Feeling Wheel

On the rare occasion, I have used a feeling chart in counselling to help me identify how I’m feeling. Originally I thought it was a stupid idea especially when some of the feeling charts show cartoon faces (ok, fine, I guess it can sometimes be fun if the faces are fun, like the Lego one). But, as soon as I gave it a try I experienced great relief in having a more precise word to describe how I was feeling (saying angry or sad really only gets you so far).

I wanted to share with you the feeling wheel. I’m printing one off as we speak so I can use it more frequently.

feeling wheel
feeling wheel 1

What I like about these feeling wheels is how they break down each of the basic emotions into it’s diverse and more specific forms. Sometimes when I’m feeling angry it’s because I’m frustrated which then makes me feel irritated. Instead of just saying, “I’m angry,” the two above wheels allow us to get more specific which can help us in figuring out what is causing the feeling and how we can cope with it.

(I am personally using the black and white one; it has more options and I want to colour it!)

Have you ever used a feeling chart/wheel before? Have you found them helpful? Is this something you could use in your daily life?

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16 thoughts on “Feeling Wheel

  1. no, never used one of these. they are very interesting since they are so much more specific. like you, i have sometimes seen a page of faces and picked out the most appropriate face, but as you say, it only gives a general sense of how one feels.

    • Also, not everyone makes the same face when they are experiencing an emotion. With the wheel, and it just using words (even in list form) it provides more options. A hateful, frustrated and aggressive face might look the same but the causes of those emotions and solutions for coping might be very different then if you just pick “Mad”.

  2. Like the sound of the wheel, will print it off as well. My wife gets frustrated because I can’t think of anything better to say than “I’m not good today”! What does that mean….

    • Ha ha I can get like that too. I’ve noticed my main emotion that causes problems is “No”. I know, not an emotion but when I get upset and uncomfortable it’s the only thing I can think of, “No, I don’t like that. It feels wrong.” This isn’t helpful. There will most likely be a word on that wheel that you will be able to identify with. You when you see it, it feels right.

  3. I used to use it when I started psychotherapy as a kid. I initially found it silly and something to be ashamed of, but I was alexithymic (I don’t know if it’s the correct spelling; it’s the inability to speak about one’s own feelings) so I finally accepted and used it because I had to learn how to recognize and name “those things in my head”. I had also a more detailed list, with an accurate description of the ‘physical signs’ of each given feeling, and that was especially helpful at the very beginning of the treatment.
    I should probably continue to use a feeling wheel, because I still struggle to find the right words to describe my inner states on a daily basis.

    • Oooo having the physical signs sounds like a great addition! Some still separate the emotional and physical, but they are connected. I was so overwhelmed with excitement yesterday that my heart and thoughts were racing :p I had to slow myself down. I am happy to hear that you have found these types of tools helpful.

  4. Pingback: DBT Skills: Listening to Emotions | Pride in Madness

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