Emotional intelligence is in fashion and it is one of the topics that comes up most often and we repeat it in the different areas in which we develop to talk about people’s behavior. However, we know very little about emotions.
Emotions greatly influence our behavior, our thinking, our well-being and our emotional health. An important part of working on our personal growth is learning to differentiate the types of emotions we have and identify them..
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What are emotions?
We all think we know what emotions are due to the fact that we ourselves are the ones who constantly experience them, however, defining emotions and types of emotions is more complicated than we think.
The R.A.E. defines emotions as “intense and passing mood alterations, pleasant or painful, accompanied by a certain somatic commotion”. Likewise, and independently of the psychological branch from which we start, we agree that emotions are experiences that we have in a conscious way and that they are somewhat brief in which we have an intense mental activity and experience pleasure or displeasure.
While there are many theories there are many theories about emotionsWe now also agree that the different types of emotions arise in the limbic system, that network of neurons in the brain that regulates our physiological responses to stimuli, that is, our instinct. There, these complex states originate from three elements:
PhysiologicalThis is the first physical reaction we have to stimuli involuntarily, for example, when our breathing quickens, our heart rate accelerates, sweating, hormonal changes, etc.
CognitiveThis element processes the types of emotions at a conscious and unconscious level as if it were a kind of evaluation of the stimuli, thus influencing our subjective experience.
BehavioralThis element is the one that generates a change in our behavior and expresses from this change, for example the gestures of our face, the postures that our body takes, etc.
Now then, the description of what emotions are may confuse you a little with feelings, but you have to know that emotions and feelings are different; in fact feelings come after emotions as a subjective experience about that emotion that we have felt.
- Related article: “The 17 types of feelings (that a person can experience)”.
The 6 types of emotions
As well as there are different theories and studies on the emotionsThere are also about the types of emotions and how to classify them, some being more complex than others and none completely definitive.
However, we want to present you with a useful classification so that you can learn to better identify the types of emotions we experience.
1. Primary, basic or innate emotions
These are the basic or innate types of emotions that we have in response to a stimulus, they are common to all human beings and all of them are adaptive processes. These types of emotions are 6: sadness, happiness, fear, surprise, disgust and anger.although recently there is a study that says that there are only 4 primary emotions.
Sadness is a type of negative emotion in which we make an evaluation process about something that has happened; that something is the loss or failure of something that is important to us. This loss or failure can be real or probable and permanent or temporary.
Something very interesting about sadness as an emotion is that we can also experience it if it is someone important to us who is going through that loss or failure. In addition, sadness can be in our present as a reflection of past memories or anticipation of what we believe will be the future.
1.2. Happiness or joy
Happiness or joy is an innate positive emotion that we experience from birth and that as we grow up becomes a great source of motivation. This emotion is very useful in the early years to strengthen the bond between parent and child, a fundamental basis for our survival.
Fear is one of the emotions that has aroused most interest in research on human emotions. in research on human emotions. It is the emotion we experience when we are faced with what we consider to be a real danger and our physical or mental well-being is threatened, so our body reacts and prepares us to face or flee from that danger.
You should know that not all people experience fear in the same way and it depends on each one of us what we consider danger or threat to us.
Surprise is a neutral type of emotion, as it has neither a positive nor a negative connotation in itself. It is It is what we experience when something happens totally unexpectedly, i.e. when unforeseen stimuli appear.that is, when unforeseen stimuli appear.
Being unexpected, our organism feels that it has failed in its attempt to predict the outside world, so it tries to explain this unexpected stimulus to itself in order to determine whether it is an opportunity or whether this event is a threat.
Disgust is the emotion that we experience when something generates disgust in us.It is a defense mechanism that we have to avoid or reject that stimulus. It is a defense mechanism that we have to protect our body, hence nausea is often one of the responses.
The last of the basic types of emotions is anger and it arises as a self-protection mechanism when we feel offended by other people, mistreated or when we see that a person important to us is offended, generating an affective state of indignation, anger, frustration and rage. an affective state of indignation, anger, frustration and rage..
2. Secondary emotions
The types of secondary emotions are the group of emotions that happen or originate after the basic ones and that are generated by learned social and moral norms. It is for example, when we experience the innate emotion in the face of some stimulus, such as fear, and immediately afterwardssuch as fear, and immediately afterwards we experience secondary emotions such as anger or threat.
3. Positive emotions
Here we include those emotions that when we experience them have a positive influence on our behavior and well-being, which is why they are also known as healthy emotions. are also known as healthy emotions. Our way of thinking and acting improves when we experience joy as an emotion, for example.
4. Negative emotions
Contrary to the positive type of emotions, when we experience negative emotions, they negatively affect our well-being and behavior. negatively affect our well-being and behavior. They are also called toxic emotions and usually when we experience them, they cause us to want to avoid or avoid them. Fear and sadness are negative emotions, however they are necessary for our learning and growth process because they teach us about consequences.
5. Ambiguous emotions
Surprise is an ambiguous emotion because it is totally neutral in itself and does not make us feel good or bad, that is why it is called ambiguous emotions. is called ambiguous emotions..
6. Social emotions
These are those types of emotions that we experience due to the presence of another person. necessarily, otherwise they do not arise, so we are not talking about learned cultural emotions. For example, gratitude, admiration or revenge are emotions that arise with respect to someone else.
- Related article: “10 traits and habits of positive people.”