone asks how you feel, you certainly know words like happy, sad, angry, and tired.
But do those perfectly describe you how feel? Or are your feelings sometimes more complex?
In English, we have a variety of collocations, idioms, and synonyms we use to be precise about what we’re feeling and how strong or mixed the feeling is.
In this lesson today, you’ll get 23 new ways to describe your feelings in English whether it’s happy, sad, angry, tired, confused, or… all the feels. 🥰
Describe Your Feelings in English
23 Collocations, Idioms, and Synonyms
One of the most common topics of small talk and conversation is how you feel about something happening.
It may be as simple as your response to the common question: “Hey, how’s it going?” To telling your coworker how happy, sad, tired, or angry you are about something that happened yesterday.
Of course, you know words like happy, sad, angry, and tired, but English speakers have a vast number of expressions, collocations, and idioms we use to talk about how we feel.
Doing so not only brings exciting variety to the conversation, but it also allows you to be precise about how you feel, choosing the exact word that allows you to express what you want.
I’m Annemarie with Speak Confident English. This is exactly where you want to be every week to get the confidence you want for your life and work in English.
In this video today, you’re going to learn 23 new ways to talk about how you feel, whether it’s happy, sad, angry, tired, confused, or “all the feels.”
Throughout the lesson, you’ll learn a variety of collocations, idioms, and synonyms so that you can describe even the smallest difference in the kind of happiness you feel.
For example, there’s a difference between feeling happy because it’s Friday, which is certainly a great feeling, and the kind of happiness you feel when you realize you were successful in a job interview in English, and they just offered you the job.
Both of those result in happy feelings, but there is a little difference, isn’t there? There certainly is. And in today’s lesson, you’re going to learn exactly how to talk about those.
Let’s start today by talking about the feels.
On social media or on TV shows, you may hear people talk about having all the feels or feeling all the feels. It’s not very common that we see that word feel used as a countable noun.
These two expressions are very informal and what they mean is to feel a depth and often a variety of emotions.
For example, have you ever watched a TV commercial that made you cry? And you had this weird mix of feelings, including hope for humanity. Those are surprising feelings from a TV commercial. And when you’re telling a friend about it, you might say that TV commercial made me feel all the feels or I had all the feels when I watched that TV commercial.
It’s definitely become a common expression to use. And now that you know it, you’ll probably start seeing it quite a bit.
So now that we know about all the feels, let’s talk about a few ways to describe happiness.
For this feeling, we’re going to focus on four different synonyms that describe different levels or kinds of happiness we feel.
The first one is to be thrilled. Now, this is a word I actually use a lot. I love this word and it means to be extremely pleased.
For example, when someone tells me that one of my lessons was useful to them, I feel extremely pleased. I feel really happy. I’m thrilled.
Now with the word happy, of course, we could emphasize that word by adding the word very, to be very happy. Or we could be blissfully happy.
Blissful means to be full of. To be full of happiness.
Similar to being blissfully happy is to be delighted. This is also a great alternative to the word thrilled because it also means to be extremely pleased about something.
You might be delighted that your team was successful in winning a new client. You might be delighted that your son’s sports team won the championship. Or you’re delighted because a coworker brought you flowers for your birthday.
And the last one for talking about feeling happy is a really fun one to be giddy. We often combine this with the word excitement, to be giddy with excitement.
To be giddy can mean to feel dizzy. So imagine there’s so much excitement and happiness that you are dizzy. Or it can also mean to be light-hearted. Someone who’s lighthearted is so happy and they don’t have any worries or concerns or stresses.
One image I love to think about with this idea of giddy with excitement is to imagine a wave of excitement, something that’s overwhelming, but in a positive way.
All right, now that you’ve got a variety of ways of talking about feeling happy, let’s talk about feeling sad.
You know those days when you wake up and you just don’t feel great? You don’t really know why, maybe it’s a lack of sleep. Maybe something’s not going well at work. And you just feel this slight general sense of sadness or a little bit of depression.
It’s nothing serious, but you just don’t feel particularly great. In that case, you might say that you feel blue.
If a friend calls you and says, Hey, how are you doing? You might say, Hmm, feeling kind of blue today.
