Image Description: A rainbow-colored, watercolor "emotion wheel"-- a circle divided into six pie-like wedges. Each wedge has a core emotion written in the center and related emotions written in a middle and outer layer. The top wedge is yellow with "joy" at the center. Moving clockwise, the next wedge is orange with "genius" at the center-- then red with "anger" at the center-- the bottom wedge is blue with "sad" at the center-- then purple with "fear at the center" and finally green with "disgust" at the center.
These images are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, PO Box 1866, Mountain View, CA 94042, USA.
In non-lawyery language... You are more than welcome to use this image for educational and personal purposes, but please do not resell it or put it on/in items that you are selling without my permission. I also have personal and professional use licenses for sale on my Etsy shop (see below) My main request is that these images are properly credited, not altered or copied and bonus points if you're able to give them a shout out on the internet and/or make a donation or purchase of a license or print. Please reach out if you would like to use any of these resources as apart of a larger work, request a custom edition or have any other questions regarding usage. If you see this work being used improperly out in the world, please let me know. Thanks team <3
My Goal for this wheel is that it helps you to:
1. Give yourself permission to feel any of the words on it
2. Build your emotional vocabulary and develop language to describe how you feel
3. Slow down and notice how your emotions show up in and around your body
ORDER PRINTS & Wipeable worksheets
(The links below will take you to my Etsy shop)
Emotion Wheel Print
6x6" | 8.5x8.5" | 11x11"
*Wipeable* Feelings Check in Worksheet
*Wipeable* Emotion Wheel
6x6" | 8.5x8.5" | 11x11"
*Wipeable* Body Mapping Needs Worksheet
Top Left ID: The Emotion Wheel in a light wood frame on a shelf with a little potted plant to the right of it. Top Right ID: A laminated worksheet titled "How am I doing today?" with the emotion wheel in the center and a black dry erase marker laying on top. Bottom Left ID: A laminated emotion wheel with several words circled in black. A left hand holding a black dry erase marker is presumably doing the circling... Bottom Right ID: An emotion wheel printed on a square card with a brown envelope underneath it-- they are both resting on a wooden surface.
Please reach out to me directly if the cost of this print is too high to allow you to purchase it.
I am always interested to discuss the option of a free or discounted print. I also have a supply of lightly damaged, but still useable products available for free pickup from my studio in Berkeley.
How do I use this Emotion Wheel?
Please please use this emotion wheel however you are inspired to. Here's how I use it if you need a place to start:
Find a quiet moment and settle into yourself however works best for you--focus on your breath, drink some water or tea.
Start wherever you’re drawn to. Make your way around the wheel— reading or having someone else read each word. As you go through, write down any words that resonate with the experience you're having in the current moment. (*Try to write down or circle at least 5-10 words)
Look up the definition of any words you don't know. You can also draw/paint the colors associated with the words (whether the ones on this wheel, or your own color associations) or circle the words if you have the wipeable version of the wheel.
Reflect on this visual representation of “how you're feeling"-- what do you notice? Can you notice where certain feelings show up in your body? Are there any feelings you’d like to pay special attention to or to cultivate as you move forward in your day?
If you feel comfortable, share what you circled or drew- with a loved one, a teacher, a mental health professional, the internet, or hey, you can always send me what you made, I would love to see it :)
A few other versions of the wheel:
About this Emotion Wheel
This is an emotion wheel that I designed in 2020 (the year of all the feelings...) for use in my own therapy and healing work. When I began to engage with existing versions of the emotion wheel, they overwhelmed me more than helped me... the colors felt wrong, there weren't rules for which words went in which categories and every wheel I could find looked like it had been designed in ClipArt in the 90's. My therapist joked that I should make my own wheel...
This is the 27th version... I am currently making updates as I receive feedback from folks using it out in the world (please reach out if you have any notes to share). Someday, I will write more about the thought process behind the colors, the core emotions, the watercolor medium and the decision-making logic behind which words go where, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoy spending time with it.
My hope is that this wheel and the framework with which it was designed inspire you think about your emotional experiences in a more nuanced way. I hope it gives you some tools and language to better understand how you're feeling and how to communicate those feelings to others.
