I randomly came across the Wheel of Emotions years ago, and it enriched my own personal healing journey so much that I haven’t let go of it since! I have it on my wall, as a sticker on my laptop, and in my agenda. The reason why I love it so much is that it helped me with something that I didn’t even know existed up until that point: Emotional Literacy.
I remember I would sit in therapy and my therapist would ask me “And how does that make you feel?” It seems like a simple question, but for someone who was never asked how they felt, it was always such a hard question for me to answer for my therapist. All I’d say was “bad”. I had no emotional vocabulary. Which means that I had no idea where exactly I stood emotionally.
If you can’t identify your emotions, you can’t process them because you don’t even know what you need to process. And emotions are meant to serve as information and to be processed. They are e-motions —> energy in motion. If you don’t know what they are, that means they get stuck in your unconscious and more than likely come out as physical symptoms that over time become chronic. Naming emotions bridges the gap between thoughts and feelings, and also reminds us that emotions are temporary.
A study conducted by UCLA professor of psychology Matthew D. Lieberman found that putting feelings into words makes sadness, anger and pain less intense.
If our feelings weren't honoured, respected, validated when we were growing up, that may have caused dissociation, disconnect or numbness over time. Which takes me into the next tool that I also absolutely love using together with the Wheel of Emotions: the Window of Tolerance.
Stay tuned for my next post where I will dive deeper into The Window Of Tolerance and how together with the Wheel of Emotions, it helps with our emotional responses.
Hand in hand 🤝we got this 🦋🌈