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The mindpower of Emotions: Components and Competency

The Components and Competency of Emotions can be understood as a subjective state of our mind, characterized by powerful responses or reactions to internal stimuli or events in our surroundings. A positive or negative emotional response is therefore found to be directly linked with the circumstances that triggers that specific basic emotion.
For instance, when a person gets selected for a job, they may experience joy, or when they receive news of losing a job, they may feel sad or disgusted. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), emotions involve a complex reaction pattern that includes experiential, behavioral, and physiological elements. Emotions assist individuals in dealing with personal matters or significant situations in their lives. People accumulate emotions through experiences, shaping “our feelings,” often impacted by memories and beliefs. On the other hand, the APA sees mood as “any short-lived emotional state, usually of low intensity, lacking stimuli with no clear starting point”.

According to Psychology, We divide Emotions into the following Components and Competencies:

  1. Basic emotions are the ones that are recognizable facial expressions & occur spontaneously. Darwin said emotions are adaptive, played a role in human survival. Psychologist Paul Ekman identified six basic emotions interpreted through facial expressions viz; happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise and disgust. People are born with unmixed and innate basic emotions.
  2. Complex Emotions: The APA defines complex emotions as “aggregates of two or more emotions. The classic example is ‘hate’ being a fusion of fear, anger, and disgust. Other examples are love, embarrassment, envy, gratitude, guilt, pride, and worry, among many others.  These emotions vary in facial appearances& are not easy to recognize.
The complete image of an emotion is a mix of cognition, bodily experience, limbic/pre-conscious experience, &action.

Any kind of emotional experience consists of three components

  1. Subjective experience includes simple stimuli like color and significant events like marriage or loss.
  2. Physiological Response: The autonomic nervous system causes physiological responses to subjective experiences, such as rapid heartbeat or tears. These responses are active, rather than passive.
  3. Behavioral or Expressive Response. People express emotions through behaviors like smiles, laughs, or sighs, and other reactions based on personality traits.

To explain the phenomenon of emotions & emotional experiences, many psychologists & neuroscientists proposed various theories since the early 19th century. For example, James-Lange Theory of Emotion hypothesizes that physiological stimuli (arousal) cause the autonomic nervous system to react in ways like fast heartbeat, tensed muscles, sweating & eventually one experiences emotion implicating that the physiological response comes before emotional behavior. Later, Cannon-Bard Theory of Emotion refuted the James-Lange theory affirming that bodily changes and emotions occur simultaneously instead of one by one. Neurobiology backs this theory, which emphasizes that stimulating information relays to both the amygdala and cortex at the same time, making arousal and emotion concurrent events. Further Cognitive appraisal theory by Lazarus, came into picture stating that thinking ought to occur before an emotional experience. So, sequentially, one will experience a stimulus first, then think over it, and later parallelly experience a physiological response & emotion.

The Components and Competency of Emotions play a crucial role in understanding and managing our daily lives. Understanding how emotions impact our choices and actions is crucial. By analyzing the cognitive aspects of emotions before responding, we can have a long-lasting emotional experience and manage and control various mood disorders and anxiety with greater ease and stability. Knowing emotional components and competence can help regulate responses and enhance well-being.
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