What is an Emotion?
Everyone, regardless of their level of education, origin, place of employment or relationship status, is measured daily with many different emotions. They accompany every step of the way, giving a kind of “coloration” to the situations with which it comes into contact. It would seem that the word “emotion” is only anger, surprise, disgust, fear, happiness and sadness. However, the matter is a bit more complicated, because it is assumed that there are many more emotions. The list of emotions, feelings and emotional states is very long. It contains the whole spectrum of possibilities of how you can feel.
Very common is to distinguish between positive and negative emotions, whether feeling them is pleasant or unpleasant. One might think that those with a negative color should not occur because their presence is not conducive to well-being. However, it is worth thinking about why emotions are used at all? First of all, they help in assessing the situation, let you know whether it is worth undertaking specific actions in the future, or rather avoid it. They also allow you to evaluate people you meet (if you can trust them) as well as your own behavior. Emotion is therefore a message that allows you to better understand yourself and the surrounding world and determines future behavior or decisions. In this understanding, it can be seen that emotions also help us in our development, help us build experience that can be used in the future. Assuming that someone does not know their emotions, i.e. can not name or recognize them, they will have difficulty in adopting the perspective of another person. It will not be an easy task to decipher what the interlocutor feels during the conversation, or to enter into a relationship with him.
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At the end of the last century, psychologist Daniel Goleman questioned the opinion that the intelligence quotient (IQ; so called Academic intelligence) is crucial in life, because he pointed to the value of emotional intelligence, which has an impact on how we use the acquired knowledge and skills. It is assumed that emotional intelligence consists of five components:
– self-awareness, i.e. perception of one’s own states of mind, i.e. emotions and ideas, knowledge of one’s own preferences, self-esteem;
– self-regulation, i.e. the ability to control one’s own internal states, flexibility in adapting to changes, self-control, self-discipline;
– motivation, which consists of striving for achievement, commitment;
– empathy, i.e. understanding other people, empathizing with their emotional states, becoming aware of the feelings, needs or anxieties of the people being observed;
– social skills, which include various types of abilities based on influencing other people, creating relationships, cooperation, teamwork, and mitigation of conflicts.
Dealing with emotions
The ability to name your feelings is the key to understanding yourself. The statement, for example: “I’m angry because I was cheated” or “I’m happy today because I met an old friend”, is a message for us what is happening with us at the moment. Observing one’s own emotions that arise as a result of a thought or situation allows them to be understood and then to express and release them. There are situations when you get the impression that you have no influence on what is happening, that the emerging feeling is independent of your own will. This is quite often the case with negative feelings, such as sadness, depression, and discouragement. The longer they persist, the more difficult it may be to experience them. Not taking any action to discharge emotions increases the feeling of not coping with them, feeling burdened, helpless.
Often such situations require the help of a specialist. During the therapy sessions, the psychologist helps to get used to the accompanying emotions. Together with the patient he looks for a way to deal with them and to express them in the right way. He supports in finding answers to the questions: Why do I feel this way? What does this feeling want to tell me? What should I do to deal with it? The psychologist also helps to develop ways of dealing with emotions that can be used in the future.
Author: Kamila Jakubiak-Leńczuk