What are you feeling “inside out’? When you see someone smiling, we automatically know that that person is happy. In the same way that we know that a person is sad when that person is crying. That is because certain expressions and reactions are manifestations of what people are feeling deep inside according to Dr. Paul Ekman, one of the most influential psychologists of our time. It is possible to increase our emotional awareness by learning how to read expressions.
Six Basic Human Emotions
Dr. Ekman identified six basic human emotions. These are the following:
1. Happiness 😊,
Happiness is joy and satisfaction. It is a positive emotion. A person who is smiling is said to be happy and relaxed.
2. Anger 😡
Anger is a powerful negative emotion. It is characterized by hostility, agitation and antagonism. A person who is grumpy, frowning, yelling or showing any form of aggressive behavior is said to be angry.
3. Fear 😱
The feeling of fear is an unpleasant feeling that arises when a person recognizes danger or threats ahead. It is closely associated with our fight or flight response.
3. Disgust 🤮
When we see, taste or smell something unpleasant, we react by turning away, vomiting or covering our nose.
5. Sadness 😭
When something bad happens, we feel disappointed and hopeless. Sometimes, we grieve. We cry. We even withdraw from others. There is a feeling of wanting to be alone.
6. Surprise 😦
Unlike the other five basic emotions, the feeling of surprise is different in the sense that it can be positive, negative or even neutral. A surprise birthday party is a pleasant surprise while a black cat that suddenly jumps in front of you in a dark alley is an unpleasant surprise. When we are surprised, we widen your eyes and open our mouths. Sometimes, we scream and jump.
So, what are you feeling inside out? Does emotional wellness mean we should be happy all the time? While our ultimate goal in life is to find happiness, it is impossible to feel happy all the time. In fact, the level of our happiness can only be felt depending on how much pain we had to go through and overcome in the past.
The simplest way to illustrate is through the Pixar movie “Inside Out”. The movie gives us a glimpse of what goes on inside our mind through the head of an 11-year old girl named Riley. Inside the control center of her mind are five basic emotions namely Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust. At the beginning of the movie, Joy has an overarching goal of trying to dominate the rest of the emotions so that Riley will always feel happy. However, as the movie progresses, we will learn that true happiness is not just about Joy alone. Instead, Sadness also has a lot to contribute to a person’s happiness and so do Anger, Fear and Disgust.
In the movie, you will learn that all emotions are equally important. While our ultimate goal is happiness, it is something that should not be forced. True happiness will come in due time. And it will only come if we learn to embrace even the negative emotions in our lives including sadness. Yes, it’s okay to not be okay at times. What is important is how we can overcome the pain and rise above the situation.