Letter No 40 - The wheel of emotions

Dear friend,

I asked my friend 'How are you feeling?'

'I am not feeling anything' came the answer.

Did you ever feel that way? Haha, what a conundrum - did you ever feel that you are not feeling anything?

By any chance do you feel that way now?

If yes, please reach out to someone for help. You don't have to try and deal with it alone.

If it have been going on for a while now, please seek professional help. Emotional numbness, or not feeling anything happens when there is too much going on for the mind to be able to process. Shutting down and not feeling anything is a natural defence system.

In my friend's case, I know it's just a matter of a few days of rest and things will be back in action.


If you are feeling this way, here are some immediate things you could consider doing:

  1. Make an appointment with a therapist or counsellor
  2. Reach out to your loved and trusted ones for support
  3. Exercise - movement and workout will flood your brain with endorphins
  4. Get plenty of sleep
  5. Eat good healthy food
  6. Minimise stress, reduce your workload
  7. Learn to identify and label your emotions


Labelling our emotions is a simple and powerful act that we can do.

Simply saying to yourself "I feel _______" helps us witness our emotions as an observer of them rather than as a receiver of them.

Acknowledging what we are feeling rather than avoiding them because they are uncomfortable, is crucial to lowering emotional reactivity. This is the path to better emotional well being.

Research points to the fact that when people don’t acknowledge and address their emotions, they display lower well-being and more physical symptoms of stress.

Here are some tips that will help you label your emotions:

  1. Broaden your emotional vocabulary
  2. Consider the intensity of the emotion
  3. Write down how you are feeling in a diary or a piece of paper

Go ahead and try it out right now if you are upto it. It takes just 2 minutes.


We need a more nuanced vocabulary for emotions. When I showed this wheel of emotions to my friend, immediately 5 to 6 emotions got named. We moved from 'I don't feel anything' to 'I feel A, B, C, D and E'.

See if you can use this right now, to name what you are feeling at this very moment.


If you'd like to try a 5 minute guided meditation about labelling your thoughts and emotions, just reply to this mail and I'll send you an audio file.

Feel free to share this wheel of emotions with your close ones next time you ask them 'how are you?' and the answer comes 'I'm ok'. They will enjoy naming their feelings and you will enjoy being able to give them the calm space to hear them share.

In friendship and with gratitude,