Understanding Our 8 Core Emotions, Part 1
Candace Pert, PhD, the late neuroscientist, pharmacologist, spiritual author, speaker and visionary, described our emotions as the thing linking our physical bodies to our spiritual selves. Cultivating positive emotions is essential for achieving, and maintaining, optimum health in body, mind and spirit.
The trick to cultivating those positive emotions, though, is to resist ignoring or suppressing less than happy feelings when they arise, as they inevitably will. Instead, learning the tools to realistically register, honor and then shift our emotions, as needed, is a powerful life skill that can change virtually everything for the better.
Over the next two weeks, we’ll be looking closely at eight core emotions, and how they impact us.
- 1. Joy
The emotion of Joy is closely linked to optimism, serenity and ecstasy. It’s the sense of wonder, satisfaction and a peaceful excitement that you are part of something greater and magnificent. For many people, joy is experienced when they see or hear something of incomparable beauty, or feel a deeply personal connection to God.
- 2. Anger
The body has many ways to alert the brain to feelings of anger – muscle tenseness, shortness of breath, feeling flushed and an uncomfortable sensation in the stomach are just a few. Anger is usually an immediate response to a perceived wrongdoing. It can range from mild annoyance to exasperation to a hostile rage. In the short term, pure anger can sometimes be beneficial. Dr. Pert talks about a patient who made only healthy choices, but still received a cancer diagnosis. The woman became furious, and the cancer immediately went into remission. It was as if the unhealthy cells were burned away by the emotional surge.
A quick burst of anger is one thing, but a sustained slow-boil can have serious consequences for heart health. A positive way to process that emotion is to take a deep breath, remember what the thought was the moment before you physically felt anger, and change that thought. You can’t have an angry feeling without first having an angry thought.
- 3. Anxiety
Anxiety is that unbalanced emotion arising from fear of the unknown. Instead of staying suspended in that state of constant worry about what might go wrong, shift your thoughts to mentally listing all the things that could go RIGHT. The quickest way to come into balance from an anxious state is to take three deep, mindful breaths. That simple exercise will immediately propel you up into an Alpha state, where clarity and peace are yours.
- 4. Surprise
Whether it’s a happy surprise – office birthday party! – or an unpleasant one, the feeling of surprise means you are not in control of an immediate situation you have not anticipated. Take those deep breaths again to enter into Alpha, and be in the present moment. If it’s a positive surprise, enjoy! If it’s not, going right into a more aware, ‘plugged in’ Alpha state will empower you to quickly assess the situation. Are you in danger? If so, take the appropriate steps to remove yourself from harm’s way. Are you upset? First find something in the situation for which you can authentically be grateful. Even if it’s, “Whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger,” that will immediately shift you into a more calm, collected and positive state of mind.
Tune in next week when we explore the remaining core emotions: Trust, Grief, Fear and LOVE.
Experience the emotional freedom of nurturing yourself with an extended stay at OHI San Diego or OHI Austin. To learn more about our holistic healing program, in San Diego or Austin, visit Optimum Health Institute. We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. To make your reservation, call us at (800) 588-0809.