Managing Emotions: Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions
I’m one of those people who frequently looks for ways to have my mind blown.
For the first time ever, I was introduced to Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions, and I feel like I have been reunited with a long-lost friend.
By looking at this graph, you can easily identify the “regions” in which we are allowing our emotions to exist.
Seeing every emotion and feeling formatted in this way really helps me figure out where my head is and what I’m sacrificing in order to keep my energy in that place.
For example, the years that I spent essentially living in the dark, avoiding real activities and human interaction, kept me in the Sad, Mad, and Scared regions, but I realized that what I truly desired was in the Peaceful, Powerful, and Joyful regions.
Instead of doing things differently, I kept hiding and finding ways to play it safe when all I wanted was to feel confident, brave, and content.
Seeing this emotions chart helps me realize that as much as I want to believe some emotions are negative and some are positive, in all honesty, emotions don’t have that connotations in themselves.
Rather, it’s how we talk to ourselves about experiencing these emotions that drive home the feeling that certain emotions are bad or even punishable.
When the emotions are all listed like this, it makes me realize that every emotion is genuinely valid, and it makes me feel that I have some level of control over myself. It makes it much easier to realize that all of these emotions I am experiencing (feeling apathetic, angry, resentful, depressed) are not all so foreign from one another as I originally thought. This also helps me think about certain activities that I connect with many of these feelings.
Studying this chart has gifted me with an amazing new perspective – when I find myself “stuck” on one side of this emotion wheel, or truly feeling in a rut, I can look at the emotions that are on the opposite side and try to do at least one thing to foster that opposite and desired emotion.
For example, as I mentioned, I used to find myself skulking in my room in a Netflix-induced haze, all the while wanting to feel as confident and wholehearted as the women I was watching on the screen.
When I look at the emotions wheel, I can now see that during some of the worst times in my life, what I felt was remorseful, isolated, and apathetic. Now, I finally notice that across from these painful emotions live the emotions that I so deeply desired – emotions like creativity, optimism, and feeling energetic.
Sure, it can be extremely difficult to go from months of inactivity and Netflix binging to waking up at 6 am for a winter morning jog. Instead, I picked a positive emotion that seems both attainable and yet a break from my usual rut: creativity.
I can easily be creative from the confines of my bedroom, which still leaves me physically in a place of comfort, while I am stretching my mental boundaries and allowing myself to take steps outside of my comfort zone.
What is so great about creating is that it gives you a free arena in which to make decisions and to do things your own way with little to no consequences. I can color a whole page black, or splatter paint with no concept behind it, and no one can get hurt or blame me for screwing up. It’s safe, but it still helps me feel that I am making my own decisions, taking control, and not just being a passive and isolated binge-watching fanatic.
In the comments below, let me know – have you seen this emotions wheel before? If not, did it surprise you?