Types of emotions: what are they, which ones and their classification

The emotions are psychophysiological reactions that represent the emotional states that we experience. These reactions arise as a way of adaptation to certain stimuli of the individual when he perceives a person, an object, a place, an event or a great memory. Emotions are what we feel.

Today we will know what emotions are and what their types and classification are.

Type of emotionPrimary emotionsSecondary emotions
DefinitionThey are those that react to a stimulus, express and define what we truly feel.They are secondary responses to primary emotions. They are defensive and often hide the primary feeling or emotion.
Classification– Healthy primary emotions : they are dispositions to innate action, they are biologically related to adaptation and survival.
– Unhealthy primary emotions : they are the same reactions as the previous ones but that are generated when the circumstances that originated them have already passed.
-Instrumental emotions: are those expressions that are used to achieve a specific objective or purpose.

What are emotions?

The emotions are the answers or physiological reactions that makes our body to various changes that occur in our environment or ourselves. They are psychophysiological reactions that represent the modes of adaptation of human beings to certain external stimuli that allow them to adapt to a specific situation in relation to a person, an object, a place, an event or an important memory.

These changes that are generated are experiences that are related to attitudes, perceptions or beliefs about the world, and that is used to perceive a particular situation. The experiences of each person have a lot to do with the reaction to similar situations, and as a way of response is that rapid stimuli are produced that manage to verify what is happening and transmit to us what that means for us.

Emotions are universal and common in all cultures. Its different manifestations have behavior patterns similar to all individuals.

We can say that emotions have three main functions :

– Adaptive function : this implies that they prepare the organism for action. It is one of the most important functions since it is thanks to it that we can have the ability to act effectively.

– Social function : implies that emotions express and transmit our state of mind and help us with social interaction so that behavior can be predicted. When we talk about expression, we are not only talking about oral expression, but non-verbal communication is very important in emotions

– Motivational function : this function explains a relationship between motivation and emotion since both feed off each other. This means that any motivated behavior generates an emotional reaction, and in the same way any emotion drives motivation towards something.

Being able to identify the emotions that we go through and those of others is not an easy task, and fundamentally when several emotions are being experienced together. This is what is known as emotional awareness, and it will help us to:

-To be able to recognize our moods and reflect on them in order to make the best decisions.

-Relate better with our environment to be able to also recognize the emotions of others.

-Establish the necessary limits to meet our needs and our well-being, thus improving our quality of life.

-Know ourselves and learn better about ourselves and those around us.

Emotional awareness is part of Emotional Intelligence . It can be said that it is the first step to be able to develop it properly.

What are emotions for?

Emotions are carriers of information that transmit to us what we need before the different situations that are happening in our life. They help us to know what we need in each situation, environment or people, in order to be happy and satisfied with ourselves .

Classification of emotions

When talking about emotions, two classifications can be made, a general one where primary emotions and secondary emotions are involved , and then within the primary ones we can find healthy and unhealthy ones . We will detail each of them below.

Primary emotions

Primary emotions are those that react to a stimulus . They are those that express and define what we truly feel. Some examples of these types of emotions are: joy, surprise, fear, anger.

Within this classification we can find healthy primary emotions and unhealthy primary emotions.

– Healthy primary emotions: they are dispositions to innate action, they are biologically related to adaptation and survival. Each of the affective signals is direct and punctual, and in these cases, being clear, it should not be interpreted in order to understand its meaning.

Healthy emotions are fundamental responses to the situations that come our way on a daily basis, they come quickly and they also go quickly, and they are also the source of emotional intelligence. Once they are recognized, they can be used as a guide to understand ourselves.

Examples of healthy primary emotions: surprise, happiness, anger, sadness, fear, and disgust.

– Unhealthy primary emotions : they are the same reactions as the previous ones but that are generated when the circumstances that originated them have already passed. For example: we suffer when something has already happened, and we make the problem much bigger.

While these are the most basic and true feelings, they are no longer healthy. They arise as a reaction to an external or internal situation, even after this situation the emotion continues to last. They are feelings that make one disorganize and feel like a prisoner.

Secondary emotions

These types of emotions are secondary responses to primary emotions. For example, anger is often expressed when the primary feeling is fear, or sadness can be expressed when the primary emotion is anger.

The secondary emotions are defensive and often conceal the primary feeling or emotion. Depending on the type of emotions, it can be more or less difficult to detect it as secondary since it is often very hidden on several occasions. This is a reaction of the body to be able to protect us from them. Within the secondary emotions we can find the instrumental emotions .

It called instrumental emotions to those expressions that are used to achieve a goal, such as for example, to express sadness to awaken compassion or generate anger to intimidate, intimidating even in many occasions. It is a type of emotion that often requires the existence of a harmonized and empathetic environment. They are usually very difficult to detect emotions, since in several individuals they are already a natural part of their way of communicating or personality.

It is very important to learn to differentiate the different types of emotions in ourselves. The more we know about ourselves, the greater the control we can have over our actions.

In summary, we can say that emotions are responses generated by our body to different situations that are generated in our environment. These emotions are a type of information that the body sends us about how we should act in the face of what happens and what we need. As we better understand emotional intelligence , we can achieve greater happiness by realizing that it is what we need in every situation that occurs in life and on a daily basis.

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