Our emotions have the power to “make” or “break” our days in terms of contentment we experience. They serve as the energy and drivers behind every action we take; they are literally energy in motion. We, therefore, need to identify and acknowledge them accurately. Their impact ranges from being our radar in danger for instance and making quick reactions possible to affect our health in significant ways like causing illness. In her book, “Molecules of Emotion”, Dr. Candice Perth, a neuropharmacologist, renders scientific evidence that most physical illnesses potentially have an emotional component.
The majority of our thoughts are embedded in our subconscious. Our emotions have the potential to make us conscious of what we might be thinking subconsciously. These thoughts could be faulty and destructive such as that that all members of a specific race are inferior or that we are victims of our circumstances. These have to be brought to awareness, investigated for validity and adjusted where necessary if we want to function optimally. We can say that our emotions are key to deeper levels of self – discovery, – understanding and – fulfillment.
In Part 2 it will be explained in more detail that the success of our relationships with ourselves and others are entirely dependent on how constructively we are able to express and manage our emotions. The appropriate management of our emotions is also crucial for career success and our general functioning in society. It is a valuable and worthwhile exercise to become agiler at dealing with emotions in appropriate ways.
Because we are not always exposed to a varied emotional landscape by our parents, most of us tend to display an inadequate feeling vocabulary. This means that we tend to overuse a few emotions such as “I am irritated…” incorrectly to describe a feeling of deep hurt for instance. The problem with this is that unless we are able to identify an emotion precisely, we fail to pinpoint the underlying thought correctly. The main emotions and their variations are the following:
- Anger: Fury, outrage, resentment, animosity, hatred, and hostility
- Sadness: Grief, sorrow, grief, gloom, cheerlessness, melancholy, self-pity, loneliness, despair, and depression
- Fear: Anxiety. apprehension, nervousness, concern, edginess, dread, fright, and panic
- Enjoyment: Happiness, joy, relief, contentment, delight, amusement, pride, pride, gratification, sensual pleasure, and satisfaction
- Love: Acceptance, friendliness, trust, kindness, affinity, devotion, and adoration
- Surprise: Shock, astonishment, amazement, and wonder
- Disgust: Disdain, scorn, aversion, disdain and revolted
- Shame: Guilt, embarrassment, remorse, humiliation, regret, and mortification
A practical exercise to interact with your emotions is to use the above emotions as a guideline in your journal. Try to identify the precise emotion you experience in a specific situation. Attempt to discover the precipitating thought and decide whether the thought is helpful or not. Does it motivate you to take constructive action or the opposite? Part 2 will discuss the concept Emotional Intelligence and Part 3 the link between specific thinking errors, resultant negative emotions, and destructive actions.
Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.