Understanding the Basic Emotions We Have

November 8, 2017 Emotions

When we learn to understand our emotions, we get a better a idea of how to effectively deal with them.

One key indicator of emotional intelligence is the ability to both identify and understand emotions. It is the first step towards managing a maelstrom of confusing thoughts and feelings. Once we understand the basic emotions we have, we are able to handle them positively.

Benefits of positive management of emotions

There are several benefits to mastering the ability to positively manage our emotions.  Some of them include:

  • Good stress management

  • Strong empathy for the feelings of others

  • Effective conflict resolution

  • Resilience

  • Better communication

  • Improved relationships

Given the many benefits of positive emotional management, it is essential that we take the first step. We have to first understand the basic emotions we have before we can learn how to manage them.

How to understand our basic emotions

There are many ways for us to understand the basic emotions we have. Here are some of them:

  • Have a working understanding of what emotions are

Emotions are basically knee-jerk in nature. This explains why emotional responses tend to be irrational at times. Understanding the basic emotions that we have allows us to put the brakes on, so we do not act based on unprocessed feelings. If we allow ourselves to be impulsive, disastrous effects, particularly on our relationships as well as our over-all wellbeing, are the foreseeable outcome.

  • Know what the basic emotions are

According to a recently conducted study on emotions at Glasgow University in Scotland, there are four basic emotions that human beings have. These are:

    • Happiness

    • Sadness

    • Fear/Surprise

    • Anger/Disgust

Identifying the general emotion will make it easier for us to define what it exactly is as we process our feelings.

  • Label emotions accurately

Once we have already identified the general emotion, we can now go ahead and be more specific. Emotional Agility author Susan David published an article in the Harvard Business Review which underlines the importance of correctly identifying the emotions that we are feeling.

In fact, according to David, one of the best ways to deal with emotions is to be able to specifically name them. Identifying the emotion accurately allows the person to appropriately respond to the situation. 

David suggests three things to do this. 

    • Widen emotional jargon.  In order to understand the basic emotions we have, we must be able identify the exact feeling we are experiencing.  Instead of just saying that we are sad, we can further specify the emotion by identifying what it exactly is. Are we disappointed? Are we regretful? Are we disillusioned? Once we identify what the exact feeling is, then we can learn how to properly respond to it.
    • Mind the intensity. Identifying the intensity of the emotion is also helpful. 
    • Reflect and write. Once the intensity of emotions has subsided, we can then go ahead and reflect. What did we feel? What triggered them? How did we express them?

professional mediator qualitiesImportance of understanding our emotions

In the same article, David cites another study by James Pennebaker. Pennebaker made a really interesting discovery. He was able to pinpoint a connection between emotional processes and physical health. What once was just an idea is now a scientifically proven fact.

The results are conclusive. Pennebaker, through his experiments, showed a link between positive emotions and better physical well-being. This makes understanding the basic emotions that we have really essential. It affects our physical health.

Talk to Dr. John Toussaint today

If you feel that you need assistance to understand the basic emotions that you have, Dr. John Toussaint is the man for you. Head of Health and Behavioural Sciences at the Medical Register of Australia, he has been working for years to help his clients achieve social and emotional well-being.

Do not let your emotions control your life. With Dr. Toussaint’s help, you will be able to work towards positive management of your emotions. Call us today!

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