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the FeelinGS Wheel PDF: Enhancing Emotional intelligence

Updated: Jun 2


feelings wheel pdf downloadable

Grasping the full spectrum of your emotions can be challenging, even for therapists like me.


The Feeling Wheel PDF is a breakthrough tool for gaining insight into your inner world. According to Dr. Robert Plutchik's theory, understanding the primary emotions can be especially useful in moments of intense feeling.


In this article, we’ll explore how the Feeling Wheel can sharpen your emotional intelligence, without the fluff. It’s a tool I use all the time in my private practice as a family couples therapist in Los Angeles and one of the best ways to improve EQ.


Key Takeaways


  • The Feeling Wheel, developed by Dr. Gloria Wilcox, is a practical tool for enhancing emotional intelligence by helping individuals identify, articulate, and understand a vast range of emotions, thus improving self-awareness and empathy.

  • Regular utilization can significantly improve verbal expression of emotions, aid in coping with difficult affect by providing language and structure for emotional regulation, and enhance interpersonal communication and relationships.

  • The Feeling Wheel is not only beneficial for personal introspection and therapy but also as an educational tool for helping kids learn about emotions, and can be integrated into daily life to support emotional health through practices such as morning check-ins and reflective journaling.

  • It can help in identifying polar opposite sensations and understanding the diversity of emotional experiences, which is crucial for recognizing and accepting one's emotional state.

  • Download your copy of the Free Feelings Wheel PDF here we gave it a color upgrade btw.

  • Buy a feelings wheel mug or a feelings wheel poster and other resources on our Etsy Store.


Unlocking the Power of the Feeling Wheel printable PDF


Embarking on a journey through our emotional landscape is made accessible by the feelings wheel, an elegantly designed circular instrument that simplifies and exhibits words for easy understanding. The tool’s multiple layers start with the central primary emotions, including happiness and sadness, fanning out to capture subtler shades of these core feelings.


Delving into this methodical breakdown of emotions using the wheel, not only does it facilitate individuals in exploring their affect more deeply but also empowers them to articulate their emotional states with greater precision. This process of using the wheel to explore emotions can cultivate empathy and improve one's ability to relate to and support others.


How to Navigate the Feeling Wheel


The most important advice for utilizing this tool is:


"Start in the middle circle and work your way out."


The Wheel of Emotions is a vital teaching resource for developing emotional intelligence, though its effective use might seem a bit unclear. Here are some steps and tips to help you get started:


feelings wheel pdf to download

1. Begin with Basic Emotions: Look at the innermost circle of words. Do any of these core, more basic affect resonate with your current feelings? Your body sensations can provide clues here. The words in the center are often called primary emotions because you experience them first.


2. Explore Secondary Emotions and Tertiary Emotions: If a primary emotion resonates with you, it's often just the tip of the iceberg that leads to other emotions. Trace it outward to the secondary words and then tertiary affectss. Do these more specific emotions also feel accurate? They can offer a more nuanced understanding of your feelings.


3. Reflect and Journal: Journaling with the wheel is a powerful visual aid for exploring different emotions as they arise in you. Spend some time reflecting on the affects you've identified. How do they relate to your mental health? Are there any surprises or clarifications?


4. Regular Check-Ins Make it a habit to regularly think about your emotions. I advise my Los Angeles-based clients to do this every time they encounter a red light on their way home. If you're in a relationship it's even more important to know what you're feeling and to communicate it with your partner.


5. Use It as a Communication Tool: The wheel is one of the most vital tools to connect using your words as can help you understand your own emotions and also explain them to others.


6. Emotional Literacy: As you become more attuned to your feelings, including negative ones, you enhance your emotional literacy. This leads to greater connection and a sense of deeper understanding of yourself.



feelings wheel mug

Understanding Emotions with a Feelings Wheel


I recently received a new batch of printed copies printed for my office and wanted to share the PDF with you, in case you can't come by to pick up this valuable resource!


The link to the printable version, a free resource for you (and your emotional needs), is at the bottom of this post. If you prefer a different type of printable feelings chart for adults, click here.


I also have our feelings wheel mug for sale on an Etsy store you can explore here.




How Does the Feelings Wheel Benefit You?

The original idea was developed by Dr. Gloria Wilcox, a psychologist and researcher specializing in emotions and relationships. It's a popular resource among therapists that I might have dismissed during grad school. No matter our age, we all experience emotions uniquely, and sometimes it's challenging to express them to others.


This is where the emotion wheel becomes useful. Using precise language to describe our emotional responses enhances awareness of moods and improves communication with loved ones. By understanding the subtle differences between emotional terms, those around us can better comprehend our feelings, providing more effective support and assistance as we navigate the feels.


The chart also helps us explore difficult or confusing emotions in a structured way by breaking down primary feelings into more specific categories for better understanding. Once we've identified our certain affects, we can determine the best way to address the needs associated with them.


The Benefits of Regular Use


our feelings wheel mug

Utilizing the Feeling Wheel can be a huge part of developing emotional intelligence and improving communication skills.


I may have rolled my eyes at it in grad school, but I have since come to value the practical uses it has in various facets of life, from improving intimate connections to counseling interactions and early educational settings. When incorporated into these spheres, people obtain a deeper understanding of their emotional landscape, which enhances communication skills, fosters introspection, and bolsters mental well-being overall.


Imagine possessing a more extensive emotional vocabulary. You would feel more capable of accurately identifying and articulating your emotions without effort. When used in the right way, emotional vocabulary is a major source of self-esteem and identity formation.


