The function of emotions (DW#449)

emotions opinon Sep 13, 2018

Given that sometimes emotions get the better of us, or even make us miserable, have you ever wondered why are we created with emotions? I mean, if we are to suppress and control them (more on that in the coming days), what’s the purpose anyway?

So here are only a few reasons why human beings need emotions:

1)   Emotions help us learn from our memories 
When we go experiences in life, these experiences become part of our memory bank. However, when our brain stores experiences, it does just not collect facts. Our brain is designed to also record the feelings that go with these experiences and these feelings help us to learn from our experiences. 
Let’s take a really simple example: if we touch a hot stove, we will experience intense pain. The thought of touching another hot stove in the future will carry with it the memory of that searing pain. Thus our emotional memories from this experience will keep us from getting hurt again. 

2)   Emotions also help us interpret the feelings of others, which can help in predict their actions. 
If we are faced with an angry person, for example, we can judge their emotional state from their body language – clenched fist, loud voice – and protect ourselves accordingly.
Similarly, if we meet someone who is sending loving vibes, our brain will go into approach mode, signal safety, and we are more likely to befriend them

3)   Emotions give us the drive to act. 
We need them to react quickly to a situation. If we are faced with someone who is a threat, we need the fear to prepare us to fight or flee. When people with significant mental health issues, take medication to suppress emotions for example, they may also lose the drive to act.

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