The power of emotions guides our life

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Louise Hay

The power of emotions guides our life

Choices, relationships and even thoughts ... Much of what we do every day is mediated by emotions. They give life impetus, so we are obliged to understand their message in order to play in our favor.

Written and verified by the psychologist GetPersonalGrowth.

Last update: 15 November 2021

The force of emotion often precedes thought itself. After all, it must not be forgotten that we are emotional entities who learned to think just over 100.000 years ago. Emotions, on the other hand, have always been some sort of primary root in our brain; a set of fundamental mechanisms that guaranteed our survival.

Accepting this idea isn't always easy. It isn't, in the first place, because most of us like to think we have full control over everything we do and decide. However, we are unaware that much of our behavior is governed by a powerful but veiled emotional universe that we are not always aware of. Let's think about it for a moment.

When we wake up in the morning, we do it with a certain emotional state; sometimes more motivated, sometimes with a slightly less defined will. Our mood fully affects our day.

The primary impulse behind every step we take, be it big or small, is filtered by emotions. It is true that, in many cases, we try to think about every decision made, but it is these that give us the initial push and leave a mark. Nor can we deny that many of our purchases are mediated by emotions, as well as social and emotional relationships.

Emotions, with their importance, their influence and their enormous complexity, they shape everything we do and how we react to the environment. The power of emotions is therefore undeniable.

“I don't want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, enjoy them and dominate them. "

- Oscar Wilde, The Portrait of Dorian Gray–

The power of emotions is in everything we do

A concept often repeated in self-help or emotional management books is that which reads "learn to control your emotions". In these manuals (as well as in popular language) there is never a lack of terms such as "manage", "dominate" and "control". Many, reading these words, might think that emotions are almost like a car or a checking account that you need to know how to manage.

Well, no one can control or manage anything if they do not understand what they have in their hands, or rather in the neuronal depths of their brain. This is how the neurologist Antonio Damasio introduces us to this universe. In books like Finding Spinoza. Emotions, feelings and brain o The strange order of things. Life, feelings and the creation of culture offer us very interesting insights. Let's see them in more detail.

Our emotions want us to survive and to be okay

Emotion is a chemical and neuronal response. This reaction is generated by our brain when it processes a stimulus that requires a certain behavior on our part (I see a snake, I know it can be a danger. It is therefore normal for me to walk away without "even thinking about it"). In parallel, the internal chemical response generates a large number of changes in the organism with a single purpose; allow us to adopt a behavioral response.

The purpose of our emotions is to help us react to what is happening around us. They allow us to survive and find homeostasis again, that is balance and well-being. Well, on average, we all have a bit of a basic problem: we don't know what they want to tell us.

Fear, sadness, anger, frustration ... Many of these emotional states that we refer to as "negative" play a specific role: to warn us that something is wrong and that we must react. However, it is more common to leave them there, in the deepest part of our being, to alter homeostasis and cause discomfort.

The power of emotions, feelings and thoughts

Emotions always precede feelings and, often, even thought itself. Books like Finding Spinoza. Damasio's emotions, feelings and brain reveal the importance of understanding the difference between emotions and feelings. Emotions relate to the body and feelings to the mind.

First of all, we experience emotions. Before every event that happens to us, before every situation, an emotion occurs. Well, the mental experience we adopt in the face of changes occurring in the organism shapes our feelings. And feelings, in turn, give impetus to the mind, motivate us or, conversely, block us.

This is what happened in the last step of our evolution, when we learned to have a greater understanding and control of our emotions. With the development of the frontal and prefrontal lobes we have become aware of feelings and emotions, giving shape to more refined, creative, rational and powerful behaviors.

We must not forget, however, that emotions and thought never travel apart; together, they give us more momentum. An emotion controlled and played in our favor through thinking usually shapes more innovative and positive behaviors.

Emotions must become our allies, not enemies

The strength of emotions is undeniable; it is they that largely condition our behavior. At the same time, feelings imbue us with that enthusiasm that seems to revitalize them when they connect to the thoughts we usually manage. It is therefore essential not only to understand what emotions are, but also to learn how to manage them, channel them and use them in our favor.

Succeeding is not easy at all. It takes time, that self-awareness through which to connect to what is happening within us, and respond accordingly. As Daniel Goleman points out, we have two minds, one that thinks and one that feels. Happiness, authentic well-being, consists in making them act in one direction. Think about it.

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