I believe that emotions are crucial to our abilities to adapt to the challengsof our daily lives.
Everything you need to know about why you feel the way you do.
Hen we feel good, we’re able to shrug off even the most burdensome of tasks, but when we’re miser, we view even an enjoyable activity with a sense of gloom.
Emotions can affect our relationships with others. If a friend tells you a tragic story a d you react by snickering instead of looking sad or concerned, you’ll seem rude and insensitive. On the other hand, if you frown when you should smile at your friends jokes you’ll cause offense for different reasons.
Fly off the handle to a minor annoyance can make you seem hyper or unbalanced. Conversely, if you react with undue happi to a relatively minor piece of good news, people will also question your maturity and stability. Babies are allowed to shriek with pleasure or how with rage but as adults, we’re expected to rein in the outward show of our feelings.
In the primary run-up to the 2004 presidential election, Howard Dean’s candidacy ended virtually overnight after his “Yaaahhh“ moment became an overnight Internet sensation. Emond Muski, in the 1972 primary season, committed a similar political gaffe in which he shed tears after winning the New Hampshire primary. Ironically, tears are all the rage in the post 2000 political world. Hilary Clinton wasn’t considered sympathetic enough until her eyes misted over while answering her to question her sincerely.
These examples show not only that the outward display of inner feelings influences how were regarded by others, but also that these emotional displays are heavily dependent on cultural norms. To be regarded as a well-adapted member of society, we need to adhere to those norms or risk condemnation or ridicule.
If you need more convincing about the role of emotions in our abilities to succeed or fail in facing life’s challenges, think about some of the famous people whose careers have been undone by the improper show of their feeling. Their emotional displays of their inner feelings influence how they were regarded by others.
Our emotions affect not only how others treat us but our inner sense of well-being. We tend to believe that whether we are experiencing positive or negative emotions reflect forces outside our control, blaming everything from our genes to the weather.
What many people do not realize is that emotions aren’t strictly controlled by our body’s physiology way that reflexes are. You’re not stuck for life with the emotional equipment programmed into our DNA.
To understand the way that you can control your emotions, we first have to take a slight detour through our early history of psychology. Views about what our emotions are, and what causes them, have changed radically in the last 100 years
To take this journey we better start with William James, the founder of American Psychology. According to James, our emotions are completely governed by our body’s responses, in fact they are the emotions
Imagine you’re being chased by a bear. If you’re like most of us fear and panic will take over your entire being, causing your heart to race, your palms to get sweaty, and your stomach to do somersaults. James equated these responses to your autonomic nervous system with the actual emotion of fear. According to James, you bodily reaction doesn’t follow the emotion, it is the emotion.
Common sense says we lose our fortune, are sorry, and weep; we meet a bear, are frightened and run; we are insulted by a rival, are angry and strike, afraid because we tremble.. the more rational statement is that we feel sorry because we cry, angry because we strike, afraid because we tremble. Quite literally when James talked about our gut remote reaction, they mean it.
The idea that our emotions may be controllable started to emerge in the theory developed by Stanley Schacher and Jerome Singer in the early 1960s. In their classic psychology experiment, they led college students to believe that they were receiving a trial dose of a vitamin. In fact the experimenters injected the students with epinephrine
The students watched a “confederate” (another student acting our experimental instructions) who became either angry or euphoric while completing a set of questionnaires. The results showed that the combination of arousal ( caused by the epinephrine ) and contact of the Confederate’s behavior influenced the emotional state of the experimental subject.
This implies that your emotions are influenced by what’s going on in the people around you and which emotions they’re expressing. If you’ve ever felt moved to cry at the wedding of people you don’t know very well because everyone around you is weeping into their tissues, you know how these feelings can catch on.
Your emotions don’t have to fall prey to those being expressed by the people around you, though. Our thoughts alone can produce our emotions.
Released individuals have dysfunctional attitudes and negatively framed automatic thoughts are the root of people’s feelings of sadness. A dysfunctional attitude is a way of viewing the world that focuses on the negative and unrealistic aspects of your experiences. A negatively framed automatic thought is an unconscious belief that focuses on your weakness rather than your strengths. Together dysfunctional attitudes and automatic thoughts create a negative triad consisting of a negative view of yourself, your world, and your future.
Even though your not clear clinically depressed, you can learn to understand your emotions. For instance sadness is caused by the believe that you’ve lost or will lose something important to you, anger is caused by the belief that someone has taken something away from you, and anxiety is based on the belief that something bad will happen to you. Unrealistically distorting your experience produces these thoughts, which lead to your negative emotions.