Please note that I am not a mental health professional and this wheel and the worksheets above are more rooted in artistic exploration, personal research/study and my own self-reflection than they are in science or in-depth scientific research. (for now!)
Image Description: A notebook resting on a wooden surface. There are 9 circular diagrams with various combinations of emotion words and colors (that reference the colors on the emotion wheel) painted in watercolor on each one. The circles are labeled with days of the week.
More about the Wheel Design
Image Description: A video of a hand circling various emotions on the emotion wheel with a dry erase marker. Then, a hand comes in and sprays cleaner spray and wipes the wheel clean.
Fun fact: The first time I ever used an emotion wheel was in a storyboarding class. Our assignment was "draw yourself eating breakfast feeling five different emotions on the feelings wheel."
That assignment led me down the forever rabbit hole of studying the body postures, facial expressions and tones of voice that humans use to communicate beyond the use of explicit language.
My design is inspired by and adapted from Robert Plutchik's initial 'Wheel of Emotions" as well as the later adaptation by Dr. Gloria Wilcox and the many others that have been created over the past decade. Emotion Wheels stem from the notion that there are 5-7 universal expressions of emotion, which humans use (largely through body language and facial expressions) to communicate our needs. I have landed on these six core emotions ("genius" being my proposed addition to the usual core emotion categories) and determined which words go in which wedges based on my lived and observed experience of how each word's somatic expression aligns with the way the center emotion is expressed in the face/body and the core needs it relates to.
- Joy contains words associated with a feeling of lightness, centeredness, calmness of energy/breath and limbs, upward-oriented facial expressions (smiles), soft eye contact or gently closed eyes. Energy is comfortably oriented towards one’s center or the center of another. A feeling of joy indicates satisfied needs in a given moment.
- Disgust: These words have strong associations with swirly or balled up energy in the gut/stomach/throat and uneven facial muscle expression (one side of the lip or eyebrow raised, or a slight head or vision turn/literal looking away) Disgust indicates a need to avoid, to purge, to not "digest" something.
- Fear contains words aligned with some form of flight or freeze response-- dilated pupils/widening eyes, tightening in the chest as well as in the muscles and/or limbs one would use to move elsewhere. Rapid, shallow energy moving quickly in the mind, heart, breath and limbs. Fear indicates a need for more information or a greater sense of safety.
- Sadness has words associated with a heaviness or numbness/lack of sensation in the limbs or torso as well as downward-weighted lower lip (frown/pout), downward eye contact/gaze and/or head movement. Crying, welling and clenching of the center body. Energy moves slowly through the body. Sadness indicates a need for connection-- to one's self, to another or to purpose.
- The Anger section is comprised of words that are often expressed in a fight response--heat/increased blood flow in the limbs/face, furrowed eyebrows and tightening in the jaw/mouth/lips. Energy has an intense vibration and a forward/outward/through another directionality to it. Anger indicates a need for something to move or change.
- And "Genius"-- is my addition to the core emotions and contains words that feel related to the expression of one's unique and authentic creative power, ability or essence." This category has a more active energy than the words in the joy section, hence the distinction. In the body, genius is marked by whatever your body does when it’s imagining, dreaming and feeling the brilliance of itself. Genius indicates a need for authentic self expression.
No one feeling or need exists in isolation. Our emotions and needs are complex, ever-emerging and always bleeding into one another.
Using the Wheel with groups (teams, families, etc.)
The wheel can be a great tool to use with a group. I've linked a group check in exercise in the jamboard below where you can fill out the wheel anonymously, together, to get a visual representation of which emotions the collective group may be carrying in that moment.
This exercise can be helpful with:
- getting a pulse on a group in a virtual space
- showing that emotions are indeed in the room
- allowing folks to express their more vulnerable emotions in an anonymous format
- creating a concrete and visual representation of our collective humanity and messiness <3
"HOW ARE YOU DOING?"
interactive web story and activities page
"How are you Doing?" is an interactive web story and activities page that I created in collaboration with The Pudding and my friend Michelle McGhee. It guides you through the creation process of this emotion wheel and allows you to make your own visual representation of your current emotional experience. This is a completely free resource that you can use anytime and it does not collect any data about you.