After speaking to Sean Webb of Mind Hacking Happiness on the podcast, I realized there are a lot of human emotions we are never quite able to explain. Sometimes, we know we feel a certain way, but it’s impossible to explain why, or even find the words. We just FEEL it.
Well did you know there are actually a lot of names for human emotions you probably didn’t know you had?
Sometimes that is half the trouble of trying to deal with emotions, not being able to explain them. As humans, we naturally want to be able to but a label on something, identify it, solve it.
There becomes a sort of internal frustration when we do not have the vocabulary to articulate the emotions we feel. This is often when mental illnesses can develop.
With modern developments in neuroscience, we now can see certain areas of the brain where emotions occur: anger, sadness, envy, fear, happiness, pride. Of course, this doesn’t actually tell us what that emotion means. Knowing where anger is occurring in the brain anatomically, doesn’t let us know what we are angry about and why.
One would also assume that the more we come to understand the brain, the more we realize how complex it actually is. It’s the old saying that “the more you know, the more you realize how little you know”.
We are now aware of the concept of 1st and 2nd level emotions.
1st level emotions
First level emotions are the aforementioned emotions of fear, anger, sadness, happiness. They are our primary emotions. They form the initial response of the limbic system and spark off several secondary emotions as a result.
2nd level emotions
Second level emotions form deeper branches of 1st level emotions. For example, lust turns into love, sadness can into guilt and worry. These 2nd level emotions are what development and cognitive ability to develop with age.
It is for this reason that a large proportion of people end up seeing psychologists later in life! Their limbic system has not developed the 2nd level emotions enough for them to make a connection and understand WHY.
Emotions are also reactions to changing stimuli within the body and outside the body that can be triggered in different ways. It is the ability to understand these triggers that is important. That allows you to intercept the process.
Often we follow a 3 step process when trying to process our emotions:
- We FEEL the emotion
- We try to UNDERSTAND or make sense of the feeling
- We REACT or take action based on this feeling
As we have established, there are many human emotions we just don’t simply have the vocabulary for. If we cannot understand them, we are skipping a step in the process.