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Feelings Wheel

Part I:  Description

What is a Feelings Wheel?

A feelings wheel is a visual tool that helps people identify, understand, and communicate their emotions. It typically looks like a colorful wheel with different emotions arranged in a hierarchical or layered way.

How Do Feelings Wheels Work?

  • Granular Vocabulary: They often start with core emotions (sad, mad, happy, etc.) in the center and expand outward with more nuanced words. This helps people move beyond vague descriptions like "good" or "bad."

  • Recognizing Complexity: Feelings wheels illustrate the range and interconnectedness of emotions. We often experience several emotions at once, and the wheel helps to tease those out.

  • Self-Awareness Tool: Using a feelings wheel promotes reflection on our inner experiences, which is the first step towards better emotional regulation.

Benefits of Feelings Wheels

  • Improved communication: Helps put specific words to emotions, especially for those who struggle to express themselves.

  • Empathy Development: Can be used to better understand the emotional experiences of others.

  • Mental Health Aid: Therapists often use feelings wheels to help clients identify patterns and triggers, facilitating deeper emotional work.

Part II:  Common Questions

How do I actually use a feelings wheel?

  • Answer:

    • Start by noticing a general feeling: Notice if you're feeling broadly positive, negative, activated, etc.

    • Move outward: Scan the next ring of the wheel for words that more closely describe your state.

    • Get specific: Continue outward to the most nuanced words that accurately resonate with your experience.

Are there different types of feelings wheels?

  • Answer: Yes- They vary in complexity and focus:

    • Some are very detailed, offering a vast vocabulary of emotions.

    • Others are designed for children, using simpler language and visuals.

    • Some focus on bodily sensations associated with emotions, helping with the mind-body connection.

Can a feelings wheel help if I struggle to identify my emotions?

  • Answer: Yes - That's one of their primary uses. The tool offers a starting point, and simply the act of browsing options increases awareness of your internal state.

How do feelings wheels help in therapy?

  • Answer: They offer several benefits:

    • Building emotional vocabulary: Clients learn to label their experiences more precisely.

    • Noticing subtle shifts: Wheels help track changes in mood throughout sessions.

    • Uncovering root causes: Identifying a feeling can bring clarity to the thoughts or situations triggering it.

Are feelings wheels only for negative emotions?

  • Answer: No. They help name the full spectrum. Identifying positive emotions is crucial for gratitude practices, savoring good experiences, and resilience-building.

Part III:  Additional Resources

Books about the Feelings Wheel

  • Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience by Brené Brown: While not explicitly a feelings wheel, this book offers rich emotional vocabulary and explores the nuances of our inner experiences.

Websites and Articles about the Feelings Wheel

  • 6 Best Feeling Wheels: Provides a variety of feelings wheels, each with a slightly different focus.

  • Greater Good Magazine: How to Use an Emotion Wheel to Build Emotional Awareness : A user-friendly guide with practical tips for implementation.

  • The Gottman Institute: Feeling Wheel: Explores the use of feelings wheels specifically for couples and improving relationship communication.

Resources for Kids about the Feelings Wheel

  • Generation Mindful: Feeling Wheel: Offers a kid-friendly feelings wheel with simple language and clear visuals.

  • Zones of Regulation ( While a broader concept, this program incorporates colorful zones associated with feelings, which helps children develop emotional literacy.

Additional Resources about the Feelings Wheel

  • Printable Feelings Wheels: Do a web search for free, printable versions you can download or customize.

  • Therapy Apps: Some mental health apps incorporate feelings wheels as part of their mood tracking features.

Part IV:  Disclaimer

These results were highly selected, curated, and edited by The Nexus Inititiative. To make this amount of complimentary content available at a cost-effective level for our site visitors and clients, we have to rely on, and use, resources like Google Gemini and other similar services.

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