How to Express Emotions in Spanish

Osmel Gelvez
January 9, 2024
Emotions in Spanish

Learning about emotions in Spanish is a vital aspect of language acquisition. Expressing and understanding feelings in Spanish not only enhances language skills but also fosters a deeper connection with the culture.

Through emotional expressions in Spanish, learners can gain valuable insights into the nuances of the language and its cultural significance. Understanding emotional vocabulary and expressions is fundamental for effective communication and meaningful interactions in Spanish.

Basic Emotions in Spanish

Let’s start with the basics. How do you say you’re happy or sad in Spanish? As our tutor Pilar explains, “Cuando me preguntan cómo estás, puedo responder estoy feliz (I am happy), estoy contenta (I am content), or estoy triste (I am sad).”

Remember, some adjectives change based on gender – ‘contento’ for males and ‘contenta’ for females, for example.

8 basic emotions in Spanish:

  • Feliz (Happy)
  • Triste (Sad)
  • Enojado/a (Angry)
  • Asustado/a (Scared)
  • Emocionado/a (Excited)
  • Aburrido/a (Bored)
  • Relajado/a (Relaxed)
  • Nervioso/a (Nervous)

Using ‘Estar’ and ‘Sentir’

In Spanish, two main verbs help express emotions: ‘estar’ and ‘sentir.’ ‘Estar’ is used similarly to ‘am’ in English, as in “Estoy aburrido” (I am bored).

On the other hand, ‘sentir’ is used with a reflexive pronoun, as in “Me siento contenta” (I feel content). This distinction is crucial in accurately conveying your feelings.

Using “Estoy” (I am):

  • Estoy feliz (I am happy)
  • Estoy cansado/a (I am tired)
  • Estoy emocionado/a (I am excited)
  • Estoy confundido/a (I am confused)
  • Estoy sorprendido/a (I am surprised)
  • Estoy preocupado/a (I am worried)
  • Estoy enfermo/a (I am sick)
  • Estoy nervioso/a (I am nervous)
  • Estoy aburrido/a (I am bored)
  • Estoy agradecido/a (I am grateful)

Using “Me siento” (I feel):

  • Me siento triste (I feel sad)
  • Me siento contento/a (I feel content)
  • Me siento frustrado/a (I feel frustrated)
  • Me siento aliviado/a (I feel relieved)
  • Me siento orgulloso/a (I feel proud)
  • Me siento solo/a (I feel lonely)
  • Me siento animado/a (I feel encouraged)
  • Me siento agobiado/a (I feel overwhelmed)
  • Me siento seguro/a (I feel secure)
  • Me siento inspirado/a (I feel inspired)

Expressing Mixed Emotions in Spanish

Spanish allows for the expression of complex and mixed emotions. For instance, “Estoy un poco enojada” (I am a little angry) or “Estoy extremadamente feliz” (I am extremely happy).

By combining adjectives with adverbs like ‘muy’ (very), ‘bastante’ (quite), or ‘extremadamente’ (extremely), you can convey the intensity of your feelings.

  • Estoy bastante confundido/a (I am quite confused)
  • Me siento un poco triste pero también aliviado/a (I feel a little sad but also relieved)
  • Estoy increíblemente emocionado/a (I am incredibly excited)
  • Me siento muy cansado/a pero contento/a (I feel very tired but happy)
  • Estoy ligeramente irritado/a (I am slightly irritated)
  • Me siento extremadamente agradecido/a (I feel extremely grateful)
  • Estoy bastante ansioso/a pero esperanzado/a (I am quite anxious but hopeful)
  • Me siento un poco abrumado/a pero decidido/a (I feel a bit overwhelmed but determined)
  • Estoy terriblemente preocupado/a pero optimista (I am terribly worried but optimistic)
  • Me siento un poco melancólico/a pero tranquilo/a (I feel a bit melancholic but calm)

Common Spanish Phrases for Emotions

Spanish has some colorful phrases to express emotions, adding a cultural flavor to your conversation.

For example, “estar de mal humor” (to be in a bad mood) or “estar feliz como una lombriz” (literally, happy as a worm, but akin to ‘happy as a clam’). These idiomatic expressions are a fun way to enhance your emotional vocabulary in Spanish.

  • “Estar en las nubes” (literally, to be in the clouds) – used to describe being distracted or daydreaming.
  • “Tener el corazón en un puño” (literally, to have the heart in a fist) – to be very worried or anxious.
  • “Estar con el alma en vilo” (literally, to be with the soul in suspense) – feeling extremely nervous or on edge.
  • “Saltar de alegría” (literally, to jump with joy) – to be extremely happy or overjoyed.
  • “Llevar un susto en el cuerpo” (literally, to carry a fright in the body) – to be scared or have had a recent fright.

Emotions in Spanish Grammar

Spanish grammar plays a crucial role in expressing emotions. As Pilar notes, “estoy aburrida no es lo mismo que soy aburrida” (I am bored is not the same as I am boring). Understanding the nuances of ‘ser’ and ‘estar’ is key to expressing emotions correctly in Spanish.

Practical Application: Using Emotions in Conversations

The real test of understanding emotions in Spanish comes through conversation. Engage in language exchanges or practice with native speakers. Use the phrases you’ve learned to describe how you feel in different situations. For instance, discuss how you feel about a recent movie or a book in Spanish. The more you practice, the more natural it will become.


Mastering the art of expressing emotions in Spanish opens a new dimension in your language learning journey. It’s not just about the words; it’s about connecting with others on an emotional level. With practice, you’ll find that discussing your feelings in Spanish can become as comfortable as in your native tongue.

Remember, language learning is not just about acquiring skills; it’s about opening doors to new experiences and deeper connections.

So, how do you feel about diving into the emotional side of Spanish? Excited, apprehensive, motivated? Whatever your emotion, embrace it as part of your journey to fluency in Spanish!

What are you wating for? Learn the real Spanish!

Osmel Gelvez

Osmel Gelvez

Language enthusiast, sharing cultural insights and language tips with a passion for immersion.

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