Emotions are bodily signals that alert you to changes in your internal or external environment. Emotions are feelings with thoughts attached to them.
Your interpretation or appraisal of your feeling in your body gives rise to an emotion. This is what I describe as EAR—Identity: Event—Appraisal—Response. Each event in your life is appraised in the GAP between event and response. Positive appraisals are a non-problem status—Emotion is regarded as “normal”. Negative interpretations cause your body to experience nervous arousal—emotional constipation!
You react to negative emotion somewhere along a “pain time-line”, where anger is at one end and anxiety at the other. If you have an avoidant emotional style you will feel more anxiety, fear and bewilderment than most people. If you have a reactive emotional style you will feel predominantly emotions of anger, frustration and resentment.
At either end of the “pain time-line” you will experience severe nervous arousal (adrenalin floods) which will promote ruminating over thoughts, worrying incessantly, avoiding situations and people that give you pain or reacting in a way that impacts adversely on others.
Dr. Robert L. Leahy of The American Institute for Cognitive Therapy has given us a schema of how our emotions can lead us down different paths. How do you deal with your emotions? Are they a non-problem status for you or do you ruminate over things or perhaps binge drink to deal with bad feelings? Please comment below.