Emotions are already a part of human nature. But how much do you really know about emotions? What are emotions? What are their elements? What are the most common types of emotions? This chapter is where you will learn the basics of emotions for you to get started.
Emotions seem to be like a king that rules your day to day life. The decisions that you make are based on whether you are happy, sad, bored, frustrated or angry. Your hobbies and activities are chosen based on the kind of emotions that they incite. But what exactly are emotions?
By definition, emotions are complex psychological states involving three unique components: subjective experience, physiological response and expressive or behavioral response.
A Glimpse into the World of Emotions
Aside from trying to understand what exactly emotions are, the researchers also tried identifying and classifying the various types of emotions. Paul Eckman, a psychologist, suggested in 1972 that there are actually 6 basic emotions that can be considered universal in the entire human cultures, namely anger, fear, disgust, surprise, sadness, and happiness. But in 1999, he further expanded the list, including some other basic emotions such as excitement, embarrassment, contempt, pride, shame, amusement and satisfaction.
In the 1980s, Robert Plutchik introduced the so-called wheel emotions, another kind of emotion classification system. In this model, it was demonstrated how various emotions can be mixed or combined together, in the same way that artists combine the primary colors in order to come up with secondary colors. He suggested that there are actually eight primary emotional dimensions, including fear versus anger, sadness versus happiness, disgust versus trust and anticipation versus surprise. These emotions can then be mixed in various ways. For instance, anticipation and happiness can be combined to create excitement.
But what are really the purposes of your emotions? What do they do for you? Certainly, these have an important effect on you but what are these all for?
Your Emotions are Your Motivation
Your emotions motivate you. Without them, you will never be able to do much, thus, you will not survive, which is applicable to the evolved form that you are now. Your body can feel motivations. Your muscles either relax or tense. Your blood vessels contract or dilate. When you feel emotional, you can also feel this physically. It means that your emotions can either make you comfortable or uncomfortable, sending signals for you to do something right away or just stay in your comfortable state.
Your Emotions are Your Social Signals
In general, people wear their hearts on their sleeves as their inner emotions are being displayed on their outer bodies. Your face in particular has about 90 muscles wherein 30 have the main purpose of signaling your emotions to others. These signals are very useful for they let other people decide how to behave toward you. When you look angry, those around you will never think of attacking you.
Your Emotions Serve as Internal Signals
For instance, internally, when you try to make a decision or understand something, you use your emotions to determine if your conclusion is a good idea. When you think of something that contradicts your values, your emotions are going to tell you that this is bad. When you think of something that can hurt you, your emotions are going to tell you that the idea is not good. By simply imagining what can happen, your emotions will be triggered, thus letting you come up with better decisions.