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Spotlight On Wellbeing Strategies: Your Emotions - Drivers or Passengers?

SPOTLIGHT ON: Wellbeing Strategies

Your Emotions: Drivers or Passengers?


Like Water that flows so are the tears of our Emotions. In order to ride the Waves of Life successfully we need to be aware of the power of Emotions but not let them overpower the other Elements of Inner Wellbeing. Emotions are important passengers, but not the driver. We need to express Emotions in healthy ways to avoid accumulating baggage in our lives.


What are Emotions?


An emotion is what psychologists call an “affective state” – a mood or feeling. It is not a thought or Mindset. There are only four basic core emotions:

1. Joy: The peak positive emotional state with a continuum of positive emotional experiences. You might hear it described as Happiness, Satisfaction, Fulfilment, Contentment and Peace.`

2. Anger: Also described as Frustration, Dissatisfaction, Disappointment, Hatred and Rage.

3. Fear: Also described as Terror, Panic and Anxiousness.

4. Sadness: Also described as Shame, Hurt and Guilt.


Emotional Awareness: Primary and Secondary Emotions

Primary Emotions (It’s ALL GOOD)


Primary emotions are in-the-moment emotional responses to a pleasant or unpleasant stimulus. They happen as a direct result of an external cue that affects us emotionally. That is, they occur in close proximity to the event that brought them on. Primary emotions are important because they provide us with information about our current situation and get us ready or motivated to act in some way.


Secondary Emotions (It’s ALL BAD!)


Secondary emotions are very familiar. We might mistake them for primary emotions if we’re not self-aware. For example, anxiety is often due to fear. We may not be aware that we’re afraid, or even what we are fearing (it could be many things), so it becomes expressed as general anxiety. The thing that helps you identify a secondary emotion is if you can’t alleviate it without digging deeper.

A secondary emotion is what occurs when we don’t recognise, value, listen to, or respond to our primary emotions. If we do not express the primary emotion it doesn’t go away. Secondary emotions stick around for a long time and prevent us from interacting and growing in healthy ways. Examples of unhealthy outcomes from Secondary Emotions include: Worry, Anxiety, Low Self Esteem, Depression, Jealousy, Hatred, Hostility and Paranoia.


Be Self-Aware of Your Emotions


What different types of Emotions have you experienced recently? Have they become the drivers in your life or are they the passengers? How did you express these Primary Emotions in healthy ways to prevent unhealthy Secondary Emotions and baggage accumulating in your inner world? What can you do to move to a higher level of Emotional Awareness when facing the challenging Waves of Life? Take some time out this week to stop and reflect on how you can increase your Emotional Awareness. All the best for the week ahead! HPTschools Team

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© 2020 by Dr Pete Stebbins