Paul and Eve Ekman’s ‘Atlas of emotions’, a project founded by the Dalai Lama

The Atlas of Emotions was created by psychologists Paul Ekman and Eve Ekman, by suggestion of the Dalai Lama, to increase our understanding of how emotions affect what we do and say.

“When we wanted to get to the New World, we needed a map. So make a map of emotions so we can get to a calm state”

the Dalai Lama to Dr. Ekman

In 2014, Dalai Lama asked hi friend Paul Ekman to create a map of emotions, hoping that such a map could help people make their experiences more constructive. As a first step, a survey was carried out among 149 scientists (emotion scientists, neuroscientists and psychologists who are published leaders in their fields) to ascertain a consensus about the nature of emotions and the moods or states they produce. Of the researchers, 88% agreed that there are universal emotions — emotions that are common to all people, no matter where they live or how they were raised: anger, fear, disgust, sadness and enjoyment, each with an elaborate subset of emotional states, triggers, actions and moods.

The Atlas of Emotions is a fantastic tool for travelling the world of these five emotions, in their many nuances and micro-expressions. Each emotion is called a ‘continent’ and each has a state, action, detonators and moods until a state of calm is reached in the ocean of the mind — a state necessary to assess and understand these changing emotions. This tool is ideal for all employees engaged in the field of psychosocial work, especially for social workers.

The Atlas represents what researchers have learned from the psychological study of emotion.

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