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

A response to loss of something or someone important to us

Fear

Fear

A response to feeling a threat of harm, real or imagined

Happiness

Happiness

A response to feeling connected or sensory pleasure

Surprise

Surprise

A response to an unexpected sound or movement

Anger

Anger

A response to feeling the need to protect ourselves or others 

Disgust

Disgust

A response to something or someone we find offensive

All feelings 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.

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

But all children, in every walk of life, will struggle with their feelings from time to time. Modern family life is complex and ignoring or suppressing feelings 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 intelligence throughout childhood.

Buy the Books