Here’s How Understanding Your Emotions Can Bring World Peace

The Dalai Lama’s new Atlas of Emotions hopes to heal humanity.


Women with different emotions

The Atlas of Emotions encourages others to get in touch with their inner-selves (Gearstd /

Achieving world peace may sound like a lofty goal, but when you’re the Dalai Lama and one of the most important spiritual figures in Tibetan Buddhism, ‘lofty’ takes on a slightly different definition. Nonetheless, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, has made it his mission to bring world peace by way of helping others become more self-aware, compassionate humans.

In collaboration with renowned psychologist Dr. Paul Ekman, the Dalai Lama has built the Atlas of Emotions, an online, visual map of all the feelings a human can experience. Dr. Ekman, who helped advise the creators of Pixar’s ‘Inside Out,’ synthesized the range of human sentiments into five basic emotions: anger, fear, disgust, sadness and enjoyment. The interactive atlas represents each of these core emotions as continents and links them to different emotional states, triggers, actions and moods.

While the  Atlas of Emotions is a tool to “give people more understanding of how emotions work—where emotions come from and the actions they motivate,” according to Dr. Ekman, it also has a farther-reaching objective. When individuals become self-aware of the emotions they’re experiencing and develop the ability to navigate their feelings, this can have a ripple effect on society as a whole. “We have, by nature or biologically, this destructive emotion, also constructive emotion,” the Dalai Lama told the New York Times. “This innerness, people should pay more attention to….This is not just for knowledge, but in order to create a happy human being. Happy family, happy community and, finally, happy humanity.”

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