Use the Emotions and Needs Wheels for Greater Emotional Intelligence

On average, we experience over 400 emotions every day, and according to one study, we are actively experiencing at least one emotion 90% of the time. No wonder it can be so challenging to sort them out.

Emotions can either make life beautiful, miserable, or both. They light up the flame of life, providing colors and sounds that magnify its novelty and fascination. But they also have the power to make any experience negative. Consider this quote by Earl Nightingale:

“Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality.”

This is why emotions need to be handled with care—they can be powerful assets to life if supported properly, shaping your goals, habit patterns, and overall outlook on life. It is true that some people are better at managing and understanding their emotions than others. Through life experiences or natural ability, they have honed their skill of emotional intelligence (EQ for short).

Interestingly, the concept of EQ postdates IQ by almost a century, but in many ways, it’s much more important. It’s crucial to be in tune with your emotions because if you’re not, you risk hurting yourself and those you love greatly. Many times, emotions need to be recognized and acknowledged before they can be let go. And if they are left to fester beneath the surface, they often wreak havoc.

This is where the emotions and needs wheels come in, which can be found here. These graphical tools were designed to help people identify and express their emotions. The simplest emotions wheel organizes more complex emotions by eight broader categories: scared, angry, embarrassed, playful, confident, loved, and happy. If you’re trying to share with someone, or reveal to yourself how you’re feeling and you can’t quite pinpoint it, this tool can come in handy.

The needs wheel takes a slightly different approach; instead of focusing on the emotions themselves, it works to pinpoint the root problem. While emotions sometimes have no basis and are fleeting, they are often triggered by experiences that create imbalances. This is what the need wheel seeks to resolve. For example, if an event made you feel unsafe, you may find the most healing in a host of different things—privacy, setting a schedule, or creating stronger boundaries. The first division of the needs wheel contains broader categories, similar to the emotions wheel, like safety, growth, and relationships. From there, it branches into more specific needs.

If you’d like to work on improving your connection to your emotions, the emotions and needs wheels can be powerful tools for the journey.

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