Understanding Your Emotions Inside Out with the Emotion Wheel: FEAR
Let me ask you a small and simple question!
How many emotions do humans experience?
5? 10? 50? 100? 1,000? 10,000?
Well, this might come as a surprise to you but we humans experience around 34,000. Another fun fact following it is that all these emotions can be navigated with the help of the Emotion Wheel.
This is the emotion wheel given by Dr. Robert Plutchik. Let us understand it and make note of our emotions in depth!
Understanding the Emotion Wheel
Emotion Wheel is proposed by Dr. Rober Plutchik. He identified eight opposite pairs of emotions that form the basis of all other emotions. These polar opposite emotions are:
- Joy and Sadness
- Fear and Anger
- Surprise and Anticipation
- Acceptance and Disgust
The three components of this Emotion Wheel are:
- Colors: The eight basic emotions have been assigned a unique color. With the increase in the intensity of emotion, the intensity of the color also increases in the Emotion Wheel.
- Layers: The Emotion Wheel has different layers and dimensions.
- Relations: A mutual connection between all the emotions is depicted by the Pultchik’s Emotion Wheel.
This colorful beautiful tool is found to be very useful to understand our emotions inside out, identify the emotions that are operating at the subconscious level and manifesting in our conscious awareness, and to verbalize your emotions and needs.
So, do I need to learn the 34,000 emotions to lead a happy life?
Well, no! Learning basic emotions will do the needful.
Calm Sage has taken an initiative to help you understand your emotions and lead a happy life.
We will take a pie from this cake of emotion and understand it in depth. We are starting with one of the most infamous emotions FEAR.
What Is Fear?
Fear is a powerful and primitive emotion that we experience. Usually we experience the emotion of fear when there is a perceived danger, harm, or pain in our immediate surrounding.
According to Plutchik’s Emotion Wheel, FEAR is the opposite emotion of ANGER!
What Are The Underlying Emotions That Makes Us Experience Fear?
While we tend to look at the emotion that we feel on the surface various emotions underlie this basic image.
This image will help you understand it better.
While on the outer level we feel fear the underlying emotions could be many.
Example: I was exposed to a situation (maths exam) where I find myself weak, as a result, I feel fearful.
I am frightened of spiders so whenever they are in my proximity I feel threatened. And, ultimately I address my emotion as fear.
So, while you might work on the surface the problem that needs to be addressed might be lying underneath. Hence, understanding the underlying emotions is important to eradicate the issue from its roots.
How Do I Identify The Underlying Emotions?
Digging deeper into your emotions can be an overwhelming task. So, you can start it slow and identify your emotions slowly and gradually. The best way to identify it is your emotion of fear and its underlying components are to set yourself for a Q & A round. Yes, ask yourself insightful questions and answer them. Some example questions are:
- What are the top 3 things that make you feel fearful?
- When you feel fear what are your bodily reactions?
- What are the events that lead to this emotion and bodily reactions?
- What were your thoughts while expressing it?
Similarly, you can work on other questions and track down your fear and underlying emotions.
Why Is Fear An Important Emotion?
Each and every emotion that we experience is important. Each emotion has a message to convey and fear is no exception to it. Some of the key messages that are conveyed by the emotion of fear are:
- Fear makes us aware of the possible threat in our surroundings.
- Fear warns us about any potential harm in our immediate surroundings.
- Fear prepares us for fight-or-flight response (to face the problem or run away from it).
- Fear gives us instructions to reduce harm or threat.
- Fear motivates us to perform well in a given situation.
- Fear increases our survival instinct.
- Fear prevents us from unhelpful habits and illegal activities.
- Fear heightens our awareness of the current surrounding.
- Fear pushes us to take a challenge and conquer it.
- Fear allows us to give rational reactions.
To put it in a nutshell, fear is good for your health if it is encountered healthily.
When Does Fear Become An Unhelpful Emotion?
But, haven’t we always read that we should overcome our fear and learn to deal with them effectively? Well, yes we do! That’s applicable when the emotion of fear starts to interfere in our daily functioning. Fear may manifest itself in unhealthy ways such as:
- Body Aches (headaches, muscle aches, migraines, and backaches).
- Chronic Pain.
- Unhelpful Thoughts.
- Phobias and Anxiety.
- Cardiovascular Issues.
- Impairs Our Memory.
- Long-term Fear is associated with various mental health issues like anxiety, fatigue, depression, and PTSD.
How To Embrace Fear?
To make sure to enjoy the positive side of emotion and don’t let its unhelpful side overpower you, embracing it is definitely advised. Some effective ways to embrace fear are:
- Practice Mindfulness. When you are aware of the moment you will be able to identify the reason behind the visit of your emotion of fear. Following which you will be able to attenuate these fears and decrease its impact.
- Try Grounding Techniques. When we experience fear we tend to lose control with reality and let fear take the control. Feel grounded and make sure that the control of your life is with reality.
- Make Fun of It. Challenge your fear by laughing at it, creating an inspirational story out of it.
- Write It All Down. Writing your fears, feelings, and associated thoughts down will help you embrace fear in a positive light.
How To Deal With Fear When It Starts To Bother You?
If the fear persists and interferes with your normal functioning despite your attempts to deal with it in a positive way, it is advised to seek professional health. Various therapies work wells to systematically desensitize your fear (whether reasonable or unreasonable).
However, if you wish to learn to deal with your emotion of fear on your own, you might use the mindfulness tool- RAIN. It will help you deal with overwhelming emotion in an effective manner.
Video That Will Help You Understand Fear
Videos are a great tool of learning so learn more about your emotion of fear here are some useful video links for you to watch:
1. Get to Know your “Inside Out” Emotions: Fear
2. Fear: The Disliked Emotion | Oliver Brown | TEDxKids@CranbrookSchools
3. OVERCOMING FEAR – Motivational Video
4. All Fears Are the Same Fear
Books To Unleash The Positive Side Of Fear
If you are willing to explore the positive side of fear and unleash its good side in your life, here are some book recommendations for you:
1. The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker
2. Fearless by Max Lucado
3. Feel the Fear & Do it Anyway by Dr. Susan Jeffers
4. Fear by Thich Nhat Hanh
5. Fear: Understanding and Accepting the Insecurities of Life by Osho
We hope you enjoyed exploring the fear of emotion. Now it is time to put this part of the emotion wheel to practice.
Do share your fearful experience with us in the comment section.
More power to you…