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REVIEW: “Feelings Aren’t Facts”
Read article at ConneXions – food for thought, & decide if you agree or not
• The English word emotion (Es) is from the French émouvoir, from the Latin emovere, where e- means ‘out’, & movere means ‘move’, as in emit & emote
• At it’s most basic: Es are pure mental & spiritual energy from the core of our being that makes us all one, where we meet & overlap as human beings
• Es are the part of our consciousness that involves feeling / sensibility: “The very essence of literature is the war between emotion & intellect” Isaac B. Singer
• E. is a particular mental state formed spontaneously rather than by conscious effort, often accompanied by physiological changes
• Es are short-lived psycho-physiological phenomena that represent efficient patterns of adaptation to environmental demands (Levenson, ‘94)
• Es are the result of combining external experience, brain chemicals, our thought process & the actions we choose – based on our native self, our personal history & the cultural rules & values we grew up with
• Es can be used to motivate us to actions needed to protect ourselves, to connect & to grow
• Our Es enliven those actions, which would otherwise be rigid or boring
• From Evolutionary Psychology – Emotions developed to coordinate our many adaptive needs so we can function more efficiently, without those needs being in conflict or demanding attention – all at the same time (food, shelter, reproduction, safety, sleep, communication….)
Es are considered an overriding program that temporarily deactivates, activates or modifies particular needs, depending on the present situation – where one has to be deactivated & another activated – so we can keep functioning properly (sleep vs go to work, stay connected vs withdraw from danger, achievement vs privacy…..)
• From Affective NeuroScience (en.wikipedia)
Affect is an encompassing term, used mainly in psychology to describe emotion, feelings & moods, even though it’s more commonly used to mean Emotion
Feelings are our subjective impressions of emotions, private to the person experiencing them – based on perspective, beliefs and desires. A general state of consciousness independent of physical sensations, thoughts….
Moods are diffuse affects, generally lasting much longer than individual Es, but less intensely. They represent an overall tone or general attitude that effects one’s outlook on everything, for as long as the E lasts
• K. R. Scherer in “What are emotions? And how can they be measured?” (2005) suggest 5 crucial elements:
– Action tendencies: as motivational energy to prepare & direct motor responses – Es as the push to act in some way
– Bodily symptoms: physical aspect of an emotional experience, generated in the gut, but also experienced in other body parts
EXP: FEAR can be felt as tightening of the chest, stomach, throat, weakness in the knees…. & in panic attacks – as temporary blindness, inability to think, ‘clutched heart’, trouble breathing….
– Cognitive appraisal: Es provide an evaluation of events & objects. It’s the Mental component – what we think / believe about something, either healthy or unhealthy
– Expression: facial & vocal output almost always going with an emotional state, communicates reaction to & intention of actions – unless using Botox! 🙂
– Feelings: the person’s subjective experience of their emotional state, once it has occurred
MOST Es: In a psychological healthy state, emotions usually come & go rather quickly. We can have several, even conflicting Es, at the same time – about a specific person or situation.
They’re brief because they’re situation-specific, & we’re not holding on to a negative mental interpretation of what’s being felt (not judging or being afraid of Es) (More…..)
SOME Es: There are some healthy long-term ‘states’ like love, loyalty, faith…. that can last years or a life-time, even with ups & downs, depending on the individual &/or the relationship
ACoA Es : Once triggered, our E seem to go on forever! because we’re usually not experiencing current ones, but rather taping into the unprocessed enormous well of accumulated childhood pain.
Interesting : A pioneering study into why some emotions last much longer than others suggest that – compared to being ashamed or disgusted (30 min), guilty (3.5 hrs), or even bored (about 2 hrs), sadness outlasts them all (up to 120 hours!) The next longest was anger, about 6o hrs.!
NEXT: What about Es? (Part 2)