As you become skilled in acknowledging and naming what you feel, you give yourself the chance to embark on an enhanced path to being more aware of your internal landscape—a key element for leading a satisfying life filled with informed choices.


To this, the wheel can help people learn coping strategies that give them a stronger start in navigating through both the peaks and troughs of their emotional terrain.


The feelings wheel is so important in my work as a Bowen Family System's therapist, and for example, when I explain Differentiation Of Self, I think it's so helpful when asking people to differentiate thoughts and thinking from their affect.


Negative Emotions and Primary Emotions


While we often hear about "negative" emotions, it's important to help make people understand better that all emotions are valid and serve a purpose. There are no negative feelings on the emotion wheel! Emotional data is another way are our body's natural response to events, and labeling them as negative can prevent us from wanting to express or understand their true value.


Primary emotions are the immediate, instinctual emotional responses we have to a situation, such as joy, fear, anger, or surprise. These are the raw feelings that signal our initial reaction before we process the event more deeply and experience secondary emotions. Knowing what lies underneath these feels often empowers individuals to express themselves more fully and understand their unconscious behaviors.


Integrating the Feeling Wheel into Daily Life

Integrating the Feeling. Wheel into your day-to-day activities enhances emotional intelligence. By becoming adept with this instrument, you’re able to recognize and name the emotions that surface during various moments of your life.


Utilizing techniques such as regular momeents to sit with your affect, journaling for expression, and setting objectives can establish the Feeling Wheel as a fundamental aspect of maintaining daily emotional well-being.


Morning Emotional Check-ins

Initiating your day with a morning emotional check-in serves to establish the mood for your ensuing hours. Recognizing and expressing the precise emotions you encounter at daybreak is taking an essential initial move toward steering your emotional health. By employing the Feeling Wheel during these assessments, it facilitates self-reflection and probing into what feelings and triggers might influence how your day unfolds.


Adopting techniques such as free-writing or implementing a straightforward rating scale can swiftly assess where you stand emotionally, preparing you for a journey of continuous self-awareness and clear insight into your own inner world.


Reflective Journaling with the Feeling Wheel

Embarking on an inner journey through the landscape of your emotions using the Feeling Wheel is akin to reflective journaling. Such a practice can enhance not only your comprehension of your own emotional states, but also cultivate growth in emotional intelligence.


By recording and contemplating upon your various emotional experiences, you are able to unlock understanding into the patterns and triggers associated with your feelings, setting the foundation for a more complex and fulfilling emotional existence.


De-escalation Strategies in Moments of Stress


In the throes of stress, a myriad of emotions may surface, posing challenges in their management. The Feeling. Wheel serves as an organized approach for recognizing and scrutinizing these primary feelings to gain insight into possible behavioral consequences. By utilizing the Feeling Wheel to explore one’s inner landscape, pinpoint triggers, and comprehend resultant actions, individuals can mitigate tension-filled scenarios.


Employing strategies such as mindfulness or deep breathing alongside the Feeling Wheel can be instrumental in controlling specific emotions.


Identifying Emotional Patterns


Utilizing the Feeling. Wheel to discern emotional trends can be a revelatory experience, casting light on recurring emotional responses that could point to underlying necessities or issues awaiting resolution. The improvement of one’s emotional literacy is grounded not merely in acknowledging various emotions but also in grasping their interconnections and developmental pathways.


In pinpointing patterns and catalysts of emotion, you acquire the necessary knowledge to address emotive hurdles head-on and regulate your behavior with greater competency.


Tips for Nearing Emotional Connection in Relationships


To strengthen emotional connections in relationships, consider the following tips:


  • Practice active listening without interrupting, ensuring your partner feels truly heard and understood.

  • Share what's going on emotionally openly by using "I" statements, such as "I feel..." to express your emotions without blaming.

  • Validate your partner's feelings, showing respect for their emotional experiences, even if they differ from your own.

  • Schedule regular times to discuss and manage emotions, allowing both partners to understand each other's emotional states.

  • Engage in empathy exercises, like imagining yourself in your partner's situation, to foster deeper emotional understanding.

  • Focus on nonverbal communication, such as eye contact, touch, and body language, to convey support and attention.


Remember, every relationship is unique, and what works for one couple might differ for another. Regularly practicing these tips can guide partners toward a stronger, more emotionally connected relationship.


Frequently Asked Questions


pink feelings wheel mug

Who created the original feelings wheel?

The feelings wheel was originally crafted by Dr. Gloria Wilcox.


How can using the feelings wheel improve my life?

The wheel of feelings can elevate your life experience by boosting self-awareness, enriching interactions with those close to you, and facilitating the delve into challenging different emotions.


This instrumental visual is essential for fostering emotional comprehension and development. There's no such thing as negative affect, but this feelings wheel will help you identify what you're feeling, which can sometimes alleviate feeelings like sadness or loneliness.


When is the best time to use the feelings wheel?


At any moment, the wheel of feelings is at your disposal to deepen self-reflection and heighten consciousness about affect and specifically moving from primary emotions to use emotions that run deeper -our secondary feels.


I encourage clients to look at the feelings wheel whenever they can, and to check in with their feelings at every red light they come to while driving. The red light is a cue to check inwards, so if you don't drive, you just need find another visual reminder that you come across, like passing a mirror or washing your hands.


Is the feelings wheel suitable for children?

Indeed, the feelings wheel is an appropriate handout for individuals across various age groups—including children, teenagers, and adults— the words use different parts of our brain and serves as a beneficial aid in educating people about emotions at any stage of life.


Where can I download the Feelings Wheel PRINTABLE PDF?

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