Feelings and Emotions

We have a rainbow of emotions and feelings but it is the act of understanding and accepting their state which can prove to be difficult. We all have the ability to influence the way we feel by simply concentrating on the thoughts we feed ourselves. When we have positive thoughts we feel positive thus generating positive emotions. When we feel good about ourselves on the inside, we behave positively.

Emotional Masks

Emotional Masks

In order to understand ourselves better, emotions and feelings are a good place to start. If we are able to identify the emotion we are feeling at any given moment, we are in a better position to control and handle our behaviour better. Although we do not have total control over our emotions, we do have the ability to recognise and handle them appropriately.

When we experience a negative emotion we can identify it and go to the root of the problem which is our way of thought. The way we think influences the way we feel. These emotional feelings subsequently affect the way we behave. For example if we are feeling bad, chances are we behave negatively. Likewise, if we are in a good mood, we feel that we can overcome almost any obstacle in our way.

Feeling good emotions is the easy part. To be happy is an ideal place. Many people spend their lives in pursuit of happiness. Yet even happiness has no value without the contrast of sadness. Do we ever really know a positive emotion without feeling the opposite effect of the negative emotion?

Dealing with difficult emotions is the hardest part of all. In the western world we are not encouraged to display our negative emotions at a public level. As a result, by hiding these emotions, we may suffer internally. Ideally we need to find healthy outlets for the negative feelings which can build up within us.

To identify and view the array of emotions and where they stem from:

The Feelings Wheel Developed by Dr. Gloria Willcox

There are two main researchers concerned in the area of Emotions:

  1. Robert Plutchik
  2. Parrott (2001) Theory

Robert Plutchik has carried out detailed research in the field of emotions. Plutchik showed his research in a visual manner by creating a colourful wheel of emotions as shown below and referred to as Plutchik’s Flower.

Plutchik's Flower

Inner part of wheel:

Ecstasy – This is a feeling of heightened pleasure and joy. It is a trance like state almost to the point of feeling disassociated. It is an intense feeling of delight.

Admiration – This is a feeling of approval and liking of something or someone. You can even admire such things as a skill or behaviour.

Terror – This is a feeling of underlying dread as well as anticipation of something horrific.

Amazement – This is the feeling you get when you find out something very surprising.

Grief – This is not a temporary emotion. It is an on-going process that is mixed combination of emotions.

Loathing – This is a feeling of strong dislike of something or someone. It is accompanied with a feeling of disgust.

Rage – This is a feeling of extreme anger.

Vigilance – This is the ability to stay alert and attention focused over a period of time.

Middle inner part of wheel:

Surprise – A feeling of astonishment.

Sadness – a feeling of loss and unhappiness. Despair.

Disgust – A strong feeling of dislike often accompanied by repugnance.

Anger – A strong feeling of indignation. It is a feeling of having been wronged or treated unfairly.

Anticipation – A feeling of expectation. Knowing something is about to happen before it does so.

Joy – A feeling of elation.

Trust – A feeling of credibility and certainty in someone or something.

Fear – This is a very basic emotion from which other negative emotions stem from. Fear is a feeling of dreadful anticipation that something bad will happen.

Outer middle part of Wheel:

Distraction – This is a diversion from the focused object of attention. This feeling reduces your attention span.

Pensiveness – This feeling is a reflective state of mind. This feeling is usually associated with purposeful thought.

Boredom – A tedious feeling. No interest in the task at hand or person.

Annoyance – A feeling of irritation. This feeling is usually aimed at something which appears to be a nuisance.

Interest – A feeling of being fully involved in something or someone and giving the item or person your full interest out of curiosity or desire.

Serenity – A feeling of calmness and tranquillity.

Acceptance – A feeling of positive approval of something or someone.

Apprehension – A feeling of heightened fear of something nasty about to happen before it does happen.

Outer part of Wheel:

Love – This is by far one of the most written about emotions. This is because it is the strongest positive emotion. Love is a very strong affection as well as compassion and appreciation towards someone or something.

Submission – This is a feeling of surrendering. It can be through choice or giving in with internal conflict because the person is forced to surrender.

Awe – This is a strong feeling of admiration and wonder. It can sometimes have an underlying fear associated with it.

Disapproval – This is a feeling of condemnation.

Remorse – This is a feeling of deep regret associated with a personal wrongful deed.

Contempt – This is a feeling which arises when an individual believes something is below their dignity or level of respect.

Aggressiveness – This is a feeling of strong assertiveness to the extent of being forceful without consideration for others even.

Optimism – This feeling is by far one of the most positive emotions. It is a deep belief or hope that something good will happen.

Emotional States

Emotional States

Plutchik’s research includes a detailed list of eight opposing primary emotions as shown below.

  • Joy vs Sadness
  • Trust vs Disgust
  • Fear vs Anger
  • Surprise vs Anticipation

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