Similar to that idiom, but perhaps slightly stronger is to feel down or to feel down in the dumps.
Again, this means to be sad or depressed. If a friend of yours recently lost a job, they might be feeling down or maybe you see a friend and immediately you notice that something isn’t right. She’s upset about something. So you might say, you look a bit down, is everything okay?
Our third way to talk about feeling slightly sad is to say, I’m not really feeling it. What that means is you’re just generally disinterested in something.
I actually used this one recently when my husband and I were watching a movie. It was a movie that he thought was fantastic. He was really enjoying it. And at the end he said, wasn’t that fantastic? And I said, Hmm, I wasn’t really feeling it. In other words, I wasn’t very interested in it. I don’t know why.
Now typically we might feel that sense of disinterest because we’re tired or slightly depressed or upset about something.
And finally, our last example for how to talk about feeling sad is to have a heavy heart. Now, this one is a powerful expression. If you have a heavy heart, you are very sad, even miserable.
You may have a heavy heart because a friend received some terrible news or something awful happened at work. If you’re telling a coworker about something upsetting, you might say, Oh, I have a really heavy heart today.
Before we move on to look at a variety of ways that we can use to talk about feeling angry, I want to pause here for a moment. This particular month, I’m sharing several videos related to vocabulary because I want to help you grow your vocabulary and communicate precisely.
My goal, of course, is not only for you to learn new vocabulary, but to remember it, to be able to use it. So as you watch this lesson today, I have two pieces of advice.
Number one, after you hear my example sentences, take a moment to create your own example sentence, using the same synonym, idiom, or collocation. Doing that not only personalizes the language, but it also gives you some of the repetition you need to help you remember something new.
The second thing that you can do is to create an effective daily habit for practicing vocabulary. And I’ve got an easy way to help you do that. Recently, I shared a lesson on how to develop an effective daily habit in English, and I included a free download to help you track your English vocabulary habits.
You can check out that lesson and get the free download on my website. I’ll be sure to leave a link for you just below this video.
And now let’s talk about a few different to talk about feeling angry.
The first word on our list is kind of a fun word, even though it’s a negative feeling: to feel prickly. Now, a cactus is prickly. And when someone is prickly, it means they are easily offended or they’re just ready to take offense.
Maybe, you know someone at work who’s generally just prickly. You never know when they’re going to be offended and upset by something you say. And of course, sometimes all of us are prickly. Maybe you didn’t get a lot of sleep last night. So today you’re just kind of a little angry and frustrated.
The danger of being prickly is that you never know when someone might explode or be about to explode. Now of course the word explode is an aggressive word. Imagine something exploding in anger. Definitely not a positive moment.
For example, yesterday, we were all shocked when our boss exploded with anger. Or those moments when you feel really angry inside, you know that you’re prickly and you want to warn someone to be very careful. You might say I’m about to explode and that lets them know it’s probably time to walk away.
The third way that we can talk about feeling angry is to say that you’re furious.
Now this is a synonym that we can use and it’s definitely a more powerful way to talk about being angry because when someone is furious, they are extremely angry. They may be about to explode.
Okay? We’ve talked about all the feels, alternatives to talk about feeling happy, sad, and angry. So now let’s move on to talking about feeling tired, feeling confused, and we’ll finish with some great expressions to use when you want to tell someone else that you understand exactly how they feel.
Let’s talk about feeling tired.
The first one is to feel or to be worn down, which means to be weary and overcome with stress and pressure. I think for many of us, 2020 was a year when we felt worn down, we had a lot of increased pressures and unexpected stresses in our lives.
At the end of a long week, you might come home on Friday and say, Oh, I’m so worn down. I just want to sleep all weekend.
An expression that sounds similar is to be worn out, but there’s a slight difference in the meaning here. When something is worn out, it means that it’s been overused. So if you’re feeling worn out, it typically means that physically you’re exhausted.
Maybe you had a particularly difficult workout or you went on a run that was much longer than usual and afterward physically you’re worn out.
And when that happens, you may need to take a breather. To take a breather means to pause your activities for a short period of time. And just to relax.
Again, for example, if you’ve had a particularly long week and someone asks, what are you doing this weekend? You might say, ah, I’m worn out. I’m just taking a breather.
