What Are Emotions

What are Emotions

Emotions according to Wikipedia are mental and physiological states associated with a wide variety of feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Emotions are a prime determinant of the sense of subjective well-being and appears to play a central role in many human activities.[1]

William James stated that emotions are caused by our interpretations of events that trigger a physiological reaction. [2]

Three elements of Emotions

  1. The source: an emotion comes from within rather than from observation.
  2. A response: the body responds to the emotion with feelings.
  3. The expression: how we express and emotion.

An emotion is an interpretation of an event and the feelings are the responses to that emotion. Our emotions control how we feel , our behaviors, thoughts and affect our bodies.

Steps for Anger Management

In present of an event (my mother is screaming at me), we interpret the situation with feelings according to a belief ( I’ll never do it right or other beleif). We feel an emotion (frustration, anxiety , anger, etc) that is the feeling we experience from the interpretation. Then we take action (behavior) based on our beliefs and feelings. Our motivation to take action is influenced by them. We experience the emotion in our bodies ( general tension, stomach ache, head ache ,etc).

We usually repress our emotions because in general we had been told that they are bad and we have to deny them together with our feelings. These repressed emotions and feelings stay in our bodies until we learn to release them. Buried emotions create fatigue and depression. Affect our relationships and can cause serious illness. If we don’t release our past emotions, our reactions to the present moment will be reactions from past events brought to the present.

Ways to avoid feeling Emotions [3]

  1. Overeating . Compulsive overeaters feel better when they eat denying their emotional pain.
  2. Pretending that something never happened. Ignoring painful events so that you might feel that everything is under control.
  3. Excessive drinking of alcohol. Excessive drinking can make you feel to talk more , it can make you feel with courage and so on.
  4. Drugs can make you to feel free denying what you feel from painful experiences.
  5. Tranquillizers make you are feeling more bearable.
  6. Exercising compulsively is a distraction to avoid feeling.
  7. Always busy so you can’t feel, it is a way to get distracted .
  8. Intellectualizing and analyzing a way to numb what a person feel. Thinking too much and rationalizing is an strategy to avoid feelings.
  9. Excessive TV another way a person can avoid feeling.

There are more ways we avoid our feelings. We have to understand that the emotions are not good not bad and learn ways to acknowledge them , feel them and release the negative emotions that are not serving us.

Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think



1 . Wikipedia.org. Emotion. Retrieved July, 2008, from https://schools-wikipedia.org/wp/e/Emotion.htm.
2 .James, William. (1884). What is an emotion? Mind, 9, 188-205.
3 . Spiritual.com.au. “Emotions Pt2 – How we repress our emotions”. Retrieved July, 2010, from https://www.spiritual.com.au/2011/07/emotions-pt-2-how-we-repress-emotions/