What Is The Feeling Wheel? 

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By Ariel Minter

You often hear our team refer to The Feeling Wheel. This is because, as simple and insignificant as it may seem, it is one of the most powerful tools. Not only is it powerful, but it is so simple that you could teach children as young as four to use this successfully. 

The common curiosity surrounding The Wheel is how it can be used. The uses really are limitless, but the main one that we teach at Passion Provokers is how to use it as a way to train yourself to communicate effectively

There are a gazillion conferences, books, blogs, and talk shows that teach exclusively on how to become a better communicator. In fact, founder’s and owner’s Jami and Marla Keller have even written one (see How Men Make Women Crazy & Vice Versa: Ending the Madness). 

As humans, we tend to overcomplicate just about everything. Thank goodness we do, it means that we are actually using the most amazing resource there is to use: our brains. We have proven to be intricately complicated and genius. Just with bettering most things in our complicated lives, we must first simplify our understanding, therefore simplifying our approach.

The Feeling Wheel is not only simple; it also acts as a cheat-sheet. It takes a lot of the work out of trying to sift through all the possible answers you might give when asked “How are you feeling?”. 

One truth that Passion Provokers firmly believes is this: No one can argue with your feelings. This is because there are no “wrong” feelings. CAREFUL! This is NOT a get-out-of-jail-free card to just be an a-hole. It simply means that you never have to justify your feelings. You can be angry, happy, and peaceful all at the same time. 

The first time Jami Keller ever told me this, I was confused. How is is possible to feel such “conflicting” emotions? The truth is, it isn’t conflictual to feel seemingly oppositional feelings. In fact, it may mean you are more in tune with yourself than you even know. You can be angry about A. Happy about X. And peaceful about Y. The best part? There is absolutely no math-y kind of formula involved! They don’t equal anything but your feelings. And, as I mentioned above, all feelings are yours, to not only be felt, but to be healthfully expressed. 

When you choose not to express your feelings healthfully, they come out in all sorts of ugly ways. It can come out as snapping a few nasty words at your partner, or it can evolve to something more intense, like a fight or a breakup

The Feeling Wheel’s purpose is to show you what your potential feelings may be, and then to (hopefully) share them. My husband and I try to call or text each other at least a few times a week just to share 3 feelings with one another. Yes, we have to plan this ahead of time, even though we live in the same home and get plenty of time together outside of the work week. 

What’s really neat is that you don’t even have to share anything “major”. It can be as simple as “I’m feeling peaceful because the weather is nice today.”

The intimacy that naturally comes from sharing your feelings is unbeatable. Not only does it open the door for communication, but it allows you to understand your partner in ways that you likely haven’t before. 

Here are the instructions to start with. Like a compass for your heart the tool gets better use with practice and growth. 

This is what the Feeling Wheel can do for you, and the best way to use it:

  • It’s a Communication Tool: The Feeling Wheel is not only simple, it also acts as a cheat-sheet. It takes a lot of the work out of trying to sift through all the possible answers you might give when asked, “How are you feeling?” One truth that Passion Provokers firmly believes in is this: No one can argue with your feelings. This is because there are no “wrong” feelings. CAREFUL! This is NOT a get-out-of-jail-free card to just be an jerk. It simply means that you never have to justify your feelings. You can be angry, happy, and peaceful all at the same time. How is it possible to feel such “conflicting” emotions all at the same time? The truth is, it isn’t conflictual to feel seemingly oppositional feelings. In fact, it may mean you are more in tune with yourself than you even know. You can be angry about A, happy about B, and peaceful about C. The best part? There is absolutely no math-y kind of formula involved! They don’t equal anything but your feelings. And, as was mentioned above, all feelings are yours, to not only be felt, but to be healthfully expressed. 
  • It’s a Relationship Saver and a Health Insurance Policy: When you choose not to express your feelings healthfully, they come out in all sorts of ugly ways. It can come out as snapping a few nasty words at your partner, or it can evolve to something more intense, like a fight or a breakup. The Feeling Wheel’s purpose is to show you what your feelings are, or close to them,, and then to (hopefully) share them. Jami and Marla check-in with each other at least a few times a week just to share 3 or more feelings with one another. Yes, they have to plan this ahead of time, even though they live in the same home and get to work every day together. What’s really neat is that you don’t even have to share anything “major”. It can be as simple as “I’m feeling peaceful because the weather is nice today.” Expressing your feelings on a consistent basis you will keep you healthier physically. When you stuff your feelings your body reacts to the toxicity of those feelings and you will end up getting sick. You gotta let those feelings out so that your healthy cells can grow and populate your entire body! 
  • It will create feelings of empowerment and joy. This happens naturally when sharing your feelings on a consistent basis. Not only does it open the door for communication, it keeps you healthy emotionally and physically, and opens the doors to more fun and laughter and connection in all of your relationships.

