your step by step guide
- Each leaflet on The Feelings Wheel represents a base emotion, so to use this tool, your first step is to identify which base emotion you are feeling.
- On the same leaflet, look at the first row of words. As you read through through the word bank, identify which one seems most accurate with the emotion you are experiencing.
- In the row directly above the emotion you identified in Step 2, there are two more specific variations of that emotion. Ask yourself if either of these words feel more accurate to your current emotional experience. Often times you may experience an 'ah-ha' moment when you find a word to accurately describe how you are feeling.
- After identifying your emotion be sure to process. A couple options could be journaling about it, talking with a friend, or taking notes to bring to your therapist in your next session.
The Research that inspired us
"How does that make you feel?" A question that has been used to mock therapy for decades, all while failing to acknowledge how effective emotional labeling can be! Emotional labeling or affect labeling is the process of identifying a certain feeling word that coincides with your inner experience. Through the years affect labeling has proved to be effective in emotional regulation, basically decreasing our internal distress. This is shown not only in self-reports but also in various types of brain scans that can detect activation in the emotional centers of our brain, so cool! While we have research and evidence to show that affect labeling is effective, we often still doubt its impact (check out the Liberman article for a deeper dive on this finding). Can't fight the facts, identifying your feelings works! So grab that feelings wheel and get to decreasing distress.
Torre, J. B., & Lieberman, M. D. (2018). Putting feelings into words: Affect labeling as implicit emotion regulation. Emotion Review, 10(2), 116-124.
Lieberman, M. D., Inagaki, T. K., Tabibnia, G., & Crockett, M. J. (2011). Subjective responses to emotional stimuli during labeling, reappraisal, and distraction. Emotion, 11(3), 468.
The Recovery Box’s Feelings Wheel is a best seller. Designed from research on emotional labeling, this tool's six leaflets help you narrow down vocabulary words to pinpoint your current emotions.
This tool was designed to go with you. Keep it in your back pocket or in your bag. It’s the perfect size to fidget with during therapy sessions as you work to build your feelings vocabulary and uncover hidden feelings. Printed on a heavy-duty laminate, it is durable while also flexible.
How your Feelings Wheel can support your recovery:
1. Uncover hidden feelings
2. Build a “feeling vocabulary”
3. Develop an intuitive relationship with your emotions
4. Increase rational thought through emotional labeling
5. Begin to notice themes of recurrent emotions