Have you ever wondered about the same question before? Have you ever tried to find out how many emotions there are? In this article, I shall discuss a list of human emotions so that you can understand and control your negative emotions better.
What are emotions?
As long as you live life, you will come across various situations (stimuli) and you will experience a wide range of emotions. Emotions are our brain’s response to external stimuli.
Whenever we face various situations, our brain releases chemical messengers throughout our body that makes us feel the appropriate emotion.
A new concept developed by Dr. Lisa Barret suggests that emotions can vary depending on the mental concepts or databases formed in our minds.
For example, a person living in a city would be completely accustomed to the honking of vehicles and would not be alarmed by it.
For a tribal person, who has just come from the Amazon forest, it will be totally strange and new.
His or her mind would not know how to respond to it because it does not know whether it a threatening noise (like the roar of a lion), or a friendly call (like that of tribal inmates), or just a natural sound (like rainfall).
Another example would be that a man living in a city would be excited by the air hammering against his face if he is on a roller coaster ride, whereas a tribal man would freak out because he does not know that roller coaster rides are safe as he has never been on one.
To conclude we can say that some basic emotions (like anger, sorrow, joy, and fear) are dependant only on external stimuli and other, more complicated emotions are reliant on mental concepts and one’s past experiences as well.
What causes our emotions to change?
Changes in external stimuli like the time of the day, events that have happened to us, and changes in our hormones can cause our emotions to change.
If our emotions change due to the above-mentioned factors, it is normal but our emotions can also change due to certain disorders as listed below:
Stress and anxiety
I’m sure all of you can relate to this, especially in the modern-day lifestyle. We often feel angry or anxious due to the tensions we face at work. We often take out our frustrations unnecessarily on other people.
Whenever you get angry or anxious, just take a deep breath and think rationally before you take out your frustration on anyone.
Regular meditation will keep you calm most of the time and diffuse tension. Carolyn McManus of Swedish Medical Center in Seattle has some great ideas on how to reduce work stress.
Kindly ensure that you get adequate sleep every day to keep your mind and body relaxed.
People with bipolar disorders have far more acute and longer-lasting mood swings than regular people.
For example, when things go people’s way, they are usually happy for a few hours and then calm down but people with bipolar disorder can party for days at a stretch, not sleeping much, and spend money lavishly. About 3% of Americans suffer from this disorder.
Some of you may have experienced this in the past or maybe experiencing it now. It is quite natural due to the harsh world we live in.
People undergoing depression may feel sad and then get okay but they won’t feel extremely happy as people with bipolar disorder do. Generally, people with depression feel sad in the morning and get okay as the day wears on.
If you feel very sad quite often, it is time you consult a doctor.
Multiple Personality Disorder or Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)
People with DID have alters that predominantly exhibit certain emotions, behavioral traits, and characteristics. Alters have different physical and mental traits than their hosts.
These people are more prone to stress than regular people. They may hurt themselves or others around them when they are stressed.
DID is curable overtime. You’ll be surprised to know that a girl named Jessica had 6 different alters but is cured of DID now, after studying medicine and psychology.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
People with ADHD are restless and unable to concentrate for long periods of time. They are prone to mood swings often and sometimes get very violent in their mood swings.
For women, PMS, pregnancy, menopause (the year after your last period), and perimenopause can cause severe mood swings. Old men with low testosterone levels are also known to be quite moody. If you have grandparents or a pregnant wife at home. Kindly talk to them often and keep them happy.
If you experience prolonged mood swings often, you should consult a doctor or a psychiatrist and rectify it before it’s too late.
How to control your emotions?
I bet you’re all itching to know how to do this. Here we go:
Notice and control when you’re getting too emotional
Whenever you feel any strong emotions like anger or anxiety or sorrow, you must observe the emotion consciously and not become one with it.
This will take a lot of energy away from the emotion (after all, emotions are energized thought forms) and root you to the present moment.
You can perhaps notice what physical impact it has on your body. For example, when you feel angry, your pulse rate and bp might shoot up, you may begin to shake violently and sweat, your face may turn red etcetera.
Meditation might be difficult to do and boring at first but if you keep practicing, you will actually begin to like and enjoy it. It will completely relax your body and mind.
Usually, with strong emotions, our breathing goes out of control as well, so learning to control your breath will help calm you down.
Relax your muscles
When you feel any strong emotion, parts of your body will become tight and tensed. You must identify those areas and relax. They could be your brows, shoulders, fists or legs. Taking a short nap if you can also do you a world of good.
Picture an imaginary or an actual beautiful place in your mind
Visualizing a beautiful place in great detail and observing it will take your thoughts away from the negative situation you are in. When negative thoughts subside, negative emotions to fade away quickly.
