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The All New Feelings Wheel Poster for 2024

Updated: Feb 19

Feelings can be complex and nuanced, sometimes making it difficult to articulate exactly how we feel.The solution that came about in the 1980s was a visual representation of emotions that helps us label emotions, and everyone's favorite is the emotion wheel. I have these all over my office, and there's not a day that goes by in which I don't see it as being anything less than invaluable for gaining insight into our emotional landscape and fostering greater self-awareness.

the feelings wheel poster for 2024

I'm a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with nearly a decade of experience working with families, couples and adults. As a male therapist, it might not come as a surprise to know that I have a lot of male clients, and in my experience of working with men, it's noticeable how hard it is for them actually to name what they are feeling. Now, the ladies I work with are slightly more in tune with their emotional state, but on the whole, a lot of my work is about helping people differentiate between cognition & emotion or their thoughts and feelings.

Arguably the most tasteful Feelings Wheel is now available as the feelings wheel poster on etsy

I use it so often that I've turned it into a laminated poster, which you can buy from my Etsy Store for $14.99 (plus shipping cost) or you can find the instant download link to a PDF version of it all the way at the end for a download option.

Before you scroll down, let me tell you why I love the feelings wheel, why I have copies all over my office, and why it's so important.

What is an Emotion Wheel?

An emotion wheel is a visual representation of the range of human emotions and their relationships to one another. Many sources credit the development of an emotions wheel to psychologist Robert Plutchik, Ph.D., in 1980, who teased out basic emotions from more complex emotions. Since then it has been adapted and changed over time with perhaps the most familiar version today with six core feelings being created by Dr. Gloria Willcox in 1982. Emotion in psychology is a vital part of the work i do, so a tool that helps us create a dialogue about feelings and explore the complexity of feelings is essential. 

What do we use the feelings wheel for?

  1. Identify emotions: Having words to label emotions accurately allows clients to specify and express what they are feeling. Naming the emotion can assist clients in pinpointing anger versus frustration, which is a different form of anger. The range of emotions and emotional vocabulary may capture nuances they weren't aware of before. This builds self-awareness and our emotional vocabulary. 

  2. Validate emotions: Seeing the full spectrum of human emotions depicted permits clients to experience their own feelings as normal and valid. For example, a client expressing intense anger may feel ashamed, but the wheel shows anger is common to the human experience. This can alleviate shame, isolation or repression of emotions needing to be addressed in therapy. Naming it, is taming it, so knowing what we are feeling helps regulate feelings by engaging the prefrontal cortex. 

  3. Enhance emotional awareness: The granular vocabulary and ability to track core emotions over time with a feeling wheel helps clients pay more attention to their internal state. Noticing patterns like how anxiety manifests physically or how quickly sadness shifts to anger builds understanding. Like tracking vitals during an illness, monitoring emotions this way using a feeling wheel allows for catching signs sooner.

  4. Explore emotional triggers/patterns: The therapist can facilitate an exploration of emotions and then a reflection around what tends to precede or prompt certain emotions for clients. Does anger often follow an emotional experience of rejection or abandonment? Does sadness arise to cover a really uncomfortable emotion like helplessness? Identifying these connections from primary emotions to secondary emotions allows clients insight into triggers to manage big feelings. 

  5. Develop coping strategies: Once particular core emotions are identified as unwanted or unhelpful, a therapist aids the client in their understanding of emotions and emotional regulation skills. For example, noting self-soothing activities to regulate emotions or assertiveness training if anger often follows feeling disrespected. Specific strategies can target the emotions clients aim to get relief from.

Importance of Emotional Intelligence

Knowing our feelings is crucial for developing emotional intelligence. Understanding and being aware of our own emotions allows us to have a lived experience of our inner states and allows us to better navigate through life and effectively communicate with others. Emotional intelligence is vital for building strong relationships, managing stress, and making sound decisions.

