4 of 4 Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions — Triangles_ for Rage Vigilance Ecstacy

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If you want a tool that’ll allow you to name the emotion you’re feeling, Plutchik’s three-dimensional WHEEL of EMOTION is an excellent place to start. You’ll see how the various emotions relate to each other. And how one can slide into another.

The four pieces here were made to fit on four A4 pages. You print them out without modifying the size, and they’ll fit together once you’ve cut them out.

The way the wheel works is that the emotions at the very tip of the cone are SECONDARY emotions. These are a mixture of two adjacent emotions. The closer to the tip of the cone, the more mild the emotion is. The closer to the base you get, the more intense the emotion is.

An example…

"Aggressiveness" is a mixture of RAGE and VIGILANCE, two of the intense emotions on the base. RAGE in a less intense mode is ANGER. And even less intense, it’s ANNOYANCE.

Each emotion has a direct opposite. So, on the base, directly opposite RAGE is TERROR. The less intense version of TERROR is FEAR (which is directly opposie ANGER). Less intense than that is APPREHENSION (which is opposite ANNOYANCE.

If you’re able to name your emotion, you’re able to learn how to deal with difficult feelings. But you also become more literate about what other people are feeling. If we only operate on the eight most intense emotions, we tend to misidentify the milder ones. So if all I know is RAGE, I might read your ANNOYANCE as RAGE, and then we’re in a fight.

What’s more, if I can identify your ANNOYANCE, this gives me a means to start working out why you’re annoyed. This might mean there’s no need for you to escalate to ANGER.

I’ve built this paper sculpture, and it’s a pretty useful device. I hope it serves you somehow. Let me know if you have any interesting insights from it.