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How many emotions can you name? (DW#453)

emotions self awareness Sep 19, 2018

In 1972, psychologist Paul Eckman suggested that there are six basic emotions that are universal throughout human cultures: fear, disgust, anger, surprise, happiness, and sadness. 

In 1999, he expanded this list to include a number of other basic emotions, including embarrassment, excitement, contempt, shame, pride, satisfaction, and amusement. 

But a new study out of UC Berkley professor Dacher Keltner now suggests that there are at least 27 distinct emotions—and they are intimately connected with each other. 

The study followed a demographically diverse group of 853 men and women who went online to view a random sampling of silent five- to 10-second videos intended to evoke a broad range of emotions. Keltner and his colleagues at UC Berkeley found that 27 distinct dimensions, not six, were necessary to account for the way these hundreds of people reliably reported feeling in response to these videos. 

The researchers also found that emotional experiences...

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The three components of emotions (DW#452)

emotions self awareness Sep 18, 2018

When we think of emotions, most of us only focus on how they "feel" but this is only part of the picture.

Psychologists explain that each emotional experience has three components. Understanding these three components of our emotional experiences is an important step in helping us manage strong emotions. 

Here are the three components:

1)    The Feeling/Physical Component: "How I feel in my body"
Emotions manifest in internal sensations in our bodies which can include heart palpitations, stomach distress, sweating, hot or cold flushes, shortness of breathe, fatigue, muscle tension or increased energy.

2)    The Thinking/Cognitive Component: "What I say to myself"
How we interpret events and experiences and the self talk that we engage in greatly impact what we end up feeling and doing. If someone cuts us off on the highway, for example, what we tell ourselves about the other driver will make us feel either anger or sympathy for...

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A brief history of emotions (DW#451)

emotions self awareness Sep 17, 2018

Although emotions are as old as human beings themselves, it is only fairly recently that the word "emotion" has become of our everyday language.

The word "emotion" comes from Latin and French emovere meaning to "stir up, to move, to agitate". Some scholars would even define the term as "to suffer an emotion", which itself points to the disdain with which emotions have been viewed. 

The term emotion was introduced into academic discussion as a catch-all term for passions, sentiments and affections. It was coined in the early 1800s by Thomas Brown and it is around the 1830s that the modern concept of emotion first emerged. "No one felt emotions before about 1830. Instead they felt other things - "passions", "accidents of the soul", "moral sentiments" - and explained them very differently from how we understand emotions today.

Historically, thinkers in the West have contrasted the ‘animal’ passions with calm and "God-like reason". Plato, for example,...

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Why focus on emotions? (DW#450)

emotions feelings opinon Sep 14, 2018

How are you feeling today? If you are feeling good, happy, confident it is likely that you feel ready to take on the world. You feel like nothing can get in your way. You are productive and energetic. 

If on the other hand, you are having a bad day, feeling sad, anxious or upset for any reason, you may be lacking this confidence and energy. 

If you are angry, and you end up losing control, your emotions can get the best of you and cause you to act in ways that you later regret. 

So let’s be honest: how we are feeling on a day to day basis impacts how much we enjoy life and how productive we are. 

But emotions do much more than that. 

Here are some reasons, we need to become smarter about our own emotional state: 

1)   Emotions motivate us to act. The word emotion itself comes from a word which means to move – in other words emotions cause us to take action
2)   Because they motivate us to act, they predict...

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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. 

...

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I'm sorry (DW#445)

No matter what we know and how much we practice we are likely to mess up with our loved ones. Quite often. And this is why today’s phrase is so important. 

Apologizing for causing hurt and pain to our loved ones is an essential skill in relationships. 

There are so many wrong ways to apologize, as we have talked about before. 

Here is what a good apology contains:

1.   An expression of regret

2.   An acknowledgement of responsibility

3.   A declaration of repentance

4.   An offer of repair

5.   A request for forgiveness


Here is an example:
I am so very sorry that I forgot that there was a family gathering at your cousin’s place. I should have put it on the calendar when you first told me about it. I will make sure to put the other family events on there so that this does not happen again. Would you like me to call him and explain what happened? And maybe we can drop in on them this...

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I disagree (DW#440)

This one may seem counter-intuitive but families that have regular disagreements or arguments may be happier and healthier than those that never disagree because the families that express themselves are not keeping their feelings bottled up and brewing resentment inside. 

Keeping the peace by avoiding conflict and not expressing needs and opinions may be an okay short term strategy but it is an awful long term strategy. Unless you are a truly enlightened being, you have things that bother you and things that you need to express that may upset others in the short term but that will be beneficial for your relationship in the long run. Going long periods of time not addressing issues that bother you or others in the family will cause emotional distance, resentment and hurt.

So an important relationship skill is to speak up (respectfully and without blame) when you do disagree with another person.  When people have the emotional safety to speak up and be heard, everyone in the...

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I feel... (DW#435)

Many of us have been trained to deny, suppress or hide feelings from others, and sometimes even from ourselves. Suppressing and hiding feelings is almost guaranteed to result in personal distress, and in emotional distance and detachment in relationships as opposed to connection. 

And so it is a good idea to practice emotional literacy – that is to get in touch with what we are feeling – and then to share those feelings with our loved ones to build connection and intimacy. 

The first step to sharing feelings is, of course, to recognize and label the feeling itself. 

Once we recognize how we are feeling, sharing those feelings is quite simple, really. It begins with two short words: "I feel….". 

I feel happy.
I feel neglected.
I feel respected.
I feel grateful.
I feel distraught.

Notice that there is no "I feel that  . . .". The word "that" usually indicates that what will follow is going to be a thought, not a feeling. 

For...

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Can you grow comfortably? (DW#390)

When we are talking about making changes, we need to confront the reality that it will be uncomfortable. Our habits and routines may feel familiar and comfortable even if they do not work for usor lead us where we want to go. If we want to make positive changes in our lives however, we need to let go of the familiar and get comfortable with not being comfortable for the moment. 

When I want to retreat towards safety rather than moving forward towards growth, I remind myself that ships are safe in harbour but that is not what ships are built for

So let us leave our safe harbours and venture out to the scary but exciting open sea. Let us be brave enough to bear the discomfort of stretching ourselves to discover the limits of our own potential. 

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What’s your excuse? (DW#389)

Can you think of at least one area in your life where there is room for growth and where you know you need to make changes but you haven’t made any progress yet?

In The 15 invaluable Laws of Growth John Maxwell outlines some gaps and limiting beliefs that keep us stuck in unhealthy ways and stop us from reaching our full potential.

Here are the 7 "gaps" that he identifies:

The Assumption Gap—I assume that I will automatically grow. 
The Knowledge Gap—I don’t know how to grow.
The Timing Gap—It’s not the right time to begin.
The Mistake Gap—I’m afraid of making mistakes. 
The Perfection Gap—I have to find the best way before I start. 
The Inspiration Gap—I don’t feel like doing it.
The Comparison Gap—Others are better than I am.
The Expectation Gap—I thought it would be easier than this. 

You know the domains and growth areas that we identified a couple of days ago? Just go...

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