Create a happy box
Your happy box can contain anything that can make you happy. It could be your favorite book, a funny meme, happy family photos, some candies, etcetera. Naturally, when you become happy, your negative emotions fade away.
Don’t be lazy. Do it now if you have not done it yet. It will lift you out of your blues.
The various types of emotions we experience
Here is a vast list of emotions that humans experience in their lifetime.
I bet all of you are yearning to feel this emotion again. It is an emotion we exhibit when things happen as we desire. It is what all of us really want in life but you must understand what happiness is not to appreciate true happiness.
For example, I felt very happy when I graduated from my university.
Example #2: I used to feel happy whenever my birthday was around the corner during my childhood days. I used to have a great time with my friends and family back then.
Happiness is not feeling good all the time. If you put in way too much effort to feel good all the time, you will lose the ability to actually feel happy. External stimuli should make you happy, not forced efforts.
Happiness is not being rich. If you are an average worker and you get a promotion, you will feel happy for some time but when you reach high positions, your expectations will change and if you don’t get the desired level of monetary increase, you will find out that you are just as sad as you were before you got your first promotion. Clearly money can’t buy happiness.
So what is happiness? Wait….wait …it’s coming… According to spiritual textbooks, the joy of one’s soul can be felt when one is void of desires and ego but a more practical definition of happiness is a combination of how satisfied you are with your life and how good you feel on a daily basis.
This research was done by Dr. Acacia Parks who has done a Ph.D. in Psychology and is an assistant professor of psychology at Hiram College.
Even Sadhguru, Jaggi Vasudev emphasizes that money can’t buy happiness.
From here starts a list of negative emotions. I know that a lot of you don’t want to see this as it might remind you of your painful past but it is one of the emotions and I have to cover it. Sadness is an emotion we feel when things don’t go our way.
We feel sad when somebody insults or betrays us. We also feel sad when somebody we love dies or abandons us. Just like happiness, there are also a few things that sadness is not and we shall see what they are.
For example, I felt very sad when my pet cat died a few years ago.
Sadness is not depression. Sad people can pinpoint the reason for their sorrow accurately but depressed people cannot. Sadness lasts just for a few hours. Depression can go on forever if left untreated.
Sad people can bounce back quickly and carry on with their lives. Depressed people harbor hatred for life and are unenthusiastic all the time.
Sadness is not a mental disease. Although people affected by mental disorders are unhappy most of their time. Sad people are not necessarily mentally sick. True sadness is just a temporary state and will fade away in a few hours or a few days.
Our ancestors had known this feeling very well as they had walked with carnivorous beasts. Fear is the emotion we feel when we perceive a threat to our existence.
The threat can be caused by an animal, a force of nature, a human (criminal) or any other external stimuli. It is nature’s way of self-preservation. People who are afraid may either run for their lives, freeze in terror or fight the threat.
For example, I’m afraid of street dogs and always shy away from them even to this day.
Have you ever felt fear? Please leave a comment.
It is the emotion that you exhibit when you see a behavior that is socially unacceptable or an area that is filthy. For example, I feel quite disgusted when I look at dirty beggars on the road or a filthy place (like a dump yard).
Different cultures consider different things as disgusting but here is a list of universally accepted disgusting things.
- Bodily fluids and excretions (like feces, urine, pus, and vomit)
- Spoiled foods
- Poor hygiene
- Bodily violations (like blood and mutilation)
- Death and corpses
- Animals and insects (like cockroaches, worms, and rats)
People who are only mildly disgusted, move away from the source of filth. People who are severely disgusted, twist their faces (in disgust), drop their jaws open and let out a cry of disgust (like “eww, yuck, etcetera”). What animal or thing or scene disgusts you the most? Please leave a comment.
I don’t want to spoil your mood, but we have to cover this. Anger is an emotion you express when someone has deliberately done you wrong or when things don’t work as they should.
For example, I was quite angry when my teacher scolded me over my assignment. I felt like punching the lights out of her.
While a little bit of anger can correct the wrong and make you assert yourself. Too much anger will skyrocket your BP, pulse rate, etcetera and cause you a lot of health problems.
This is an emotion that you must learn to control. It can be done by consciously observing the emotion. That way, you take the energy out of anger and it subsides. Regular meditation will help drastically reduce the occurrence of anger.
How I wish someone would surprise me right now. It would certainly break a boring routine. It is an emotion we exhibit when something good happens or goes our way unexpectedly. For example, in the serial Friends, Emily was quite surprised when Ross’s roommates gave her a Bon Voyage party.
Some of you may have had a birthday party surprise when you were young. If so, you should revisit that memory or look at those photos. It will make you happy.
