Your emotions are a guide through your daily decision-making and guiding your behaviours and reactions to situations. Imagine if you woke up one morning and had no emotions at all. How would you know what was important for you for that day, and how the day impacted you?
Neuroscientist and psychobiologist Jaak Panksepp identified the seven (7) universal basic emotions through human and animal research. These are:
We know that emotions run a bit deeper and can be more complex than this, however for the sake of this post we will look at how some basic emotions can drive your actions and be motivators for change.
Your emotions can either motivate change or maintain how you are feeling, for example to hold on to good feelings such as joy and happiness or using fear to drive you to change something about a situation.
When humans were evolving, they would use emotions to guide them through knowing what to approach and what to avoid for the sake of their survival. In our modern world, we still use these same emotions on whether to be cautious, avoidant, or carefree when approaching something new.
Different emotions lead use toward different kinds of emotions and encourage survival. For example, you see brown snake > you feel fear > you avoid the snake > do not get bitten > survive! 😊
Here are some of the basic ways your emotions can motivate your or drive your actions:
As you can see emotions can be useful in all sorts of situations, however, if your emotional responses have become imbalanced, over-active or overly avoidant than this may lead to imbalanced reactions to emotions, or mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, panic disorders, addictions etc.
When emotions become overwhelming . . .