“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

Expanding Your EQ Toolkit: 7 Tips + Resources to Cultivate Emotional Intelligence (10/16/2018) by Michael Miller - From a chart that deciphers the meaning of dozens of feelings to a video that will change your understanding of empathy, here are 10 free tips + resources to cultivate emotional intelligence.
Illuminate: Who drives you NUTS? (10/15/2018) by Maria Jackson - Your 'Sandpaper Person' illuminates your own personal beliefs + opportunities for growth. This articles breaks down how to identify + learn from the person who most challenges you.
Illuminate: The Burn Out, Part I (9/24/2018) by Maria Jackson - So often, when we are in a hard place, we just want to get out as quickly as possible. But transforming our muck into meaning takes time, acceptance, and understanding. Here is my story of a recent burn out, and how you, too, can transform your muck.
Illuminate: Getting Out of Your Head + Into Your Body (9/3/2018) by Maria Jackson - Do you know the difference between feeling hungry and feeling anxious? Four ideas for increasing your brain-body connection.
Need Help Making a Decision? Try Mixed Emotions Cards (7/23/2018) by Michael Miller - Have you ever had really mixed feelings about a decision or a choice you have to make? It can paralyze the decision making process and cause us to waffle endlessly back and forth. The Mixed Emotions card deck embraces the complexity of emotions and turns them into an asset for decision making.
Illuminate: getting to know your anxiety (7/16/2018) by Maria Jackson - A powerful tool for better understanding anxiety
emotional intelligence in the workplace Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace: Taking the Risk to Talk Emotions In Tech (4/23/2018) by Michael Miller - Tombola is no stranger to versatility. And their latest move - to invest in emotional intelligence in the workplace - shows they are on the cutting edge once again.
How to Improve Emotional Intelligence: Tips to Practice Awareness (updated for 2018) (2/27/2018) by Joshua Freedman - Want to know how to improve emotional intelligence? Here's how to tune in to start, with downloadable resources + power tips from our certified practitioners all around the world on increasing self-awareness
7 Amazing Facts About Emotions You Should Know (2/19/2018) by Michael Miller - Got emotions? Everyone needs these 7 amazing facts about feelings and why we have them.
Talking with Kids About Tragic News (2/17/2018) by Joshua Freedman - After horrific events in the news, do you share your feelings w kids/students... or try to reassure by hiding your feelings? How can we talk with children about these difficult 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


Six Seconds

Six Seconds supports people to create positive change - everywhere... all the time. Founded in 1997, the organization now has offices in 11+ countries and certified practitioners in over 100, and is the world's preeminent resource for putting emotional intelligence into action.