WHAT AM I FEELING?
Don’t ask – I don’t know!
PREVIOUS: “What others think of me is none of my business’
REVIEW: “Feelings Aren’t Facts”
Read article at ConneXions – food for thought, & decide what you agree or not
• The English word emotion (Es) is from the French émouvoir, from the Latin emovere, where e- means ‘out’ and movere means ‘move’, as in emit & emote
• At it’s most basic: Es are pure mental & spiritual energy coming from the core of our being that makes us all one, where we meet and 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 and intellect” Isaac B. Singer
• Emotion 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 as a way 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 seen as an overriding program that temporarily deactivates, activates or modifies particular needs, depending on the situation we are facing at the moment, where one has to be deactivated & another activated so we can keep functioning properly (to sleep vs go to work, stay connected vs withdraw from danger, achievement vs privacy, etc.)
• From Affective NeuroScience (en.wikipedia)
Affect is an encompassing term, used (mainly in psychology) to describe the topics of emotion, feelings, and moods together, even though it is commonly used interchangeably with emotion
Feelings are subjective representations 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 affective states that generally last much longer than specific emotions but are usually less intense. They represent a prevailing emotional tone or general attitude which effects ones outlook on everything for as long as they last
• From K. R. Scherer in “What are emotions? And how can they be measured?” (2005) there are 5 crucial elements of Es:
– Action tendencies: a motivational component for the preparation and direction of motor responses – emotion as the push to act in some way
– Bodily symptoms: the physiological component of emotional experience, generated in the gut, but can be experienced in various areas.
EXP: FEAR can be felt as tightening of the chest, stomach, throat, weakness in the knees…. & in panic attacks experienced as temporary blindness, inability to think, ‘clutched heart’, trouble breathing….
– Cognitive appraisal: provides an evaluation of events and objects. This is the Mental component – what we think / believe about something, either healthy or unhealthy
– Expression: facial and vocal expression almost always accompanies an emotional state to communicate reaction and intention of actions – unless using Botox! 🙂
– Feelings: the subjective experience of emotional state once it has occurred
BTW – Don‘t confuse feelings or emotions with:
• Compulsions, which are actions we’re not in conscious control of – OR –
• Obsessions (Os), which are overly-focused, circular mental ruminations, our personal hamster-in-the-wheel:
a. most Os are —
— unconsciously fueled by anxiety, from trauma, S-H, FoA….
— & are supported by immature thinking, such as CDs, desire for revenge, being one-up, proving oneself ….
b. less often (legitimate) Os may be:
• motivated by a deep need to connect with a H.P, to be of service to others or to follow a creative goal. These may better be called passions
• practicing phrases or counter-arguments created by our Healthy Adult.
Purpose: to set in place a more mature way of verbally responding to others, especially anyone likely to attack or try to control us.
Since ACoAs tend to blank out when confronted or criticized (we get scared), and when being told something outrageous or mean (we get enraged), this kind of ‘obsessional repetition’ is a smart tool, creating new brain pathways so our frontal cortex will stay ‘on line’, in the moment when we need to stand up for ourselves
NEXT: What about Es? (Part 2)