Awareness and understanding of your emotions help to take control of your happiness
Great. It means you are in touch with the caveman survival mechanisms that will keep you alive. Emotions are key in surviving and the good news is that we experience only 4 basic emotions, as research by Glasgow University shows. Emotions are part of your brain. The difference with feelings is that a feeling is a response to a trigger, which causes a reaction in your body and helps to survive. Emotions are part of our innate ‘make-up’ and universally similar for all people.
What are those 4 basic emotions?
Joy – happiness makes you feel alive and fuels the wish to stay alive. A smile, being in love, helping someone else are all helping the brain to create ‘happy’ hormones, which give us stamina, perseverance and energy to continue.
Sadness – even though it is perceived as negative, there are essential ‘life savers’ in feeling sad. Sadness brings us in contact with joy. Feeling a loss means that we have experienced something valuable, which we can be grateful for. In the mood of sadness after a traumatic event, we retreat in the waiting room of life. This is the space where we pretend we are still getting on with life, but we are actually not fully participating. We feel like an observer and are spending time in the waiting room to process what has happened. This is a time of personal growth and building resilience, essential for surviving. And thirdly, sadness reunites people, wipes out differences and creates closeness. Humans are pack animals and need other people around them to survive and to feel joy.
Fear – fear helps to detect danger and avoid it. Fear helps to get the body to respond in the right way: adrenaline kicks in and the body is ready for a flight or fight response. Fear can be immediate – like jumping away from an approaching car, or lingering – like having a sense of unease around somebody, which makes you alert and tentative.
Anger – anger is the emotion of action. In certain studies, anger is called a secondary emotion as it is often the reaction to pain, hurt, rejection or frustration. Angry people usually are very active in expressing themselves and anger can be a great motivator to sort things out.
If you feel emotional, just ask yourself: am I glad, sad, scared or mad? It will always come down to one of these and recognising that makes it easier to deal with. It is a great starting point to then drill down and find out more about your feelings. Feelings are triggered by external stimuli and more fleeting than emotions. All feelings are part of one of the 4 categories of emotions. Being aware of feelings makes it easier to understand how they influence your choices and reactions and this awareness opens you up to change.
Emotional, but not knowing what is going on? Why not book a FREE Coaching Call with me and get clarity about your emotions and how to deal with them.