How are you feeling right now? Chances are, you are going through a lot of different things right now – stress at work or uni, relationship problems or constant anxiety – but you may still come back with the good old ‘I’m feeling OK..’. 

So how are you feeling, really? Knowing how you feel is emotional literacy, and it is actually a very important skill. But why?

Emotional Literacy Helps You Deal With Your Feelings Appropriately, For Example:

  • Get to know yourself – self awareness is key!
  • Reach out for support when needed
  • Understand your reactions
  • Improve your decision making
  • Communicate with your loved ones

emotional literacy

The Rule is: If You Are Able to Name Your Overwhelming Feelings, They Get Less Overwhelming!

The ability to know how you are feeling puts the ball back in your court – now you can navigate it in a way that helps you and the people you care about.

However…

Emotional literacy is not always easy, and we all sometimes struggle to name our feelings, let alone know what is going on for us! Life can be stressful, so we just react to whatever comes and carry on! To know how we feel, we sometimes need a bit of help. Luckily, there are tools that we can all use to figure out what’s going on inside us.

So let’s try a couple exercises that will help you strengthen the skill of emotional literacy…  

Emotional Literacy Exercise: The Feelings Wheel

feelings wheel

Wheel of Emotions – https://feelingswheel.com/

Have a look at this wheel.

Looking at this wheel, which feelings do you identify with at the moment?

Pick one or a few that stick out for you the most, and ask yourself these questions:

  • What thoughts connected to this feeling am I having lately?
  • How does it feel in my body? How strong is it?
  • What made me feel like this? 
  • How long have I been feeling like this?
  • What is my reaction to this feeling (e.g. crying, withdrawing, distracting, binge behaviours, or seeking help etc.)?
  • What do I need (e.g help, time, a conversation, activity, or solutions etc)?

What did you come up with? Whether your feelings were pleasant or unpleasant, this can be a helpful tool in getting to know yourself and take action that is going to be helpful.

If you struggle to narrow it down or find one feeling that represents your situation, then the next exercise can be useful…

Emotional Literacy Exercise: Rate Different Feelings

Life is complicated! It’s rare that we actually only feel one feeling at a time. Actually, it’s totally OK to feel a few things at the same time. Let’s try something…

On a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rate your sadness?

On a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rate your joy?

On a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rate your anger?

On a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rate your fear?

On a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rate your disgust?

(Feel free to insert more feelings here!)

What did you come up with? You may have scored something on a few of them, or perhaps even high on all. We are not simple creatures, and an exercise like this helps us understand what is going on inside. Therefore, if you scored high on joy but also high on fear or anger… congratulations, you are human! 

Now you can either carry on and ask yourself the questions from the first exercise, or you can just sit with it and appreciate the variety of things that you are experiencing. Perhaps you will have a new-found compassion for your behaviour? Or you may want to decide to talk to someone? Or maybe you just learned something new about yourself, and now just need some time to process things…

So how are you feeling? We hope now you have a much clearer answer. If the feelings you are experiencing are unpleasant, difficult to manage or prolonged, please know you are not alone and can reach out for support – please check out our support page!