We are all effected by our emotions and it is our emotions that effect how we interact with others, whether we like it or not. There are times when this can be an advantage, however there will be times when we feel that this control is taking over our lives. It is out emotions that control the way that we see things around us. Emotions can change the way that we see what is happening around us. They have the power to alter the choices that we make and can manipulate the things that we do.
If you read articles around the internet you will be told that there are six, eight, ten, twelve even thirty different emotions that we feel. There is no wonder that we can struggle to understand our emotions, when the experts cannot even come to an agreement on the number of emotions that we experience in our lives.
The first is from psychologist Paul Eckman who, in the 1970’s, identified that there are six basic categories of emotion that we feel. These basic categories of emotion include happiness, sadness, disgust, fear, surprise, and anger.
The reason that I found this theory helpful was the simplicity of it. Looking at six basic emotion has got to be easier that trying to think that we are going to be experiencing thirty different emotions, especially when it is possible to experience more than one emotion at the same time.
It is also worth noting here that although Paul Eckman did start off with six basic emotions, he did expand on his list of, happiness, sadness, disgust, fear, surprise, and anger to also include other emotions. His list then also included pride, shame, embarrassment, and excitement.
While may psychologists seemed happy to work at creating lists of emotions Robert Plutchik created a wheel, like a colour wheel, to explain not only the different emotions but also the severity of the emotions and their effect on other emotions.
Just like colours we can have mixed emotions which in turn will form different feelings and reactions from each of us. It also captures the essence that what we are felling cannot be put into a single box or categorised from a list. Our emotions and feelings are as individual as we are, so the thought that each of us will be able to create our own colours and shades to eventually paint a beautiful image is one that appeals to my creative side.
For this article though I want to concentrate on the six basic emotions originally found by Paul Eckman. If you are working through my project A Portrait Of Myself I hope that these six basic emotions will give you an idea for a place to start from.
Everyone seems to strive for happiness. Happiness is an emotion that brings with it some pleasant feelings which allow us to be content, grateful, and satisfied. Happiness brings joy and can be beneficial for our wellbeing.
Facial Expressions: smiling
Body Language: relaxed stance
We can usually tell when someone is feeling sad, or people can tell that about us. Often defined as one of the more transparent of the emotions sadness is also associated with feelings of grief or hopelessness. Sadness can also leave us feeling disinterested or with a dampened mood.
Facial Expressions: crying
Body Language: withdrawn or ‘slumped’
Fear is a powerful emotion that is also a major part of our survival instinct. Fear tends to ‘kick in’ when we experience so sort of danger. Fear triggers what is commonly known as our ‘fight or flight’ response. This emotion prepares us for what may happen getting us ready to run from danger or to stand and fight.
Facial Expressions: wide eyes
Body Language: tense ready to run or fight
This emotion and sense of revulsion can come for many different things, it could be the way something tastes or smells, it could be the sight of something or the way that a person or situation makes you feel.
Facial Expressions: retching
Body Language: turning away
Anger is another one of the powerful emotions that we face. Anger creates feelings of hostility, frustration and being antagonistic towards other people.
Often thought of as a negative emotion anger can also be constructive under the right circumstances. Anger can motivate us against situations and enable us to clarify our needs.
Facial Expressions: shouting
Body language: a strong stance
Surprise is possibly the shortest lived emotions. It is usually associated with being startled or shocked by something unexpected happening around us. Surprise is also one of the emotions that can be described as being both positive and negative.
Facial Expressions: raising the brows, widening the eyes, and opening the mouth
Body Language: jumping back
If you are working through your own A Portrait Of Myself project understanding these emotions may be helpful with your preparation and help you get going that little bit quicker.