Enhanced Self-Awareness:

Being aware of your feelings helps you find a nuanced understanding of yourself. If you don't feel proud or accomplished after you've done something, how do you expect to grow your self-esteem or confidence? If you don't know what you're feeling, how do you know what you need - a feeling of boredom can be a signal that we need stimulation or excitement for example.

Not realizing that you're anxious about public speaking can prevent you from ever speaking, but understanding what you feel in more nuanced ways might lead to strategies to manage this anxiety.

Improved Decision-Making:

Emotions significantly influence decision-making because feelings are just data - they are often a reaction to what is happening around us. The best decisions are made when you have access to the most information. So, if you're aware that you're feeling frustrated, you might choose to postpone an important decision to a time when you feel calmer and more rational. We want to be able to think about our feelings and have feelings about our thoughts.

Emotional Intimacy and Relationships.

Knowing your feelings allows you to communicate more effectively in relationships. If you're aware that you're upset about something your friend did, you can address the issue directly rather than letting resentment build. More importantly, if you don't know you care about someone or love someone... and tell them, how will they know? The feeling wheel is an essential tool for communication. 

Stress Management:

Recognizing stress or negative emotions early can help you take steps to manage them, like taking a break or practicing mindfulness, before they become overwhelming. I often work from a Bowen Family Systems point of view in everything from executive coaching to family therapy. His research helped to correlate the amount of 'chronic stress' we have directly with the ability to know our feelings and differentiate them from our thoughts.

Emotion Regulation:

Understanding your emotions is the first step to regulating them; 'naming it is taming it'. For instance, acknowledging that you are sad can lead you to engage in activities that uplift your mood because feelings sometimes have needs attached to them. Feeling lonely might require you to connect with a friend. Emotion regulation is at the core of feeling stable and solid as a mature adult.

Increased Empathy:

Being in tune with your own emotions can also enhance your ability to understand others' emotions, making you more empathetic and supportive in your interactions. The feeling wheel can be a tool for communication to express yourself and understand others.

tasteful feelings wheel poster 2024 - Etsy

Understanding Our Feelings and their Impact on well-being

We all know we 'should' feel our feelings, and we have heard that it's better to let our feelings out than keep them in, but there's actual data and studies like this one showing us why.

Physical Health Implications

Ignoring your emotions, especially negative ones, can lead to significant physical health problems. When you suppress emotions, your body still reacts to them. This can manifest in various ways, such as increased stress, headaches, or even more serious conditions like heart disease. The Time article highlights how not acknowledging emotions can escalate stress and adversely impact physical health.

Mental Health Consequences

Suppressing emotions doesn't eliminate them; instead, it can lead to more severe mental health issues. According to M1 Psychology, consistently ignoring negative emotions can lead to an accumulation of these feelings, resulting in anxiety, depression, or emotional burnout. This can also impair your ability to process emotions healthily in the future, so you might get why a feelings poster is a smart idea.

Impact on Relationships

Ignoring emotions can negatively affect personal relationships. When you don't express how you feel, others may find it hard to understand or connect with you. This lack of emotional transparency can create barriers to communication and intimacy, as discussed in the article by Mallory Grimste, LCSW.

Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

When you ignore your emotions, you might resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms. These can include substance abuse, overeating, or other harmful behaviors as a way to avoid facing your feelings. As pointed out in The Center for Family Transformation, viewing negative emotions as inherently bad can lead to damaging coping strategies. So get that feelings poster now and make sure it's a colorful wheel to stand out and remind you to check in with yourself.

Emotional Suppression and Aggression

Particularly with emotions like anger, ignoring them can lead to unhealthy aggression and violence. This is mentioned in the article by Nick Wignall. While managing anger healthily is important, completely ignoring it can lead to an unhealthy buildup and potential outbursts. An emotions wheel will help you check in with yourself and stop those feelings from building up.

How Do You Use The Feelings Wheel?

The feelings wheel is a powerful tool for exploring and understanding our emotions. This poster is designed to help you navigate the complex world of feelings with ease and offers a visual representation of emotions layed out in concentric circles 

Start in the middle of the wheel and work your way out to the outer edges.

