When we listen to triggers of body and mind for emotions, we can manage them more effectively.
The quality of our emotions determines our success. But how do we determine the quality of our emotions? Does quantity matter?
Our lives revolve around emotions. They make us human.
Depending on who you ask, there are around six main emotions and around 30 extended ones.
There is a massive body of knowledge about emotions. I’ve come across records as old as the
4th century B.C. You may have heard that Aristotle tried to identify the number of emotions that people experience. At that time, he came up with 14 emotions.
Nowadays, emotions are researched in scientific settings in psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience, social science, and even in business, leadership, and economics.
Emotions have a broad spectrum from the most pleasurable to the most undesirable ones.
Experiencing all emotions are believed to be healthy. And suppressing emotions are considered the most dangerous situation and is believed to cause many ailments.
Emotions affect us in all walks of life, including our personal life, relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and community members. They are generated in the body and mind. Our thoughts trigger emotions. So do reactions and interactions in our bodies.
A balanced emotional state is required for a satisfying life.
We are usually advised to experience positive emotions. However, negative emotions also play an important role in our survival. Some negative emotions, if managed well, can even help us thrive in our relationships with others and in reaching our professional goals.
We know that an excessive amount of negative emotions can be destructive. They break the natural flow and balance of our life, and our mental and physical energy.
The crucial question is how we can deal with emotions optimally.
We all need emotional intelligence to some extent. This includes understanding our own emotions and the emotions of other people.
Many studies demonstrate that emotionally intelligent people are happier and more successful in life. They can build better relationships with others, including their partners, children, parents, colleagues, community members, and strangers.
Emotional intelligence is the foundation to be able to manage our emotions. However, we need more beyond intelligence. Without experience, intelligence does not mean much. Practising our intelligence makes the real difference.
I call this process “emotional maturity”. After gaining intelligence, we need to deal with emotions systematically, mindfully, and with awareness. When we use the term mindfully, thoughts and cognition come into the equation.
As mentioned before, thoughts can create emotions very fast. Our cognitive system plays an important role in managing emotions. Different parts of the brain create emotions, but we manage them through our cortex, our thinking brain. The critical point is reasoning.
Our cognitive part of the brain can also help us integrate our emotions into our capabilities via logic, memory, attention, focus, and task switching.
Not only can thoughts create emotions, but also emotions can trigger new thoughts. This is like a vicious cycle. If thoughts and emotions are not managed properly, they can overwhelm us and can even ruin our lives.
Most of our decisions are based on emotions. We know that emotional decisions can be faulty unless they are filtered with logic and reasoning.
Some emotions come from our primitive brain. We cannot make sense of them. Let’s take infatuation. We may feel a strong attraction towards a person even if our logic does not see the greatness. Dealing with these types of emotions can be very challenging.
When we integrate emotions with the cognitive part and consistently observe and assess emotions with reasoning, we may overcome some challenges. The third part of the integration is including the position of the body.
Let me give you an example of bodily emotions. The feeling of hunger comes from the hormonal system of the body. Even very self-disciplined people cannot cope with the stimulus of real hunger. It creates multiple emotions such as sadness, anxiety, expectation, and joy. They all get mixed up, and we only feel hunger.
In this case, apart from our cognitive system, we also need to be aware of the needs of our body and assess these emotions by thinking of the position of the body. Whatever amount of cognitive power we put, our cognitive system cannot deal with it if the body wants something it needs.
Emotions are very complex. There is not a straightforward formula to deal with emotions. They also vary from person to person. Some of us can manage them more efficiently. However, if we can use our cognitive system aligned with the body's requirements, we can be in a better position to handle our emotions.
We can gain emotional maturity by starting with fundamental emotional intelligence and increasing our experience by trial and error. This hard-earned capability can help us live a more satisfactory life.
Thank you for reading my perspectives.