The Feeling Wheel is a simple and useful tool in helping you to know how you feel and some ideas on what you can do about it. Learning how to use the feeling wheel is the first step to understanding how to control your emotions.
The Feeling Wheel will also help you to communicate better and for others to understand what you need.
Emotions can be overwhelming and not knowing how to cope with them can affect us in many ways including:
- communication difficulties, making us react to things that we later regret;
- not knowing how we feel about things and situations;
- finding it difficult to ask for what we need; not knowing what we need etc.
- Learning to understand your emotions is a great start to helping you. Combining this with a grounding technique found here would go a long way in making lasting change.
What is the feeling wheel?
The Feeling wheel is such a simple and straightforward way to learn how to understand your emotions. It is often used with another technique called the Emotional Freedom Technique, but you can use it easily on its own.
The feeling wheel is a great tool for you and is simple to use once I’ve explained it.
How to use the Feeling Wheel?
As you could see, it has got a lot of words but lets at this time pay attention to what’s going on right in the middle.
The six words in the middle are 6 basic core feelings that we have all got:
Peaceful, sad, mad, scared, joyful, powerful. The top half of the wheel Sad, mad and scared are classed as “negative” emotions while the bottom half peaceful, powerful and joyful are classed as “positive”.
Just to reiterate that no emotions are negative. The only issue is if you are mainly stuck in one negative emotion for most situations for example Sadness or Anger or Anxiety. This is usually the beginning of mental health issues.
It is also important to note that it is also about the appropriateness of the emotions at the time. For example, it is ok to be sad or even depressed while at a Funeral. Others may feel it inappropriate if you are joyful or you show excitement.
Mad: A lot of people know when they are angry. Just to say that they are angry! They know instantly when they are mad. It is easy to say that you are mad but what is really going on for you?
You have the words leading from Mad which will reflect more accurately what you are feeling. Then you’ve got the one’s on the outer edge there. Are you frustrated? Jealous? Irritated?
Scared: Are you feeling anxious, rejected, confused? Or inadequate, that’s usually quite a good one as when someone’s feeling quite anxious, they are actually feeling quite inadequate. And you’ve got the same here for sad.
Sad: Are you ashamed? Bored? Lonely? Isolated?
I’m just starting with the “negative” at the moment. There is nothing wrong with any of these feelings, as no feelings are negative. It’s just how it comes out can often be seen as negative.
Any feelings demonstrate what is happening with you.
Understanding your Positive emotions
At the bottom here you have more positive emotions: Peaceful, powerful, joyful
And if you start here with joy. You can home in on the words cheerful, excited, stimulated and optimistic. And the same with powerful – respected and important
This is useful as it shows what you could be missing or what you need in your life.
For example, if you experience a lot of frustrations (from Mad), the section directly opposite Mad is Powerful.
Very often people display Anger if you feel deep down you are lacking in some Power. You could be lacking in feeling valuable, worthwhile, respected or important etc.
Under scared, you might be feeling quite helpless, because you are not being nurtured. If you look on the opposite direction, you need to feel secure, you need to feel content and that’s what lacking at the moment.
Some ideas on how you can use the feeling wheel
Once you know how you are feeling, you can use it to communicate. So you would be able to communicate with someone. “I am feeling irritated because you are not respecting me”.
You could use it when you are journaling, or just to work out how you are really feeling about particular issues in your life.
You may just need to find activities that would help you to feel some of these emotions:
- What can make you feel relaxed if you are feeling anxious?
- What words can you say to yourself to reduce feelings of overwhelm?
- Who can you spend time with or where can you go that can make you feel those ways?
- When we are looking sad, if you are feeling quite sad and lonely or isolated as we’ve got here. The opposite feeling to that is feeling creative and hopeful. Hope is a good thing to feel, to try and find some hope in your difficulties.
- How would you use the Feeling Wheel? Let me know by commenting below
What to do next
Feel free to share with someone else that you believe needs therapy. You never know that this may help them to make their minds up!