The Feeling Wheel

We had the privilege of growing up with a New York Times best-selling author living under our roof, or technically, we lived under his. From about eight-years old, he would edit with us – every assignment that we requested.

He loves to talk about how those precious nights (that sometimes turned into mornings with Kristin) highlighted our differences:

Dad editing a paper with Kristin: Dad would say, “I think you need to use a word more like “affe…” He would be interrupted by Kristin plugging her ears, shouting, “No, don’t tell me. I want to get it myself. If you tell me, then I can’t use that word, and I have to come up with a new one.”

Dad editing a paper with Lindsay: Dad would say, “I think you need to use a word more like “affe…” He would be interrupted by Lindsay with a pen and paper, saying, “Now, dad, is that affect with an a or an e?”

For those of you with Kristin’s moral integrity, we really can’t help you much. For those of you like Lindsay, who are just looking for the right word to say what you mean, we’ve found a wonderful bank of colorful words to spruce your typical “thank you” language – words like good, glad, and happy.

It’s called the Feeling Wheel. The key with emotions is to name them, but that can feel challenging for most of us in our daily lives, let alone in writing gratitude. When you can define how you feel, your recipient can connect better with your sentiment. Sprinkle in a few of these words from this helpful tool for more vibrant thank you notes.

Feel those feelings,

P.S. - We apologize Mrs. Lambert. It’s possible that my dad came up with a few words in Lindsay’s 3rd grade paper on George Washington.

Credit: The original creator is Dr. Gloria Willcox, author of Feelings: Converting Negatives to Positives. We borrowed our image from: The Tau of Dana. You might also find Parrott’s Chart of Emotions helpful.