The Six Core Emotions

The six core emotions are experienced by all people, of all ages and in all cultures. They can be felt in varying degrees individually, or blended together, consisting of:

Sadness

Sadness

Response to the loss of something or someone significant

Fear

Fear

Response to a threat of harm, real or imagined

Happiness

Happiness

Response to being connected 

Surprise

Surprise

Response to an unexpected event

Anger

Anger

Response to protect something or someone 

Disgust

Disgust

Response to something or someone offensive

When children are asked to identify their emotions to express what is bothering them, they usually find it fairly easy using an illustrated chart like this one.

All emotions are important to us, even the difficult ones; they are part of nature’s natural warning system. Children are born with an innate ability to adapt and survive in their environment. As a result of this, they are naturally expressive without needing to use words; think of a crying baby being able to let you know they are hungry, tired, thirsty, cold, hot or bored.

But all children, in every walk of life, will struggle with their emotions from time to time. Modern family life is complex and ignoring or suppressing how we feel can result in children becoming more sad, angry and/or fearful, or even completely shutting down. Parents, carers and teachers sometimes struggle to identify, and effectively deal, with the emotions that children display. The Finding Your Way books and school programmes have been developed to offer a safe and proven approach for teaching emotional wellbeing throughout childhood.

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