I wanted to share this really interesting tool called “The Feeling Wheel” because sometimes I feel (ahem, you see, I am getting into feeling talk already) that we are all too general with our emotional expression. When you are general, life is more hazy. Specific words breathe more vibrance into your life, including your emotional life.
In fact, some have postulated that we didn’t HAVE emotions until we had the words to express these emotions.
Pretty cool right. Now, let’s get into the Feeling Wheel!
“I’m pissed off.” (which would fall into the MAD category of emotions, can suddenly fan out into a panoply of options that more accurately express how you are feeling. MAD can be hostile, angry, selfish, hateful, critical or hurt…. and fanning out further from there… refined to a more distant outer wheel of emotions: distant, sarcastic, frustrated, jealous, irritated, skeptical.
How cool is it that when you are being skeptical…. it can be tracked back to anger?! While this is not an intuitive leap for me, it makes sense when I see it on the Wheel.
I have found this wheel, developed by Gloria Wilcox, to be a wonderful way to get clarity on vague emotional states, to break out of a funk, and to start conversations that matter in a more incisive way. Many have used this wheel in 12-Step recovery, psychotherapy and mindfulness training. Artists may find it invaluable for creating more exacting emotional communication.
So, next time you are “sad” can you see why? Can you see how to flip it to the other side of the wheel, to the joyful emotional spectrum?
Today I am powerful/ faithful/ confident. Good day, today! How are you feeling? xoxo Dana
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