Sometimes our emotions can feel out of control, and it’s easy to find them overwhelming.
Using the wheel of emotion helps bring clarity to our emotions. The emotion wheel is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a wheel that includes the eight basic emotions: anticipation, disgust, fear, joy, sadness, surprise and trust.
The idea is to use the wheel to identify their emotions and come to terms to how they are feeling. This can help people, by identifying their feelings and emotions, to become more self-aware and self-compassionate.
How can you become a master with your emotions?
Giving yourself the permission to fully experience your emotions without shame or guilt is important to emotional mastery, understanding the wheel of emotions allows you identify the feelings you are having.
Developing this is a part of developing your emotional intelligence, as a huge part of the latter comprises self-awareness. When you are aware of what you’re feeling, you can better analyze situations and
Emotional mastery, which is the ability to be the conductor of your emotions rather than become overwhelmed by them, is vital to maintaining healthy intimate relationships.
Coltrane Lord, intimacy and relationship expert and author of Love Avatar
The wheel was originally devised by American psychologist Dr. Robert Plutchik who identified there were eight primary emotions that serve as the foundation for all others: joy, sadness, acceptance, disgust, fear, anger, surprise and anticipation. Using this wheel will help you understand and master your emotions.
The steps to emotional mastery are the following:
1) Accept your feelings
Feelings matter and we need to feel them to get past them. “Emotions are neutral until you put a label on it. Don’t label your emotions as good or bad. This also goes for your partner’s emotions,” said Lord.
2) Be radically present by naming and claiming your emotion
Own your feelings. Be honest about them. Accept them and don’t hide from them.
By saying your emotions out loud, ‘I am angry,’ or ‘I am sad,’ immediately gives you more control over them.
The wheel then allows you to dig deeper. For example, “mad” encompasses a lot of emotions. Depending on the situation at hand, the underlying emotion could stem from jealousy, selfishness or frustration etc.
When you understand what the root emotion is, you can have a better grasp of what triggered it. Consequently, you have a better chance at figuring out how to process the emotion and working towards preventing future triggers.
3) Be the silent observer of yourself as you feel all the feels
Become aware of what is happening in your body. “Notice the tears falling on your cheeks, if you have chills, if you are sobbing or screaming,” said Lord. This allows you to go through your emotions without being taken over by them.
4) Move the emotions through your body
Trauma therapist, Peter Levine, shares that animals instinctually release trauma in their bodies by shaking. “Allowing your emotions to freeze in your body can lead to future triggers. Dance, shadow box, beating on pillows are effective ways to do this,” said Lord.
5) Find gratitude for the experience, focusing on what it is teaching you
“Think of a future experience that brings you joy or safety and then replace the emotion you have just let go of, and replace it with joy, love and gratitude,” said Lord.
These steps allow you to complete the emotion loop with a positive memory and experience.
Taking ownership allows you to have better control
“When we take ownership of our emotions, we can support our partners to go through the process when they need to,” said Lord. Together, each will no longer require the other to be “the dart board” for our unprocessed emotions.
Why is this helpful in our relationships? As we come to terms with our own feelings and emotions, we can be more appreciative and understanding of those around us.
If we are just “mad,” our friends or partners can fail to understand what they did to trigger it. Similarly, they might have nothing to do with the emotion you are feeling, and this can hurt the relationship if you are not able to recognize what caused the specific emotion.
When you develop this self-awareness, you’re able to take ownership of your emotions and take a more objective approach to conflicts and other triggering situations. In doing so, you’re opening up for healthier conversations and relationships.
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