Module 4: Robert Plutchiks Wheel of Emotions

Upgrade Your Unconscious Behaviours and Change Your Life

Introducing Plutchiks Wheel of Emotions! 

In module four of the Master Your Emotions life coaching course you will learn how to upgrade your relationship with your unconscious behaviours. 

This page will show you how to use the wheel to upgrade your unconscious responses to events like a relationship crisis. Get ready to master your emotions like never before and transform your relationship breakdown or break up into a breakthrough!

Who Is Robert Plutchik?

Robert Plutchik was professor emeritus at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and adjunct professor at the University of South Florida. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University and he was also a psychologist. He authored or coauthored more than 260 articles, 45 chapters and eight books. 

Although his work on emotions amounts to theory his work is widely recognised. His research work in psychology included studies around emotions, suicide and violence. It would be interesting to see if the same conclusions were drawn following detailed research studies of optimum health, wellbeing, relationships and love.

Thats where you come in.  

Introduction to Plutchiks Wheel of Emotion

As revealed in Module Two: Types of Emotion the Wheel of Emotion is built around eight primary emotions; anger, fear, sadness, disgust, surprise, anticipation, trust, and joy. 

Each of these eight primary emotions can be linked to a trigger for survival type behaviour. In fact, they are considered primary emotions because of a high value of survival to our ancestors. 

There are a number of fundamental precepts that support Plutchiks wheel of emotions theory. These key precepts are: 

Emotions have an evolutionary history 

Primary emotions can present in pairs of polar opposites.

Emotions can be derivatives or combinations

Emotions can exist in varying degrees of intensity.

Plutchiks Wheel of Emotion Chart

Take a look at Plutchiks Wheel of Emotions Chart to see where exactly you are in this behaviour pattern: 


Machine Elf 1735, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Many thanks to Wikipedia for making this image of the Wheel Of Emotion publicly available.

How Your Emotions Influence Behaviour

Have you noticed how emotions influence your behaviour? Think back to Module 1: Why We Have Emotions. You discovered that emotions are linked to risk and reward systems of our early ancestors. Pleasure and pain. You also discovered how emotions show up in your relationships and influence your habits. 

Now we can consider how the wheel of emotions can influence our behaviour. Notice how the Wheel Of Emotions is evenly balanced. Whilst some emotional states may seem undesirable on the surface they had as great a purpose as the desirable states. 

Look at your responses to the life coaching questions in Module Two and Three. Do you see balance or is your wheel wobbling. Knowing that your off balance gives you awareness of where you must focus your attention. This is a huge step in emotional intelligence. 

It isn't an easy step to take because it means you have to work on you. You are the focus of this study. 

Imagine what it may have been like for our ancestors. They were hunting when they came upon an obstacle, or undesirable circumstance. One of the group overcame the obstacle. The rest of the group experience joy and trust and adopt their behaviour to overcome the obstacle. They experienced an emotional reward. 

Then they came face to face with a threatening situation (perhaps a pack of wolves or a bear). One of the group would have been attacked and killed. The survivors adrenal system kicked in to overdrive as they experienced the emotion of anger, fear, sadness or disgust. They overcame the threat but adopted their behaviour so as not to have to face the threat again.

Can you see how these experiences relate to the pairs of opposite primary emotions depicted in the Wheel Of Emotion?

Multiple these experiences by a hundred thousand generations and we have become hard wired to experience pleasure and pain emotions in all new and inventive ways.

Fast forward to your current reality. I imagine that you aren't a loin cloth wearing hunter gatherer, and you very rarely come upon wolves or bears. Despite this your behaviours are still triggered by the emotions of risk and reward. Even at the supermarket you can be spinning that wheel of emotions either consciously or unconsciously.

Be Your Own Life Coach With The Wheel of Emotion

Think about a behaviour that you do that you would like to change. 

Think about that behaviour now and how it has shown up for you throughout your life. What is it costing you?

Can you trace it back along your personal time line?

You are acknowledging that you have a behaviour that was created some time ago in your unconscious mind. The behaviour is having an unwanted impact upon you now. The behaviour leaves an emotional residue somewhere within your wheel of emotions that no longer serves you, even though at some point it did. There was a benefit, wasn't there. When you think about the benefit, or the desired outcome, there may be several ways of achieving it. 

When did you first decide to behave that way?

How did you benefit from the behaviour that time?

Can you think of four different ways to achieve the same benefit or better? 

Are you happy with your learning new ways to achieve desirable results now?

Flood your imagination with images of you changing your response to the stimulus. Imagine achieving the desired outcome. You might experience shades of surprise, anticipation, trust, and joy from the Wheel of Emotions. You can now create an emotional reward system by upgrading your behaviour.

Balancing Your Wheel Of Emotion

What additional benefit or gain are you seeking by eliminating, or modifying the old behaviour?

In order to process this question some people start with "I don't want to ...

This shows there is a focus on what the person does not want, or an "away from" frame. Shift your focus to what you want instead, otherwise known as a towards frame.

Away from frame example:

I don't want to come home from the office, switch on the TV to watch the news and end spending the next two hours numbing my mind.

Towards frame example: 

I want to come home and practice meditation for twenty minutes


I want to come home and listen to a motivational cd for twenty minutes. 

Away from example 

I don't want to eat junk food for my lunch at the office 

Towards example

I want to prepare my own lunch

Away from example

I don't want to fall out with my partner every time we disagree on something

Towards example

I want to understand my partners point of view

Can you see how this simple wheel alignment will balance your emotions and behaviours? Move from an away from frame to a towards frame and your wheel of emotions will be way more responsive.  

Final Step To Master Your Emotions

You are on a roll and really understanding why we have emotions, the types of emotion you experience in your relationships, and how to master your emotional self awareness.  

You have learned how your emotions are interconnected with your behaviours. You have learned how you can calibrate your behaviour using Robert Plutchiks Wheel of Emotion. You also know how to balance the wheel using towards and away from frames.

You are nearly there! Keep up the great work!

Module Five: Mastering Your Emotions is your final step to Master Your Emotions. 

In the meantime if you would like to discuss how life coaching could work for you please get in touch and schedule a free coaching consultation.  (See the link below)

Follow The Relationship Breakthrough Coach 

Relationship Breakthrough Coach provides life coaching for men, women and couples in Mossley, Tameside, Uppermill, Saddleworth, and all surrounding areas. I also work with english speaking international clients via Skype and Zoom.

Life coaching is a journey of self discovery. Your journey starts with your next step. You don't have to see the whole staircase. Just take the next step. The power of life coaching will unlock your personal power to overcome obstacles that show up while you get to work on your dreams.

Where Will Your Next Steps Take You?

I sincerely hope you found what you were looking for.

I am adding new content all the time but if you have any idea's or topics you would like to see, get in touch and let me know.

Click on the image to visit the contact me page:

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