How can the Feeling Wheel help you? It is a good, clear tool to help you identify what your feelings are. We are all so good at pushing feelings down, beneath the surface, sometimes buried deep, deep below. But doing that doesn’t get rid of them. They just come out in different ways.
Sometimes we have trouble connecting to our emotions and feelings. The Feeling Wheel helps you identify the emotion you are experiencing and connects it with other feelings/emotions that are linked. You can work from the inner circle outward or start in the outer circle going inward.
Let’s say you are angry. Someone cut you off on your drive to work. You get angry, yell at the driver, curse at them, even shake your fist. So are you just angry because the other driver doesn’t know how to drive? Maybe. But it probably is more than that. Why be so angry at a crazy driver? What difference does it make that they drive crazy? Did their crazy driving hurt you or your car in any way? No. So there is no point to be that angry. Yet you are. Where is the anger coming from?
Many people come to see me saying they need help with their anger. We can’t do anything about the anger until we explore and discover where it’s coming from. Most people with anger issues do so because they feel a loss of control over something, everything, in their life. When we feel we have no control, no say, it can come out as anger.
Look at the Feeling Wheel above. The red triangle area is identified as Mad. Going down from Mad you see Angry. Then going down from that is frustrated. So in the above example of the drivers, you may be frustrated that yet another person is behind the wheel that can’t drive or isn’t paying attention. There are other feelings listed under Mad. Any one of them could suggest why you are feeling angry. But if you didn’t take the time to look, explore, figure out, what could be causing the anger, you would just continue to be angry which tends to grow.
Sometimes we just feel overwhelmed. Where does that come from? Working from the outside circle find Overwhelmed. Overwhelmed is connected to Anxious which is then connected to Scared. What scares you? Do you have a meeting with your boss coming up? Are you expected at a party with people you don’t know? So this might be why you are feeling overwhelmed.
The first step to changing anything is to be able to identify it. If you can put words to it, have a name for it, you can work with it. You can change it. So try using the Feeling Wheel when you are feeling something and you don’t know why. You just might be able to figure it out!