Emotions relate to how we feel, lasting for relatively short durations, usually minutes to hours. If lasting for longer periods – hours or perhaps days-we call them moods. Some experts join emotions and moods together , calling them feelings, but I prefer to keep them separate as it reduces confusion. Emotions can be positive or negative and healthy or unhealthy.
Positive emotions include joy, happiness, pleasure, love, awe , trust, contentment and peacefulness . Negative emotions include anger, fear , guilt, shame , hurt , jealousy. emotional pain, sadness , and loss. Healthy negative emotions include grief and loss, sadness and disappointment, annoyance , irritation, regret, and remorse. Unhealthy negative emotions include anxiety, depression , anger/rage, emotional pain , shame , guilt , jealousy , envy and hurt.
Emotions are often associated with physical symptoms-such as fear with palpitations , dry mouth, and difficulty deep breaths, frustration with clenching of muscles or tension headaches.
Just because emotions are negative or unhealthy does not mean the person experiencing them is distressed or unwell.
Later, we will examine in more detail the link between our emotions , thoughts and behaviours.
Identifying your emotions
For decades, I have marvelled at how difficult it can sometimes be to identify our emotions. I frequently ask patients, ‘How did this event make you feel?’, to be met with an uncomfortable silence. We are often unsure as to how feel. There are many reasons for this difficulty. Although emotions rule our lives , we often feel strangely uncomfortable reflecting on or discussing them. Men, especially , struggle to identify or accept their emotions.
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