racorn/Shutterstock
Source: racorn/Shutterstock

Have you ever had the persistent feeling that you were out of place, or felt a sense of sadness that you will never know what will happen to your great-great-grandchildren? Some of these strange feelings have names. See how many you have experienced: 

1. Opia.

This is the name given to the intense feeling of invasive arousal that one feels when engaging in mutual gaze—making direct eye contact with someone else. A great deal of research has been done on eye contact (see here), and it is well established that eye contact can be arousing. The arousal is often interpreted based on the circumstances. If the person is perceived as a threat, it is unpleasant. If two people are attracted to each other, it is pleasant and titillating.

2. Déjà vu.

Most everyone knows this one: It is the feeling that you’ve been someplace before or that you are repeating an event. Memory psychologists believe that this is caused by features from a past experience that are triggered by features of the new experience, which are similar in some way. Approximately 75% of people report experiencing déjà vu.

3. Ellipsism.

This is the term given to a sense of sadness one experiences when realizing that one won’t live to see the future. For example, an elderly person may be sad because he won’t get to see a newborn baby age into adulthood.

4. Chrysalism.

Have you ever had a sense of warmth, peace, and tranquility when you are warm and dry inside the house during an intense rainstorm? This experience could be likened to feeling like you are back in the womb, and so has been labeled "Chrysalism."

5. Adronitis.

This is a sense of frustration experienced when meeting a new and interesting person, but realizing how long it is going to take to develop the relationship fully. You want the relationship to develop quickly, but you know it won’t. Research on relationships suggests that one mechanism for developing closeness is reciprocal self-disclosure, i.e. successively revealing personal information to each other, which takes some time.

6. Liberosis.

The desire to care less about things. As we mature into adults, we take on more and more responsibilities. Liberosis is the feeling you get when you wish you could be a child again, without cares and concerns.

7. Enouement.

Have you ever wished that you could go back in time and tell your past self about the future? This is enouement. When something has turned out well, you recall how your younger self worried about it, and you wish that you could go back and let your younger self know that things will turn out OK.

8. Jouska.

This is a hypothetical conversation that you play out over and over in your head. For example, replaying an argument in your head where you say all the right things and “win” the argument, or practicing asking your boss for a raise and playing out his or her responses and your comebacks.

9. Exulansis.

A sense of frustration when you realize that you are talking about an important experience, but other people are unable to understand or relate to it, and so you give up talking about it.

10. Fugue state.

This last one is a psychological condition in which the individual moves about and speaks, but without conscious awareness. Fugue states can be alcohol or drug induced, where an individual has no memory of his or her actions.

While some of these feelings have been studied by psychologists, others have not. But many have been labeled and explained in the very interesting Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

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