The Feeling Wheel & Your Emotional Expressiveness!

feelings wheel


I wanted to share this really interesting tool called “The Feeling Wheel” because sometimes I feel (ahem, you see, I am getting into feeling talk already) that I’m too general with my emotional expression.

When you’re general, even in the words you use, life is more hazy.  Specific words breathe more vibrance into your life, including your emotional life.

In fact, some have postulated that we didn’t HAVE emotions until we had the words to express these emotions.

Pretty cool right.  Now, let’s get into the Feeling Wheel! 

“I’m pissed off.” (which would fall into the MAD category of emotions, can suddenly fan out into a panoply of options that more accurately express how you are feeling.

MAD can be hostile, angry, selfish, hateful, critical or hurt…. and fanning out further from there… refined to a more distant outer wheel of emotions: distant, sarcastic, frustrated, jealous, irritated, skeptical.  

How cool is it that when you are being skeptical…. it can be tracked back to anger?!  While this is not an intuitive leap for me, it makes sense when I see it on the Wheel.

I have found this wheel, developed by Gloria Wilcox, to be a wonderful way to get clarity on vague emotional states, to break out of a funk, and to start conversations that matter in a more incisive way.

Many have used this wheel in 12-Step recovery, psychotherapy and mindfulness training.

Artists may find it invaluable for creating more exacting emotional communication.

So, next time you are “sad” can you see why?

Can you see how to flip it to the other side of the wheel, to the joyful emotional spectrum?

Today I am powerful/ faithful/ confident.  Good day, today!

How are you feeling?

xoxo Dana

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Ml December 31, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Love this! Will be of great help! xoxo

Anamae January 5, 2014 at 7:27 pm

Loved this! Right now i am feeling ad, and it totally translate to guilty remorseful ashamed stupid! You talk about turning the wheel to the opposite side, how do you do it? what helps make an instant shift? Thank you for everything that you do for us!

danaclaudat January 6, 2014 at 1:56 am


Martin RIDING November 3, 2015 at 7:14 pm

I saw the wheel and it only shows the one side?! How does one recognize an emotion from one side and see the opposite or corresponding emotion?

danaclaudat November 12, 2015 at 3:24 pm

i’m not sure its meant to show opposite emotions but rather to help you pinpoint a more specific emotion from general emotions.

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