Build a Better Life and Business Using The Emotional Atlas

This  Emotional Atlas is a great resource designed to help you understand and explore emotions, their triggers, the actions we take with them and their generalized mood.The Atlas itself can help abundant people understand, navigate their own emotions and hopefully help you operate with higher emotional awareness. This emotional awareness not only serves your personal life, but can help you create better products, services, and design better experiences for your customers.

Side Note: The atlas was inspired by a series of conversations between the Dalai Lama and Paul Ekman about the science of emotions.  Paul Ekman, is the real life micro-expression pro, that the hit show “Lie To Me” was based on.

The Emotional Atlas tour begins with a continental view of the 5 major emotions (joy, anger, fear, sadness, and disgust). You can click on any one to delve deeper to view the states, actions, triggers, moods and other information related to each emotion.


Let’s look at enjoyment for example. When we delve deeper, we are shown a range of states of enjoyment from least intense to most intense.

The States of Joy

As an experience designer, marketer, and lover of the great life, it’s important to pay attention to what the more intense states of the emotions like enjoyment are, as they are powerful drivers of behavior and engagement. They can be used to guide the creation of products, services and experiences.

actions of joy

As you can see, the follow up actions associated with a state of enjoyment can help you map out your own personal journey as well as the journey of your customer personas. These help you build more specific maps, plans and design. Designing to instill a feeling of wonder, for example, is a more specific direction to lead to a higher engagement level than simply helping someone gloat.

triggers of joy

Next up are triggers. You’ve probably heard of them in a negative context but they can be positive too. These stimulae, that can be different for everyone, bypass our perception and automatically bring forth an emotional response, usually without us noticing it. Think of a small child crying, and you introduce a new toy, the tears go away, and they’re all smiles again. That toy was a trigger, maybe it instantly created a sense of wonder, curiosity, or opportunity to engage and connect to something new. Whatever it was – it allowed you to design an experience to turn that frown upside down.

the mood of enjoyment

Next up is the longer lasting cousin of the original emotion, the mood. A mood of elation can last longer and can increase the frequency of other feelings of enjoyment. In business world in design and marketing, we create mood boards to look at the tone we set for customers and coworkers with products, services, interactions and initiatives.

Check out the Emotional Atlas on Eckman’s site

I hope this helps you in work and life! If you’ve got a story to share about emotional awareness, or using it to be better at what you do, leave a comment or email us at



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