The Wheel of Emotions

The Wheel of Emotions

Can we know precisely which kind of emotions we are feeling? Can we really differentiate between them when we are in situations where we have so many of them arousing?
Sometimes we think we are angry, but deep inside what we are feeling is disappointment, or sadness. The range of our emotions is so rich and broad, that  it may be confusing to understand which ones we are actually feeling or what to do about those feelings.

In this last month, two clients have pulled out this “Wheel of Emotions”, one had it printed and the other one on her phone. I hadn’t used it for a while, and I actually think it’s very useful and interesting. Let me share my insights:

  1. They help us build self awareness: it is a way in which we can expand our “emotional alphabet”. When we understand and can name an emotion, we can communicate it effectively to others as well. It is an important exercise of self expression. Sometimes we forget how broad our emotional world can be, and this tool is just perfect to explore on our complex and fascinating humanity.

  2. What are they telling us: emotions have impacts on our behaviors. If we are not sure of what they are trying to tell us in a specific situation we are not able to understand what is lying underneath, that bigger emotion that is triggering something. Have you seen Pixar’s movie “INSIDE OUT”? Ecco, it talks about the “main” emotions that then guide our behaviors, but there’s a continuum of that emotion that has different intensities.

  3. Improve and learn about our emotional intelligence as well as developing our empathy: How can we understand others emotions if we don’t know how it feels? We often say or hear, “I am angry”, or “I’m frustrated”, when what it really holds is fear for example… If we are not open or friends with fear, we wont’t know how to empathize with the people we’re relating to. 

“Emotion Wheels” and “Feeling wheels” may vary. They can be adapted by the therapist or person who is using it depending on what they want to focus on. However they are all based on the same structure of 6-8 primary emotions at the middle, and secondary and tertiary emotions surrounding them. The main 6 emotions are: sadness, disgust, anger, anticipation, joy, fear, surprise, and trust. 

 If you look at them they are usually very colorful and may vary in shapes, helping us distinguish visually each emotion. Also you will notice that emotions are facing their opposites. This helps us (again), to visually differentiate them better and understand our feelings by intensifying the feeling or the interaction instead of canceling each other.

Sometimes we forget how broad our emotional world can be, and this tool is just perfect to explore and get to know more about ourselves.

It is also very useful with kids, so that we help them pinpoint what they’re feeling so they learn to manage it in the best way. (I found this Emotion Wheel you can download for free at  https://www.rewardcharts4kids.com/feelings-wheel They have other great resources so make sure to check them out!)

Have you used this tool? Any thoughts on it? Thank you for sharing!!!

Wheel of Emotions

I leave this additional articles I found interesting where you can read more and expand on this!


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