In the center, you'' find an array of emotions that we are all familiar with, like happiness, sadness, and anger. Usually, everyone knows if they are 'mad, sad or glad', and we can pinpoint those quite easily.

From there, you can work your way outwards to more specific emotions. The further out you go from the center, the more nuanced the words get. This process allows you to pinpoint exactly how you're feeling, which can be incredibly validating and empowering.

To use the feelings wheel, simply take a moment to check in with yourself and identify the emotion that best describes how you're feeling. Then, use the wheel to explore that emotion further and identify any underlying feelings that may be contributing to your experience.

Whether you're using it for personal reflection, as a tool for therapy, or in a classroom setting, the feelings wheel can be an invaluable resource for enhancing emotional literacy and fostering self-awareness.

Hang this feelings poster in your home, office, or classroom to remind yourself and others of the rich tapestry of human emotions. It's a beautiful and informative addition to any space, and it's sure to spark meaningful conversations about the wide range of feelings we all experience.

The Feelings Wheel Poster From My People Patterns

Add a splash of color to your therapy office decor or consider it a beautiful classroom poster with our delightful museum-quality feelings poster on sturdy 210 gsm paper thickness. Experience the vivid hues from our 4-color water-based inkjet process with every print. Let's make every corner of your space pop with your beautiful artwork made with heat-sensitive inks! Available in two finishes: durable matte paper or gloss for a lamination option. If you've not used Etsy before, it's a simple enough online purchase. You just enter your credit card details (there are other payment methods), and they will ship you the physical product as soon as it's printed so you can hang your new therapist tool in a week or so.

Why Do I Need Your Emotions Poster?!

It's not only a bestselling Emotion Wheel,  it's essential therapist office decor ...and a therapy resource that I use constantly!

The Feelings Wheel Poster is an essential tool for anyone looking to understand better and express their emotions. Like any other mental health poster, these are great for clinics and offices of therapists or social workers, particularly because we made it in such bright colors!  These products are both 12x12 inch size posters, this large, high-quality print ensures that you won't lose it and can easily read the detailed emotions chart.

Having a feelings poster in your home or office serves as a valuable resource for enhancing communication and self-awareness. It provides a visual aid for identifying and labeling different emotions, making it easier to express how you're feeling to others.

This poster helps you navigate the complex world of emotions and can be particularly useful for individuals in therapy, counseling, or coaching sessions. It's also great for parents, teachers, and anyone wanting to delve deeper into their emotional well-being.

Whether you're seeking to improve your emotional intelligence, enhance your relationships, or simply better understand your feelings, the Feelings Wheel Poster is a must-have addition to your space. It's always there to provide guidance and support as you navigate the ups and downs of life.

Aside From A Poster, What Else Does The Feelings Wheel Come On?

In addition to the feelings wheel poster, you can also find the feelings wheel design on various other items in my Etsy shop. Whether you're sipping your morning coffee or jotting down your thoughts, you can enjoy the feelings wheel on a stylish mug or a beautifully designed journal.

I also offer the option to decorate your Christmas tree with feelings wheel ornaments, adding a unique and meaningful touch to your holiday decor.

Each item featuring the feelings wheel design is crafted with care and attention to detail, making them perfect for personal use or as thoughtful gifts for friends and loved ones. So, whether you're looking to display the feelings wheel in your home or office or as a special keepsake, you'll find various options to suit your needs. Thank you for supporting my small business and spreading the message of emotional awareness and understanding through these beautifully curated items.

If you're looking for a digital product version of the emotion wheel, you can download the PDF here; it should be high enough quality to create printable sizes of it at home or at your preferred print shop. You can find a frame for display or perhaps they have canvas options for a more solid printable poster. This makes an awesome therapist gift, particularly if you are able to get it framed with a simple metal or aluminum frame.

Feelings Wheel Poster and Feelings Wheel Mug

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