What are Emotions?
Emotions are a natural part of life, every one of us has them, they are physiological states that are generated subconsciously – there are a vast range of emotions but they are generally grouped into six sets:
From those six categories, we can see many more emotions such as glad, annoyed, confident, annoyed, and so on.
People assume feelings and emotions are the same thing but actually they are two independent things. Emotions are subconsciously generated as a bodily response to internal or external events, whereas feelings are experiences of emotion that are driven by our conscious thoughts and feelings – you can have meotions without feelings, but you can’t have feelings without emotions.
Emotions have quite the impact on our thoughts – our first assessment of a new situation is always centered in emotions and feelings, but emotions come first. It is helpful in certain situations that emotions come first – when under threat, there is no time to think, emotions take over and trigger our behavioural responses in mere seconds, with the goal of reduing the chances of a negative outcome. In these situations, emotions support our decision making process.
At its basic essence, emotions help us to:
- survive and avoid danger or threat
- make decisions quickly
- take action in dangerous situations
- understand others and ourselves
Our emotions don’t just serve to keep us safe, but also to help others – when you see someone looking frightened or apprehensive, you quickly look to see where the threat is, or if you see someone happy and content, you feel safe in that environment.