Through years of studying emotions, Dr. Robert Plutchik, an American psychologist, proposed that there are eight primary emotions that serve as the foundation for all others: joy, sadness, acceptance, disgust, fear, anger, surprise and anticipation. (Pollack, 2016)
This means that, while it’s impossible to fully understand all 34,000 distinguishable emotions, learning how to accurately identify how each of the primary emotions is expressed within you can be empowering. It’s especially useful for moments of intense feelings when the mind is unable to remain objective as it operates from its older compartments that deal with the fight or flight response. (Watkins, 2014)
When our emotions are activated, they are done so to elicit one of the survival behaviors. Of course, all of this happens on a subconscious level.
As Dr. Watkins explained, most individuals stay stuck in the consciousness state of a nine-year-old, due to the set of rules that the educational system, the society, and the corporate world impose.
So it’s not until a crisis enters our lives or another intense event, that we start asking more questions about the role we play in the world, and start paying attention to the emotions, and the messages they send to self and others.
Expanding your knowledge of all the emotions available to you can enable you to gain emotional intelligence, which allows you to understand yourself better and others around you.
This video explains why trying to suppress or ignore emotions can lead to many more problems than solutions. While it’s true that there are more negative emotions (shame, fear, sadness, anger, disgust) than positive ones (happiness, surprise/interest,) both are vital for our survival.
That’s because our real emotions help us get what we really want. And by listening to the emotions we’ve been carrying around, but have been ignoring, we can release the stagnant ones and make room for new ones.
Does the Emotion Wheel help you decipher what you’re feeling? How do you think this would help your children process their feelings?
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