It is an emotion we exhibit when a person or an animal does something funny which makes us laugh. For example, I have a cat at home and sometimes, when it chases bugs or sleeps in awkward positions or plays, it amuses me.
Do you have pets at home and are they amusing? Leave a comment, please.
This is an emotion we exhibit when we are satisfied with the result of something or when we get what desired. For example, I was very content with my tenth-grade results.
Different people are content with different things and it depends on a person’s age, interests, and cultural background.
For example, a baby may be content with milk or candy. An employee may be content with a promotion and a pay raise. An entrepreneur may content with double-digit profit growth. A retired person may be content with living in a cabin in the woods. So it all depends.
It has been a long time since I had been content. Are you content with your job or salary or life situation? Kindly leave a comment.
It is an emotion you feel when some event is going to happen that you have been looking forward to. For example, my mother was very excited about having a baby when was conceived.
Are you excited about something now? If so, please tell us.
It is an emotion you exhibit when you feel someone or something is worthless. You completely ignore it.
Now it must be noted that just because you feel someone or something is useless does not mean it actually is. It could just be your attitude towards it.
For example, I promised my lecturers that I would work hard to improve my grades during my college days but they were contempt and did not take me seriously.
Example #2: That document was quite important to the enterprise but its employees dealt with it with contempt.
It is an emotion that we exhibit when we are very uncomfortable in a situation or with a person’s behavior.
For example, My mother was very embarrassed when I had to repeat my 9th grade.
I’m not going to ask you, folks, to share your embarrassing experiences because I know that it’s private. Got you there, didn’t I?
Embarrassment can dent a person’s confidence and frequent embarrassing situations may even cause depression.
If a person has been in an embarrassing situation before, he should not think about it again and again. He should forgive himself (as everyone makes mistakes), come to terms with the present situation and get on with his life. That’s the only cure.
It is an emotion you exhibit when some event or news has alleviated your anxiety.
For example, my mother was very relieved when I graduated from my university.
Have you been relieved about anything recently? If so, do tell us.
My mom was relieved recently when I got a job.
I would advise you all not to have this emotion. It can lead to conflict and sins. It is an emotion we exhibit when we feel we are superior to someone or are proud of our accomplishments or belong to a widely practiced religion or caste.
For example, Frank was a gold-medalist during his college days but he has a lot of pride in him.
Example #2: My friend Benjamin Bedford is a Christian by birth and he is quite proud of it.
It is an emotion we exhibit when we have done something we should not have done. When we violate our moral code of conduct, we feel guilty.
For example, I felt quite guilty for not living up to my expectations during my college days.
There are three types of guilt. They are:
- Reactive guilt: This kind of guilt occurs when a person has acted below his own moral standards or socially acceptable norms.
- Anticipatory guilt: This kind of guilt occurs when a person so much as thinks about violating his moral standards or social rules. In the end, he doesn’t do it because his beliefs and moral values are strong.
- Existential guilt: This kind of guilt is felt when a person feels that people and society have not been fair to him or her. The person feels life isn’t worth living and may have suicidal tendencies.
The emotional impacts of guilt include:
- An upset stomach and nausea
- Muscle tension
- Head pain
If one has committed a sinful act in the past but regrets it now, one must forgive oneself and move on with life. He or she can take a resolution not to do it again. It is the only cure for guilt.
This is the most complicated emotion of all. It is a combination of regret, self-hate, and dishonor. It occurs when a person has done something that is below his dignity, against the law and was caught for doing it.
For example, I was quite ashamed of taking money from my mom’s purse without her permission during my school days. I wanted to buy ice cream from the store nearby but I should have asked her first.
Emotions are basically our response to external stimuli that are triggered by chemical messengers. Our response can sometimes depend on our experiences (mental concepts), where we live and our culture.
Emotions originate from the deepest part of our brain known as the Basal Ganglia. Unlike logical thoughts, they do not originate from the surface of the brain or the cortex. Hence, they mean a lot more to us.
Humans exhibit the most complicated and the widest range of emotions in the animal kingdom. Research is still going on about human emotions, their causes and how to control/cure them. It is quite a fascinating subject.
1. What are the six basic emotions?
They are Happiness, Sadness, Anger, Lust, Surprise, and disgust.
2. Which is the strongest human emotion?
Anger is the strongest human emotion as it involves a lot of energized thought-forms.
3. Which is the most enjoyable human emotion?
Self-Love is the most enjoyable human emotion as even hate cannot make a person dislike himself.
4. Does anger come from hurt?
Yes, hurt is one of the most common causes of anger.
5. Is hope an emotion?
No, it’s just a state of mind where one feels that things will go in favor of him or her, irrespective of one’s current position or capabilities.