This playful yet profound tool is great for building emotional awareness, understanding of own emotions and strengthening emotional intelligence
Feeling Magnets are playful and profound tools that support people to connect with their emotions, to express them and to understand them. They serve as conversation starters and prompts that make feelings easier to acknowledge and speak about.
As you might have guessed, they are actual magnets that are flexible and easy to move around, mirroring the fact that feelings change constantly – as the feelings change, we simply move the magnets around. Feelings don’t define us. They are not permanent and therefore much less scary.
94 emotions in 10 categories
My Feelings Box
49 emotions in 6 categories
Feeling Magnets prompt people to find the right words for how they feel. This is really powerful. Specifically naming our feelings decreases the power of uncomfortable feelings and anchors the pleasant ones. And once people know what they are feeling, they can also respond in a more informed and conscious way. Essentially, Feeling Magnets help people train their emotional literacy, which is a key component and foundation of Emotional Intelligence.At the same time, many people struggle to address their emotions openly as they might consider them taboo or private. Through these playful and tactile tools, emotions don’t seem so unapproachable anymore. Conversations rise to new levels, deeper connections are fostered between people and ultimately, work becomes more fun and efficient.
Ideas for application
The simplicity of the Feeling Magnets tools means they can be used in endless different ways. Users often come up with new ways to integrate them into workshops, team buildings and coaching.
Here are some of the most popular ways that the Feeling Magnets are used:
Teams & Partnerships: Draw a Venn diagram on a whiteboard with one circle for each person (up to 3 people). Put the Feeling Magnets around the Venn diagram. Each person selects the emotions they are feeling at this particular moment or in relation to something specific and places these into their circle. If multiple people are experiencing the same emotion they put move that magnet into the overlapping part of the Venn diagram. This can be done at regular intervals (ex. Hourly) or in specific moments (ex. Before big decisions, during heated discussions or in relation to challenging topics). This helps to put into context what each person is saying and also brings our emotional intelligence more into the forefront.
Meetings: Each person in a meeting has a set of Feeling Magnets and selects how they are feeling within the box. The first few minutes of a meeting are spent with each person sharing how they are feeling at that moment and optionally they can share some context if they feel inclined to do so. The same practice could be used to end a meeting. This gives everyone a sense of the emotional temperature in the room and allows everyone to feel more at ease once they have identified their own emotions.
Ice-breaker: In small teams, ask participants to sort the emotions by intensity and pleasantness. This generates quite some debate as people might not always agree and can lead to interesting discussions as people give examples from their own lives to prove their points. With the Feeling Bodies, ask the teams to identify which emotions fit with each of the figures. With various teams this can also be done as a competition.
Coaching: Begin each session with the client selecting how they are feeling at that moment and how they would like to feel by the end of the session. The Feeling Magnets can also be used during the session to explore how the client would feel if they made a specific choice or went down a particular road.