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Why So Emotional?

July 13, 2017
by Anna Veltri , Emmetsburg News

Emotions are icky. Some of them make us feel terrible. They're hard to talk about to other people especially when they're negative, but they're something that everyone experiences. It is part of being human.

According to The Atlantic, recent research has posited that humans actually only experience four primary emotions: happy, sad, afraid, and angry. This study determined that these four emotions are the ones that are "biologically based." As we've grown and evolved as a culture, emotions such as disgust and worry have been added in based on small differences in facial expressions.

The article stated that "these four emotions are the basic building blocks from which we develop our modern, complex, emotional stews."

I've been able to reason that we have emotions in order to tell us when something is good or bad. For example, we needed fear back when we were hunting and gathering in order to give us "that feeling" that we're in danger. Fear gives us our fight and flight response.

Our basic emotions served as a communicator to others before we developed language. Before we were able to articulate, early humans used facial expressions to let the others in their tribe know if they felt something. As language became more complex and humans developed logic and forethought, more emotions were thrown into the mix producing the messy range that we experience today.

Social norm dictates that when you see someone in passing the proper response to the question "how are you?" is either "fine" or "good." But why is that? Why are we pressured into keeping our emotions out of our every day interactions? Not everybody is fine all the time.

Something I've learned in recent months is that it is okay to let yourself be vulnerable. Often people are having similar experiences, and they just need to find someone they're comfortable enough share with.

Emotions are important, but it can be hard to keep them in control sometimes. It's cathartic and mentally therapeutic for someone to experience extreme emotions like crying in a movie or hysterically laughing. When you're sad it can change your mood to watch a comedy or a horror film. Anger can be calmed by watching a horror movie.

Colors also influence our emotions. The optimum color one should paint their bedroom is blue. Blue is calming. Orange and red may cause anger. Yellow produces happiness.

Anesa McGregor recently did an editorial all about mental health. Emotions are an important part in maintaining one's happiness and health. Seasonal depression affects many people in the Midwest due to the long, gray winters. One of the tips Anesa shared was to make sure to listen to someone while they're going through a tough time. I think it is also important to be brave enough to share any negative emotions that you may be having.


Beck, Julie. "New Research Says There Are Only Four Emotions." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 04 Feb. 2014. Web. 11 July 2017.



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