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Emotion Pathways

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By Rene PetersPublished 28 days ago ā€¢ 3 min read
9
Emotion Pathways
Photo by Nik on Unsplash

Author's Note: I planned on this piece over a month ago but was struggling so much I just couldn't bring myself to write. I had it with the title and image in my drafts for over a month and am now finally getting to it. I have just been physically and mentally exhausted from pushing my body too hard. I'm sure there will be more on that later, maybe.

Also, the emojis in the subtitle are just a rough idea (based on what my phone says) for the emotions I'm covering.

* * *

A lot of people don't notice physical sensations with certain emotions, let alone figure out exactly which sensations are which emotions. Well, different feelings can have similar physical feelings while being just about opposite on the emotions wheel.

Here's a basic version of the emion wheel...

Emotion Wheel

I want to start with a major reason I chose this specific version of it... In the middle, rather than "good" and "bad," it says "comfortable" and "uncomfortable." As I have heard from numerous therapists and psychiatrists, "Feelings aren't good or bad, they just are."

Another important thing to know about the wheel is that sad, happy, scared, loved, angry, confident, embarrassed, and playful are primary emotions while the outer feelings are secondary emotions.

There are only a few emotions I will be talking about in this article, as those are ones that I have talked about with my therapist the most.

*

Starting with breaking down something (not quite what the rest will be)... There are two kinds of guilt.

The first type is where you did something wrong. It usually shows up in people as a tightness in the chest, a physical symptom.

The second type is where you are being overly critical of yourself and it typically shows up in the form of thoughts. A common thought in this case is that you shouldn't have done something or that something is your fault when it isn't.

*

Excitement and anxiety, despite being different in comfort level (if you're aware of the physical sensations), have similar pathways. They both can cause symptoms like restlessness and a racing heart. The reason they have the same symptoms and pathway is because they are both caused by anticipation.

The reason they have different comfort levels is because the thoughts behind them are extremely different. Anxiety causes thoughts people don't want, such as the "what ifs," while excitement causes thoughts such as, "I can't wait for (insert situation)."

*

This one was the most fascinating to me because if you look at the emotion wheel, they are exact opposite primary emotions... Love and anger.

The two feelings have the same emotional pathway with the only real difference being what is done with the impulses from the pathway that they take. Both of them are a warmth inside the body but the way that warmth leaves the body is drastically different.

When warmth leaves the body from love, it is in the form of wanting to do something such as hugging.

When warmth from anger is trying to leave the body, you may get an urge such as yelling at, or even hitting, someone.

* * *

What inspired me to write this was talking to my therapist about my physical feelings in a slightly different manner than I had been previously. I've been working on physically feeling my emotions for five years now. It's slightly different than what many people do in talk therapy. He asks how I feel and when I answer, he asks, "How do you know that?" After these five years, I'm still learning how my body experiences different feelings.

The information in here is from my therapist but I did put it in my own words.

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About the Creator

Rene Peters

I write what I know, usually in the form of poetry. I tend to lean towards mental health, epilepsy, and loss/grieving.

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Comments (3)

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  • Mariann Carroll28 days ago

    Thanks for sharing the emotional wheel. I learn something from a book I read. Putting your emotion in a chair in observe it with a three parties in mind. Yourself, what brought it on and is it justifiable?

  • My therapist always asks me that too, "How do you feel that?". But the thing is, I don't feel things physically. So it annoys me so much when she asks me that. I really loved that emotion wheel!

  • Shirley Belk28 days ago

    Love that wheel and you've done a great job in explaining emotions and physicality

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