My Wheel of Emotion
Both wheels have 32 emotions, many of which are the same. However, several are different in my wheel. For example, for me, boredom, vigilance, interest, distraction, and submission (as used by Plutchik) are not exactly emotions. To my mind, they are ways of thinking (or not thinking) and not actually what I would refer to as emotions that you feel. On the other hand, Plutchik includes a couple of actual emotions that I don’t, such as disgust and pensiveness. My reason for this omission is that 32 is a nice number of emotions for splitting into many equally sized sections of a circle – also I had to stop somewhere, and 48 or 64 emotions would probably be overkill.
Using my wheel
The purpose of my wheel is also more precise than Plutchik’s. While his is intended more as an analysis tool for emotions in general, mine is presented as an aid to creative visualization and other personal improvement techniques. The idea is to stare at the wheel and read all the different emotions, casting your eyes around it until you settle on a spot that seems to represent your current inner emotional makeup.
Because emotions that are next to each other in my wheel are more closely related to each other than those that are separated from each other, you can then choose a spot on the wheel where you feel you would prefer your emotions to be focused, and then you can see the emotions related to these two places, and through which you may have to navigate in order to change your state of mind.
In particular, when you are experiencing a negative mood and don’t know why, you can use my wheel as a means of working out exactly what’s affecting you so that you can more clearly focus in on the problem (or problems) and make better-informed decisions about how to deal with your mood.
Reading the inner circle
In the inner circle, the wheel consists of eight emotions, each of which is the direct opposite of the emotion on the other side (or as close as can be reasonably achieved), while the emotions that are next to each other are somewhat related to each other, albeit sometimes quite loosely. For example, ecstasy is the opposite of misery, and loathing is the opposite of admiration, while ecstasy and admiration are more similar to each other than they are different.
The inner emotions are some of the simplest to recognize, but if you think about them you will realize that they are actually often created by a combination of other more advanced emotions, as shown in the second circle.
Reading the second circle
In the second circle, there are sixteen more complex emotions, each of which has an opposite on the other side of the circle, with emotions next to each other being even more closely related to each other than those in the inner circle, due to there being more of them.
For example, joy is the opposite of sadness and anger is the opposite of fear. Also, each pair of emotions that touch a single inner circle emotion usually combines to form that inner basic emotion. For example, fear and apprehension create terror, while joy and serenity can lead to ecstasy.
You might be thinking that some of the emotions shown in the wheel look like rather strange opposites. For example, if you are fearful, is anger what you need? Well, the answer is maybe. Maybe there’s a wrong that needs righting that you should get a bit angry about to help motivate you to deal with it. Or if something is making you apprehensive, perhaps developing a sense of bravado (a sort of false bravery you present to the world) will begin to help you to deal with it.