"Comfort in expressing your emotions will allow you to share the best of yourself with others, but not being able to control your emotions will reveal your worst," said author Bryant H. McGill.

This article aims to bring to light the different kinds of emotions, how we should control them and why we should do so. As the quotation above states the importance of control, we should be able to identify troubling emotions and root them out.

Our lives revolve around our interaction with the outside world. Man by nature is not a solitary creature observed Aristotle, who stated that Man is a "political animal". We work in offices. We study in schools. We shop at supermarkets. We mingle at parties and social gatherings. We are always surrounded by people. How we act, react, and interact with one another play huge roles in studying Emotions. With this study of Emotions, one can assess a situation and bend it to one's liking or advantage. This study or assessment is called "Emotional Intelligence (EI)". What is EI?

EI refers to people's ability to assess their emotions and other people's emotions and to use that information to act accordingly in relationships and situations. This is not a difficult task to accomplish, but one that will take time and many trials and errors to perfect this art. We as beings of this world, or rather as higher, advanced beings, need to assess the various emotional states that many arise in any given situation. Do we laugh and giggle at a funeral? Do we laugh out loud when a priest is delivering his sermon? Do we cry when we see something funny? Reacting appropriately to a situation is very important. It may make or break a deal. 

However, there are times when controlling our emotions would be almost impossible. For example, a person has a predisposition to laugh when faced with a grave situation. What would he do at a funeral? Laugh? This would be inappropriate! Therefore, he/she needs to be able to identify his/her weakness and root out the problematic emotion and display his/her emotion accordingly. 

According to Wikipedia, Daniel Goleman in Working with Emotional Intelligence, New York Bantam Books, identified 5 parts to EI:

(a) self-awareness -- using gut feelings to guide deicsions
(b) self-regulation -- involves controlling or redirecting disruptive emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances
(c) social skill -- managing relationships
(d) empathy -- considering feelings of others
(e) motivation -- being driven

With all these 5 parta to EI, one would be well-equipped to handle any emotional situation in an appropriate manner.

Now, moving on to the definition of Emotions. No one can really define the word Emotions. Is it synonymous with Feelings? Or is it the same as Moods? Actually, Feelings would be a better other word. Moods should be contrasted with Emotions: Emotions are what you feel within a short duration but Moods last for a long time. For example, if one says that he/she is in a good mood, then that mood should last for an entire day or so. You do not feel Emotions for an entire day. When someone pinches you real hard, you feel Anger. Here, Anger is an Emotion. You feel it within a short period of time. And this would put you in a rather bad mood throughout the day. Anger, here, is a Basic Emotion that exists as an evolutionary trigger.

What are Basic Emotions? If there are Basic Emotions are there Advanced Emotions as well? In fact, there are, but the terminology is different.

We, as higher beings, and most other animals, have been gifted with a set of predictable responses to any given situation. These are called Basic Emotions: anger, fear, surprise, disgust, joy and sadness, as described in the 1970s by anthropologist Paul Eckman. When the young of an elephant dies or hurts itself, the parent will cry. Through this display of Emotion, one can infer that an elephant can experience sadness.

However, what makes us who we are? We are more than mere mortals. There are Emotions that can be experienced by only Humans and other primates. These Emotions are called Higher or Moral Emotions. They are based on self-awareness, self-consciousness and the ability to empathise with others. The Moral Emotions are pride, guilt, embarrassment and shame. One can say that Religion and Society have a part to play in instilling these Emotions. We are after all, a reflection of our Society.

Moral Emotions only come into play after self-reflection and they support the theory that Emotions are factors of judgments, rather than reactions to a stimulus.

With this theory comes to light an even more important aspect of Emotions: Reason. Can Emotions be reasoned out? The answer, it seems, lies in ourselves. The initial response to a stimulus would be unpredictable. But when that response is in the process of being expressed through behaviour, Reason would step in. Outward signs such as laughing, crying, staring in shock, kissing and touching can be controlled; thereby, bringing us back to our first example of displaying inappropriate behaviour at a funeral. Though hard it may seem, this is a possible task. All we have to do is utilise the 5 parts (plus the new 6th element called Reason) of EI in any given situation. To prevent unpleasant memories, one would have to use Reason.

In the olden days, displaying Emotions was considered as a sign of Evil. Laughing, for example, was frowned upon. It would appear that it reminded the elders of the 7 Deadly Sins. Anger coming across as Wrath. Love coming across as Lust. Satisfaction coming across as Pride. Gone are those days, one can say. Now it's all about Emotions. Many poets, play writers and authors have made lucrative businesses out of analysing and writing about Emotions!

In conclusion, displaying and feeling Emotions are not wrong. In fact, one should take pride in feeling them. Display then with pride, albeit with caution. You do not want to regret your actions, do you? It is no longer about being intellectually intelligent, now one has to be emotionally intelligent to fit in into this world otherwise the ugly side to our personalities will rear its head.

After all, as the Bee Gees sang in their hit song Emotions, "It's over and done, but the heartache lives on inside... It's just emotion that's taken me over..."


Sources & Inspirations:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotion
http://pbskids.org/itsmylife/emotions/
http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/e/emotion.htm
http://www.awmi.net/extra/article/harnessing_emotions
http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/what-are-emotions.htm
http://www.humanillnesses.com/Behavioral-Health-Br-Fe/Emotions.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_intelligence
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/emotions_2.html

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