How to Use Your Feeling Wheel

  • In your journaling/meditation time. This is how we teach our clients to journal. Step 1) Pick 3 feelings from the bottom of the Feeling Wheel that you want to have throughout the day. Write them out and then meditate on them, visualizing what that will look like (Ex: My desire and hope is to be open to joy, peace and respect today. Visualization: See yourself having respectful conversation with your boss today. See yourself embracing the joy you are experiencing because you have communicated effectively and lovingly to those you love the most. See yourself breathing deeply of peace throughout your day no matter what is happening around you.) Step 2) Being rigorously honest with yourself, write out your actions, thoughts and/or experiences from yesterday that did not allow you to experience those positive feelings from the Southside of the Wheel. The Southside is the bottom half of the wheel below the Forgiveness line. (Ex: I admit that I was inpatient and angry yesterday. I admit my thoughts that caused me to disconnect from those I love.) Step 3) Write out the things that you are grateful for. (Ex: I am grateful for health, my family, and the knowledge that I have a hopeful future.) Then just listen to your heart for 5 minutes, writing out whatever comes to you.
  • Share 3 feelings with someone you care about, and know you are emotionally safe with, about 3 events throughout your day. You can share feelings regarding events that occurred with them, or any other event or situation. This will open up a profound dialogue, and encourage you to really discover what emotions you’re experiencing.
  • Take a gut-check at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Identify the three feelings you are having right at that moment. Keep a note on your phone, or in your journal, about what the feelings are, who you are with, and what you are doing. This will allow you to become quicker and quicker to identify exactly what you are experiencing.

If you’re interested in using The Wheel, you can do so on your phone with The Feeling Wheel App, or we would be happy to mail you a laminated copy (you pay shipping and handling), or e-mail you the graphic so you can print it at home. 


14 thoughts on “What Is The Feeling Wheel? 

  1. I do not have Outlook and would love to have the feeling wheel and instructions emailed to me. I am a graduate student in social work and would like to consider utilizing it with a group of teen girls. Thanks

    1. Hi Holly,
      We would be happy to mail you a laminated Feeling Wheel with instructions for $10 (I can e-mail you a PayPal invoice) or you can purchase The Feeling Wheel App for any product that uses iOS (i.e. iPhone, tablet, etc) from the Apple App Store.
      Please let me know what would work best for you. You can e-mail me at [email protected]

      1. I have found the feeling wheel to be extremely valuable with my clients. Please send me one with instructions.

  2. Hello Anna,
    We would be happy to mail you a laminated Feeling Wheel with instructions for $10 (I can e-mail you a PayPal invoice) or you can purchase The Feeling Wheel App for any product that uses iOS (i.e. iPhone, tablet, etc) from the Apple App Store.
    If you go ahead and use the wheel in practice please be sure to credit Passion Provokers because this a copyrighted document.
    Please let me know what would work best for you. You can e-mail me at [email protected]

  3. I would also like a feelings wheel and directions for use. I do foster care with pretty damaged teen girls, that seem to think they only feel “Mad/angry” This would be a good visual to use.

    1. Hello Lori,
      We would be happy to mail you a laminated Feeling Wheel with instructions for $10 (I can e-mail you a PayPal invoice) or you can purchase The Feeling Wheel App for any product that uses iOS (i.e. iPhone, tablet, etc) from the Apple App Store.
      If you go ahead and use the wheel in practice please be sure to credit Passion Provokers because this a copyrighted document.
      Please let me know what would work best for you.

  4. I would like to know how to use this tool for more effective communication. Let me know how?

    1. Here are the instructions to start with, like a compass for your heart the tool gets better use with practice and growth.
      FEELING WHEEL 4.0 ©
      What the heck is this?
      • It’s a Communication Tool: The Feeling Wheel is not only simple, it also acts as a cheat-sheet. It takes a lot of the work out of trying to sift through all the possible answers you might give when asked, “How are you feeling?”
      One truth that Passion Provokers firmly believes in is this: No one can argue with your feelings. This is because there are no “wrong” feelings. CAREFUL! This is NOT a get-out-of-jail-free card to just be an a-hole. It simply means that you never have to justify your feelings. You can be angry, happy, and peaceful all at the same time.
      How is it possible to feel such “conflicting” emotions all at the same time? The truth is, it isn’t conflictual to feel seemingly oppositional feelings. In fact, it may mean you are more in tune with yourself than you even know. You can be angry about A, happy about B, and peaceful about C. The best part? There is absolutely no math-y kind of formula involved! They don’t equal anything but your feelings. And, as was mentioned above, all feelings are yours, to not only be felt, but to be healthfully expressed.
      • It’s a Relationship Saver and a Health Insurance Policy: When you choose not to express your feelings healthfully, they come out in all sorts of ugly ways. It can come out as snapping a few nasty words at your partner, or it can evolve to something more intense, like a fight or a breakup.
      The Feeling Wheel’s purpose is to show you what your potential feelings may be, and then to (hopefully) share them. Jami and I check-in with each other at least a few times a week just to share 3 or more feelings with one another. Yes, we have to plan this ahead of time, even though we live in the same home and get to work every day together. What’s really neat is that you don’t even have to share anything “major”. It can be as simple as “I’m feeling peaceful because the weather is nice today.”
      Expressing your feelings on a consistent basis you will keep you healthier physically. When you stuff your feelings your body reacts to the toxicity of those feelings and you will end up getting sick. You gotta let those feelings out so that your healthy cells can grow and populate your entire body!
      • The empowerment and joy that naturally comes from sharing your feelings is unbeatable. Not only does it open the door for communication, keeps you healthy emotionally and physically, and opens the doors to more fun and laughter and connection in all of your relationships
      http://www.PassionProvokers.com | [email protected]

  5. You said “Stay tuned for next week, we will be explaining the best way to use The Feeling Wheel! ” …. but where is instructions ??? I have looked in your next posts.

    1. Hello Joe,
      You are absolutely correct. An oversight on our part. Thank you for letting us know. I have added the instructions on to the blog above, so go ahead and check that out and let me know if you have any further questions.
      Have a great weekend.
      Marla

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