And lastly, the fourth way to talk about feeling tired is again, a synonym to feel or be exhausted. So here we’re using a more powerful word to talk about feeling very tired.
How are you doing? I know we’ve got a lot of new vocabulary today. How are you feeling about it? Of course, in a moment I want you to practice, but first we have just six more expressions to learn today.
We’ve got four about feeling confused and two to learn for what to say when you want to tell someone else that you understand how they feel.
So let’s talk about feeling confused.
The first one is to feel off or to feel slightly off. This one works for a general feeling of being confused or not really clear minded. It’s also possible to use it when you just feel a light sense of sadness or depression to just feel off. I feel off today. It may be because you slept poorly or maybe you’re coming down with a cold.
There may be days when you go to work and you just can’t do anything. You can’t think clearly you don’t have the energy again. You just feel off.
Our second one is to be a hot mess. If you’re a hot mess, you are absolutely disorganized. Everything is in chaos and you might feel that you can’t do anything right. Maybe you had a particularly terrible day at work where everything went wrong. So then you come home at the end of the day and you say, Oh my gosh, I’m a hot mess today. Or I feel like I’m a hot mess.
Number three is to feel puzzled. This is a great synonym for feeling confused. And we often use this if we’ve got some doubt or uncertainty. Now, recently actually did a lesson on how to talk about expressing doubt and uncertainty. And I’ll leave a link to that just below the video.
And now our last one for talking about feeling confused is to have mixed feelings. This is another great one to talk about doubt and uncertainty.
Let’s say that you’re about to make a big decision, but you’re still having this mix of, is this the right thing? Is it the wrong thing? I don’t know. You go back and forth. You have mixed feelings about it.
Similarly, maybe you and your team members at work are trying to solve a problem. And although someone has presented a really great solution, you’re just not sure about it. Something doesn’t seem right. Again, you have mixed feelings about it.
And with that, you have 21 different ways to talk about all the feels plus being happy, sad, angry, tired, or confused.
So let’s finish with two ways that you can tell someone else that you understand how they feel.
For example, if someone says after 2020, I feel totally worn out. You might say, I feel, ya. I feel ya. Or I know the feeling. Both of those are perfect ways to identify with someone else.
Now that you have finished this lesson with 23 new ways to talk about how you feel, I want you to practice. That is an essential step in remembering all this new vocabulary so you can use it easily in conversation.
If you found this lesson useful to you, I would love to know. You can tell me in three simple ways, number one, give this lesson a thumbs up on YouTube and subscribe to this channel so you never miss one of my Confident English lessons.
Number two, if you have a friend or a coworker, who’s also working to increase their English vocabulary, share this lesson with them. And number three, practice with me. Share your examples below the video with that.
Have a wonderful week. Thank you for joining me. And I look forward to seeing you next time for your Confident English lesson.
You know what’s next. It’s time to practice!
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know my top recommendations for learning and remembering new vocabulary. They definitely include real practice and that means creating your own example sentences.
For today, I want you to:
- Identify your favorite new collocation, idioms, or synonym from today’s lesson.
- Think of a real-life situation when you felt surprised.
- Try using the new vocabulary in a sentence and share it with me in the comments below.
And a bonus challenge: which expression from today’s lesson best describes how I feel about it? 🤔
Have a fantastic Confident English Wednesday!
Get the Confidence to Say What You Want in English
Download my free training on how to build the courage and confidence you need to say what you want in English.
You'll also get my Confident English lessons delivered by email every Wednesday and occasional information about available courses. You can unsubscribe any time.
Learn with me
Most Recent Lessons
Motivate your team in English and effectively demonstrate your leadership skills with these 14 must-have phrases + 4 key strategies. Get clear example sentences that you can confidently adapt to your needs as a team leader in an English-speaking environment at work.
Use these English idioms to express your feelings. Idioms add creativity and nuance so you can express yourself precisely.
Assimilation in American English is the reason why the sentence “Nice to meet you” sounds like “nice to meetchu.” As part of the Confident English series on how to Understand Fast English Speakers, this pronunciation training lesson will highlight 6 clear examples of assimilation in American English.