There are different types of emotion that serve us on a daily basis. In this module of the emotions masterclass for men we are going to consider where or how they might be showing up in your relationships. This will help you build a bigger picture before we look at how many emotions there are and how they form the wheel of emotions. Those topics will be coming up in module 3 and 4. But first this:
In a sense, all types of emotion could be considered positive because they serve a purpose. As revealed in module 1, why we have emotions, the purpose was originally to either protect us or support us and contribute to the continued evolution of the species.
We must first understand that the individuals experience of reality is only a second hand reflection of sensory information. Let me give you an extreme example. If you aren't already familiar with the Iceman, Wim Hof, check out his incredible ability to lower himself unde ice covered open water and meditate. Do you think Wim experiences cold water differently to others? Have you tried a cold shower?
The purpose of the different types of emotion is to add colour, depth and context to your experience of reality. Which suggests that positive types of emotion arouse the positive internal responses to the external sensory cue's, or stimulus. That is to say, they provide some level of reward attributed to the stimulus. Much of the processing is completely unconscious.
Think of a piece of music you absolutely love. Does it trigger positive memories or positive feelings?
How about the smell of baking bread or a certain perfume?
Positive emotions enhance the experience and your unconscious mind will begin to catalogue the experience as positive. Then the magic happens. Your brain knows to reward you by firing the attraction signals. Chemicals and hormones such as dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins are released literally for your pleasure.
Dopamine is the “feel-good” hormone, and neurotransmitter associated with your brain’s reward system. Dopamine enhances the state of pleasure but it also helps with learning, and memory, hence the use of powerful imagery in mind maps.
Serotonin helps regulate your mood as well as your sleep. You may have heard that melatonin is what our body produces to help us go to sleep, but serotonin helps us maintain a sleep state. This hormone (and neurotransmitter) is also associated with learning ability, and memory. Take a deep breath and let it go with a big relaxing sigh. Ahh, thats what serotonin feels like.
Oxytocin is the “love hormone.” It is why mothers love their babies at childbirth. It is critical for initial breastfeeding the newborn, and strong mother-child bonding.
Oxytocin is believed to promote trust, empathy, and bonding in relationships too. Oxytocin levels generally increase with physical affection like kissing, touching, hugging, and sex. Studies have shown that couples who are more physically affectionate with each other are more likely to stay together. Give someone a quick hug for five seconds. It's ok.
Give someone a big hug for twenty seconds or more and its transformed. Why? Oxytocin.
There is a caveat to this idea though. Not all individuals value touch in the same way. One person might value their personal space whilst their partner might value closeness and touch. If you can compromise, the relationship might be ok for a while, but it might begin to feel cold or clingy later. All just types of emotion stored and processed in different ways.
Endorphins are your pituitary glands neural pharmacy response to stress or discomfort. Not only are endorphins released to inhibit the communication of pain signals, but levels increase when you engage in positive emotion activities, such as eating a meal, exercise, or having sex. Some studies also suggest endorphins may also produce a feeling of euphoria.
Thats why having a fish tank is so pleasing. You get to experience those indoor fins! (Doh! Tell your kids, they'll love it!)
To bring all this together, positive types of emotion are how you recognise the reward producing activities.
When you saw your partners eyes for the first time did you just see the eyes? Or did you experience more than seeing?
How would you describe the moment? What emotions were triggered? Which hormones do you think were at play?
What is your favourite meal? Think about all the emotions it conjures in you.
What is your most treasured possession? What are the positive thoughts you hold toward it? Think about how that makes you feel.
If positive emotions are linked to reward, negative types of emotion must surely be linked to threatening situations or experiences. In fact, anything generally unpleasant could have once been experienced as a threat to our human existence, hence the reason why we developed the sense of unpleasantness in the first place. Your brain is constantly analysing the types of emotional response your sensory inputs are triggering.
Think of a time when you were learning to drive. Did you screw up at first? How did that feel? Did that type of emotion response motivate you to get better or stop you in your tracks?
I rode a motorcycle for a while. I was knocked off by a car which pulled right across my path as I was filtering along the outside of the lane. Fortunately for me it was low speed, and I escaped unharmed, but the damage to my bike was significant. It served as a warning and I never got on a bike again. I wasn't afraid of getting on a bike, it just didn't make sense for me to take the risk. Emotions can lead to decisions which have consequences which lead to types of emotion about the decision.
Did you ever get so drunk as a teenager on a particular drink that you were ill? Could you stomach the drink again afterwards? Southern Comfort played its wicked game with my. I couldn't touch the stuff again for years. Protective, negative emotional response as my body associated pain to the aroma of the drink.
Negative types of emotion are the long term results of the fight or flight or panic situations faced by our ancestors. The difference we can appreciate now is that there is a graduating scale of negative emotions. Not all of them will produce the same level of hormones. In fact, some negativity in our experience can have a positive motivational impact. At least in the short term. The problem occurs when the negative emotions become overwhelming for the system.
Adrenaline is the pump up and hulk out hormone. Anger, fear, aggression, and threat can trigger adrenaline which stimulates our blood circulation, and heart rate. This provided instant energy to deal with the tiger we were facing, back in the day.
Cortisol is the stress hormone, which allows us to focus on the stressful situation. It helps redirect our bodies production and prioritises the energy flow. For example, it can shut down your digestive system, which creates the stomach ache or butterflies type sensations.
Whilst a little stress is good, repetitive stress is not. There is more information on stress relief under the Mens Health section. I won't give you a link but you will find it in the site menu on the left.
Think of a time when your work didn't go to plan and you missed a deadline. How did that make you feel? What emotions were present? What was the impact on your body?
Consider a time when you were driving your car and another road user created a problem for you. What were you thinking at the time? What was the impact of your thinking? What were the consequences for you?
Compare your two lists of the types of emotion you have noticed in the past three days.
Where are you spending the bulk of your time and focus?
Where do you currently live in terms of your emotions?
If this is throwing up even more emotions for you as you think about it, get excited because they are leading you to your breakthrough.
My clients are generally men experiencing relationship and emotional challenges. Transforming a breakdown or break up into a breakthrough is my purpose.
So now you know a little more about the different types of emotion and how they play around in your life and relationships. Was that a blast? Would you be happy to share this Emotions Master Class For Men with your network?
Get ready to be mind blown as I reveal how to enrich your relationships by improving emotional self awareness in module 3 of your Emotions Masterclass For Men.
Improving your emotional self awareness is a key step to enrich your life and transform a relationship breakdown or break up into a relationship breakthrough.
See you on the flip side.
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