Emotions Are Important. Our emotions are a critical source of information. Our emotions are necessary for us to make decisions. Studies show that when a person has an accident in which those structures of the brain that deal with emotions is damaged the person cannot make even simple decisions. Why? Because the person has lost the capability to feel and thus, evaluate their decision. Social Neuroscience has demonstrated cognition requires emotion in order to complete the transaction of the decision-making process. Without emotion, cognition remains incomplete and unfulfilled.
Our Bodies Talk. Our emotions help us communicate with others. Our facial expressions, for example, can convey a wide range of emotions. If we look sad or hurt, we are letting the other person know that we need their help. If we are verbally skilled we will be able to express more of our emotional needs and thereby have a better chance of filling them. If we are good at listening to the emotional needs of others, we are better able to help them feel understood, important, and cared about. The emotionally intelligent person is able to read, with some accuracy, the feelings conveyed non-verbally by those with whom he or she interacts.
Stress Reduces Our Ability to Feel. As our society has become more pressured and we are constantly overwhelmed by stress, our ability to recognize and respond to our own feelings and those of others is diminished. Overwhelming feelings of stress result in a reduced ability to manage intense feelings and an increase in stress-related disorders. Consequently, there is an increase in road rage, desk rage, air rage, voice-mail rage, verbal and physical aggression, violence against others, substance abuse, and other inappropriate displays of anger.
Emotions Bring People Together. Our emotions are perha ps the greatest potential source of uniting all members of the human race. This is what makes us human and creates the potential for our humanity. Clearly, our various religious, cultural and political institutions have not united us. Far too often, in fact, they have even divided us. Emotions, on the other hand, are universal.
Emotions are Universal. The emotions of…
• Empathy – The ability to understand and share someone else’s feelings.
• Compassion – The ability to care about and give to someone else.
• Cooperation – The ability to work together to achieve a common goal.
• Forgiveness – The ability to pardon someone for a grievance against you or against someone one or something you care about.
All of these emotions have the potential to unite us as people. Our thoughts may tend to divide us, whereas our emotions, if given the chance, will unite us in our humanity.
George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF, CEAP
Diplomat, American Association of Anger Management Providers
Anderson & Anderson®, The Trusted Name in Anger Management