Why are Emotions Important?
The way we think and act can be influenced by our emotions. Throughout the day, the emotions we feel can prompt action and influence even the smallest of decisions. There are short-lived emotions like a moment of annoyance at a colleague, or long-lasting emotions such as enduring sadness over the demise of a close one.
Is there a way to identify our emotions or understand how they were triggered?
Yes! The Emotion Wheel.
Created by Robert Plutchik, this psychological tool helps us in identifying our complex emotions and so we can easily gain clarity, understand and label those emotions.
The 8 Core Emotions
Combination Of Core Emotions
As two primary colors are mixed to form secondary colors, a secondary emotion is created by combining two primary emotions. When blue (primary colour) and yellow (primary colour) are combined, green (secondary colour) comes about.
Below are some examples of secondary emotions that arise from two primary emotions.
- Anger + Anticipation = Aggressiveness
- Sadness + Disgust= Remorse
- Surprise + Sadness= Disapproval
- Anticipation + Joy= Optimism
- Disgust + Anger= Contempt
- Fear + Surprise= Awe
- Joy + Trust= Love
- Trust + Fear= Submission
Emotions are made up of three components
An understanding of emotions requires understanding of these three crucial components.
Each of these contribute in the function and purpose of our emotional responses.
Our experience of the emotion
How our brain reacts to the emotion
Our behavior in response to the emotion
Can our emotions motivate our actions?
Say for example if a person is to appear for a nerve-wracking job interview, they might feel a lot of anxiety about whether they will perform well. Because of these emotional responses, they might research and prepare well, take mock interviews etc. Due to the emotion they experienced, they were motivated to take action and improve their chances of getting selected.
Sometimes, we also tend to take particular actions to ensure we experience positive emotions and minimize the possibility of negative emotions. Social activities and hobbies that make us feel content, happy, and excited are some examples of things we might pursue for a sense of fulfillment and happiness. In contrast, we dodge or avoid situations, activities and environments that could lead to boredom, sadness, or anxiety.
Our emotions play an important role in our decision-making
Decisions we make are heavily influenced by our emotions whether it’s the shirt you choose to wear for work, the lunch you buy from the cafeteria or the way you interact with people throughout the day. Emotions control every aspect of our day.
Certain types of brain damage affect the person’s ability to experience emotions and can negatively impact good decision-making abilities as well. Emotions play a significant role in making decisions, even when we believe that logic and rationality guide our actions. It has proven that our emotional intelligence plays a crucial role in decision-making, as well as our ability to understand and manage emotions.
Understanding our emotions helps others understand ourselves
Interacting with others requires that we give clues to our feelings so they can understand where we are coming from. Depending on the emotions we are experiencing, we may express these cues through body language, including facial expressions.
In some situations, it may be necessary to express ourselves directly. Whenever we speak to a friend or family member about our feelings, whether happy, sad, excited, or scared — it provides them with information they can use in order to take action.
Emotions help us understand others
Much like how we can learn valuable information from our own emotions, observing the emotions of those around us also provides valuable social information. As social communication plays such an important role in our daily lives, it is essential for us to be able to read and respond to others’ emotions.
Our ability to respond appropriately and build meaningful relationships with friends, family and loved ones is enhanced through this.
It also enables us to communicate effectively in several social settings, whether it is dealing with an angry customer or managing a hot-headed supervisor at work.
The emotions we experience serve many purposes. We experience emotions in many ways; they can be powerful, fleeting, persistent, complex, even life-changing. Emotions can inspire us to take certain actions. In order to interact meaningfully in the social sphere, emotions provide us with the tools and resources we need.