The Feelings Wheel, also known as the Emotion Wheel, is a tool that is used in many different formats within Psychology and Psychological therapies. It was originally created in the 1980s by American Psychotherapist Dr Gloria Wilcox and can be a powerful tool for creating clarity around the emotions you are experiencing. The Feelings Wheel, also called the Emotion Wheel, was created in the 1980s by an American psychotherapist Dr. Gloria Wilcox. It’s a handy tool used in psychology and Psychotherapy that can be powerful in helping you to get clear on what you’re feeling and experiencing. Labelling the feelings can create understanding which can be reassuring and reduce feelings of overwhelm.

FEELINGS WHEEL WORKSHEET

Action Step

  1. Preparation: Download the Feelings Wheel. Have it in multiple, easily accessible places. Download it onto your phone so you have it wherever you are. Download and print one to put in your journal so you can refer to it when you are journaling to help you to accurately attune with your feelings and process the emotions.
  2. Check-In: When you’re feeling difficult emotions begin to emerge, start by pausing to connect with your current emotional state using the Feelings Wheel. Take a few breaths to tune into your body’s sensations, noting any areas of tension or discomfort. Then, explore your emotions—do you sense a desire to cry, withdraw, or express anger? Refer to the wheel to pinpoint the adjective that best captures your feelings, empowering you to respond effectively to the situation.
  3. Communication: Once you know exactly what you’re feeling then you can start communicating it both yourself, your partner, or someone else in your support system. Expressing emotions can be a challenging task, especially when words don’t quite capture the complexity of feelings you’re experiencing. The Feelings Wheel offers a common language for describing emotions to help you articulate how you are feeling which can enrich your connections with others.
  4. Action: Once you have expressed your emotions, it’s likely that you will feel more open and willing to take compassionate action to fulfil the unmet need that underlies the distress you are feeling. By precisely identifying your emotions, you gain a deeper understanding of their triggers and root causes. This awareness can enable you to regulate your emotional reactions more efficiently, diminishing impulsive responses and encouraging deliberate, thoughtful actions.

 

Learning any new skill takes time and perseverance, so be patient with yourself and give yourself encouragement and compassion. You’re doing brilliantly well and I would love for us to take this moment together to celebrate your wins, that you’re here, you’ve made a decision to live better, free from anxiety and you’re actually doing it and making progress toward to the you, that you know you can be, which is amazing. Well done. Keep going.

 

(Willcox, G. (1982). The Feeling Wheel: A Tool for Expanding Awareness of Emotions and Increasing Spontaneity and Intimacy. Transactional Analysis Journal, 12(4), 274-276. https://doi.org/10.1177/036215378201200411 used here for educational purposes.)