Sunday, July 26, 2009

Understanding Emotions

'तेरा इमोशनल अत्याचार'.... taking cues from this popular song,lets give a few thoughts about emotions.

Emotion is a mental state involving a distinctive feeling tone. It is defined as “a moved or stirred-up state of an organism caused by physiological changes occurring as a response to some event and which tends to maintain or abolish the causative event.”

Emotion includes a wide range of observable behaviors, expressed feelings, and changes in the body state. This diversity in intended meanings of the word emotion makes it hard to understand and study. For many of us emotions are very personal states, difficult to define or to identify except in the most obvious instances. Moreover, many aspects of emotion seem unconscious to us. Even simple emotional states appear to be much more complicated than states as hunger and thirst. The expression of emotion is also an effective means of communication.
There are four basic components of emotions:

1. The physiological aspect, which involves active changes in the body physically, e.g., tachycardia (rapid heart rate), tachypnoea (fast breathing), dilated pupils etc. For example, try to recall the pounding heart and dry mouth, just before looking at the notice board for the annual exam results.

2. The cognitive component, which emphasizes the importance of thoughts, beliefs, and expectations in determining the type and intensity of emotional response. For example, if we look back and think about our friends/relatives, we do recall that ‘sensitivity’ was inbuilt in some.

3. The behavioural component, which involves the various forms of expressions that emotions may take , e.g., facial expressions, bodily postures, gestures, and tone of voice which changes with anger, joy, fear, sorrow, etc. Some ‘express’ more, others less. As in, in our culture girls have a much free hand at crying, if they cry it’s ok, and when boys do that, they are ‘sissy’.

4. The subjective experience, which includes elements of pleasure, or displeasure, intensity of feeling, etc. what one individual experiences as intensely as pleasurable may be boring for another. So, remember the best and worst moment of your life for five minutes each, and try to recognise what is the difference while you were reliving those states.
(References available on request)


  1. How will life be without emotions, any one has seen the movie 'Equilibrium'?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Hi Aleem, Congrats for the blog buddy! Both the topics are interesting and well written. How far can we control our emotions? I know that we can distract our mind to evade, but I am talking about 'being there and doing it'. Like deciding not to get angry (or less angry), in the most maddening circumstances, or NOT being happy inspite of all the tempting factors around (even more difficult). Are we driving ourselves to some extent...or just getting driven! :)

  4. Great to hear from u Asad,
    like u say, we can very well distract for a few moments. But the point is why u should not be angry or unhappy in relevant situations, it is very human to be so. The need for intervention arises when these "reactions" become... excessive, magnified, prologed, (too less also) and starts to disturb ur daily life. It is possible to a very large extent to control these. One simple way is to look at things in totality, e.g. a messy situaion can be viewd as as only a PHASE or our rather 70-80 possible years here, and to think there is like beyond that, and that besides bad luck, u had big sucesses also, so consider them as an aspect of u, and any problem is not the first one, u have been successful onlt by solving the previos problems, so u can this time also. There are many techniques and therapies for the questions that ur raising.
    Almost every thing open for improvement

  5. Emotion is always another part of body system,even though we cannot see it practically!