Let’s start with a one-question quiz:
Which of these describe a feeling?
- Like I want to sleep all day
- None of the above
If you answered E, you are correct. This list of words describes sensations or urges in our bodies, not emotional states. You may well have experienced these sensations in your body, but using words like these take us off the hook from tuning into our deep feelings.
The feelings wheel is an easy-to-use tool that can help clarify the emotions running through us. Feeling our feelings make us vulnerable, which can be scary. Feelings are often painful, even when they’re the “good” ones. Yet we must be lifelong detectives of our internal, emotional state. Try pairing a physical sensation in your body to emotions – start in the inner part of the feelings wheel and work your way out. The clearer you can be about what emotions you are experiencing, the better you are able to articulate to yourself and others what you need. Emotions come and go and simply need our attention and recognition to move through. Identifying and naming the emotion itself can feel liberating.
Getting clearer and discovering, for example, you feel “apathetic” rather than just “bad” or “respected” even more than just “happy” provides opportunities for action to affirm or move toward another desired state.
How can you use the feelings wheel to support your emotional health and wellbeing?