Emotions are the brush strokes of our mind. When they flow with happiness, they reflect delight around us and also everywhere. Everything, therefore, becomes sweet — because, without emotional sweetness nothing sweet can be produced, or experienced. But, what if your emotions revealed the opposite effect? You ‘emote’ dull, sad, or dejected feelings. This will also, in effect, mirror gloom all around.
Put simply, our emotions define our ‘selves.’ As one wise observer once said, “We are not harmoniously formed when we don’t take joy from our good emotions.”
Emotions, it’s rightly said, are the ‘wires’ that hold our mental life together. They define who we are in our mind’s eye and in the eyes of others, just as well. Isn’t it, therefore, relevant to understand our emotions in the best manner possible — the modes in which they make us cheerful, sad, pessimistic, uneasy, frightened, dismayed, or overjoyed?
Our brain has over ten billion neurons. They are connected to each other in extremely complex ways. While the electrical circuits within, aside from the chemical exchanges among such cells, achieve some incredible and perplexing things, the formation of our emotions stands out as one of nature’s most remarkable and mystifying acts.
When you look inwardly at your emotions, you find them, at once, obvious and also puzzling. They are the states we know best and remember with utmost clarity too. All the same, you may not know where they come from. What’s more, they can also change things, gradually, or unexpectedly — and, in addition to this, their ‘causes’ can be clear, or blurred.
You may be conditioned to doing things the way you do things every day. But, sometimes, you don't always understand what makes you get up from the wrong side of the bed. Or, why you can be kind, or mean — even when you know what is really guiding your actions. Likewise, you may respond to danger before you ‘know’ there’s peril lurking in the corner. Or, you may savour the soulful melodies of classical music without consciously understanding what it is you like about it.
The point is: our emotions are at the centre of who we are, all right, but they also seem to have their own schedule. They may, sometimes, ‘carry out’ things without your real involvement too.
It's difficult to picture our life without emotions. We live for them, looking at circumstances that offer us moments of happiness and satisfaction, while trying to avoid situations that lead to misery, frustration, or pain.
It is, generally, thought that our emotions are bodily responses that echo our struggle to survive. Or, they are mental states that result when our bodily responses are sensed by our brain. Research too embraces the view that emotions are apparently bodily responses that are peripheral to a feeling, with the process taking place entirely within our brain. Emotions, for others, likewise, may be ways of acting, knowing, or speaking, too. They may, in like manner, also be unconscious impulses, or even conscious decisions.
Enlightened thinkers believe that emotions are, in effect, thoughts about situations in which we find ourselves in. Or, they may also be the outcome of social constructions, or things, that happen between rather than within us. This is what that, perforce, helps therapists to ‘grasp’ what may go wrong when a part of our mental life goes bananas.
Most philosophers and spiritualists agree about what emotions are — nuggets of our thoughts and actions. However this maybe, science may not be fully in agreement about what an emotion is. One reason may be — the most important thing ever said about emotion is everyone knows what your emotion is until you are asked to describe it. As Vincent van Gogh rightly said, “Emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realising it.”