Understanding Emotions - Photo by Lisa Fotios

Understanding Emotions

Understanding our emotions can be a challenge in terms of both articulating what we feel and also identifying the differences and similarities between our subjective experiences; i.e. the feeling that I identify as anger, you may identify as frustration.

There are a large number of tools available to help us understand and articulate our emotions including the emotions wheel.

Emotions wheel

It can be very challenging for people to explain the type of emotion that they are feeling especially if they have not had the advantage of having support in their lives to develop their emotional vocabulary to be able to articulate their emotions.

The purpose of the emotions wheel is to start off with the innermost sectors; the broadest levels of describing emotions and once that base emotion has been identified, move out to the next level of sectors to see if the person is able to expand on their emotion to more specifically identify the emotion they are experiencing. Once this is achieved, again move out the the next layer of sectors and again see if there is a more specific granularity of emotion that can be articulated.

First Level Emotions – Foundation Emotions

  • Fearful
  • Angry
  • Disgusted
  • Sad
  • Happy
  • Surprised
  • Bad

Second Level Emotions

  • Fearful
    • Scared
    • Anxious
    • Insecure
    • Weak
    • Rejected
    • Threatened
  • Angry
    • Let down
    • Humiliated
    • Bitter
    • Mad
    • Aggressive
    • Frustrated
    • Distant
    • Critical
  • Disgusted
    • Disapproving
    • Disappointed
    • Awful
    • Repelled
  • Sad
    • Hurt
    • Depressed
    • Guilty
    • Despair
    • Vulnerable
    • Lonely
  • Happy
    • Playful
    • Content
    • Interested
    • Proud
    • Accepted
    • Powerful
    • Peaceful
    • Trusting
    • Optimistic
  • Surprised
    • Startled
    • Confused
    • Amazed
    • Excited
  • Bad
    • Bored
    • Busy
    • Stressed
    • Tired