self-assessment

Emotions in the Body

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands, your chest, your face, your knees and your toes. According to a recent study, emotions are felt physically:

We propose that consciously felt emotions are associated with culturally universal, topographically distinct bodily sensations that may support the categorical experience of different emotions.1

In the study, happiness was found to be a full-body, warm, active experience, whereas depression was characterized by a notable inactivity in the heart and gut areas, with decreased inner sensation in the limbs.


The body maps show regions whose activation increased (warm colors) or decreased (cool colors) when feeling each emotion.

How are you feeling today—right now? Can you feel your emotion in your body? Try using your hands to sense where in your body your emotion feels alive. How does your posture feel? What expression are the muscles in your face forming?

If you are feeling emotion that is overwhelming or agitating, it can help to notice the sensations arising in your body. Noticing brings an observer’s perspective, which can be calming.

And if you are feeling emotion that is so delightful you can hardly contain yourself,2 embodying it fully is a fulfilling way of appreciating the moment.


  1. Bodily maps of emotions. Lauri Nummenmaa, Enrico Glerean, Riitta Hari, Jari K. Hietanen. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 January 14; 111(2): 646–651. Published online 2013 December 30. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1321664111 

  2. Take a moment to contemplate what it physically feels like to hardly be able to contain yourself. 

Heart Chart

Ever wonder where your motivation is? Your heart is an excellent place to look.

Tracking how you spend your time and where your money goes are well known techniques, so why not track your energy and passion? Coach Kris Moauro devised this simple and incredibly fruitful self-observation exercise.

Chart Your Heart

When you wake up, how raring are you to meet and start your day? Throughout the day track three key factors on a scale of one to ten:

  1. What activity are you engaged in? (Note: sleeping, navel contemplation, and standing bovinely in a field all count as activities.)
  2. How does your heart feel?
  3. How energized do you feel?

Kris recommends charting your heart’s course for a month, and I second that: the heart and the moon are old friends and tend to travel together, so best to let them complete a whole cycle.

At the end of the month, review your Heart Chart. What patterns emerge? How do you want to feel? What kind of energy do you want to bring to and have in your life?

So many of us want to follow our heart. Sometimes a map is just what we need.

ADHD Resources

What Is ADHD, Anyway?

First, some of the many positive symptoms common to ADHD:

  • Smart
  • Creative
  • Enthusiastic
  • Ethical
  • Loyal
  • Empathetic
  • Funny
  • Innovative
  • Spontaneous
  • Observant
  • Kind
  • Caring

ADHD stands for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. ADHD is characterized by difficulty in:

  • directing one’s attention
  • controlling one’s impulses
  • regulating one’s level of activity

Whereas in children hyperactivity looks like excessive fidgeting, running in circles, and climbing walls, in teens and especially adults it is more likely to manifest as mental restlessness.

More Information on ADHD

ADHD Self-Assessment Links

READ THIS FIRST: Self-Assessment vs. Proper Diagnosis

The below assessment tools cannot be used to diagnose ADHD.

A proper diagnosis of ADHD can only be made by qualified health practitioners, and ought to be made at the end of a very thorough procedure, including a detailed life history, as well as descriptions of observed behavior from third parties (parents, teachers, coworkers…). My own diagnosis was given by a doctor of clinical psychology after four one-hour-long sessions. I then chose to supplement that diagnosis with cognitive neuropsychological testing, which took an additional total of six hours. Both doctors were specifically recommended to me by other doctors who had earned my trust.

The purpose of self-assessment tools such as those that follow is to help people determine whether or not they might be exhibiting symptoms associated with ADHD. If you take one or more self-assessment tests, and those tests indicate a strong possibility of ADHD, the next step in obtaining a diagnosis would be to seek a qualified health care provider—one who specializes in ADHD for your age range.

I recommend, before choosing a licensed diagnostician, that you ask what steps they go through to arrive at a diagnosis. If the steps they recommend amount to little more than questionnaires similar to those below, thank them, say you want to think it over, and then continue your search. If you’re going to have someone examine your brain—the command center of your entire body—you should make sure you find the most qualified, most knowledgable, most careful health professional to do it.

Links:

Support for ADHD

Go Fish in
Streams of Consciousness:

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