“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”  ~ Antione de Saint-Exupery

Enhance Emotional Literacy

Definition: Accurately identifying and understanding feelings.

Importance: Emotions are chemicals, a form of neurotransmitter, that provide data about yourself and others; emotions are a feedback system delivering information that drives behavior and decisions. Emotional literacy is the capacity to access and interpret that data.

"emotional literacy" is naming and understanding feelings

Enhance Emotional Literacy is one of the core competencies of “Know Yourself” in the Six Seconds Model.

Emotional literacy helps you notice, name, and understand feelings. This provides critical information about you (and about others), which gives you insight into the core drivers of behavior. This understanding is also key to managing your reactions.


What are emotions and where do they come from?

Recommended Tools

EQ for Families: Emotional Literacy Workshop: Help parents and caregivers increase emotional literacy — the foundation to emotional intelligence. This program, “The Power of Feelings: Parenting with Emotional Intelligence,” will help them communicate with their children, recognize and manage emotions, and increase self-awareness.

Emotional Literacy Museum: The Emotional Literacy Museum is a self-directed learning experience teaching about the physiology of emotions, emotional regulation, and emotional literacy.

Mixed Emotions Cards – a beautiful deck of “tarot-like” cards of feelings (labeled with feelings and synonyms)

eMotion Cards – evocative, playful moon face illustrations of emotions (open-ended without labels)

Biodots – a simple reminder that emotions are part of our physiology

Bingo Emotions – classic “bingo” game played with emotions (in English & Spanish)

Feeling Faces – photos of real people and data about how survey respondents evaluated each picture

Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence Assessment with debrief which provides feedback about the way you’re currently using your EQ and how to improve in this area

EQ for Families: Emotional Literacy Workshop – Help parents and caregivers increase emotional literacy — the foundation to emotional intelligence.

Articles about Emotional Literacy

7 Emotional Intelligence Facts: Take the Quiz and Get Practical Tips to Apply Today (6/16/2021) by Michael Miller - Test your knowledge of emotional intelligence and gain key insights to bring EQ to life at home and at work ...
Tips for Emotional Mastery: How to Fuel Wellbeing by Being Smarter with Feelings (4/26/2021) by Joshua Freedman - How can we handle feelings more effectively? Here are the top 12 tips from emotional intelligence practitioners. ...
5 SEL Check-In Activities for Your Classroom (3/16/2021) by guest - Social emotional learning is essential for academic and life success. Here are 5 quick, easy check-in activities to bring SEL to life in your classroom. ...
Getting Unstuck: The Power of Naming Emotions (1/8/2021) by Michael Miller - Traffic is always stressful, right? Turns out, there's a secret neuroscience tip about naming emotions that can help. It's simple and powerful. ...
Racism and Re-humanizing Emotions (#25) (8/27/2020) by Six Seconds - What’s the importance of honoring the complexity and fullness of emotions especially experienced by BIPOC in the wake of racial bias? ...
Integrated Emotions: Feelings Are Allies (8/17/2020) by Joshua Freedman - What if all our feelings had value? Many people see emotions as "good" or "bad" -- which leaves us in a constant state of internal struggle against our own feelings. Here's a framework to rethink feelings as valuable signals about what's important. ...
Ask Us Anything About Emotions (#23) (8/11/2020) by Six Seconds - What do emotions mean and how can we use them better? Check out this playful and provocative livestream asking anything about feelings! ...
Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions: Feelings Wheel (8/11/2020) by Six Seconds - Make sense of emotions with this interactive feelings wheel. Robert Plutchik's wheel of emotions explained - guide & free download ...
Coaching Emotions (#22) (8/5/2020) by Six Seconds - Join Jenny Rogers (author of Coaching Skills), Ann Rindone (VP at ICF), Natalie Roitman (coauthor of The EQ Gym) and Josh Freedman (author of At the Heart of Leadership) in a deep dive to the heart of coaching. ...
Celebrating Feelings: Emotions for Thriving (5/26/2020) by Six Seconds - In two inspiring, interactive, authentic conversations, we’ll get to the essential basic for mental wellbeing: Talking about feelings. ...

more emotional literacy articles on our site

Other Resources

HBR blog on recognizing emotions http://blogs.hbr.org/bregman/2012/05/do-you-know-what-you-are-feeli.html

Paul Ekman’s Emotions Revealed

Chip Conley’s Emotional Equations


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