A List of Emotions Can Give Clarity
to Our Feelings

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List of Emotions

A list of emotions can be very helpful in understanding and dealing with the feelings we experience. The more specific we can get about what we are feeling, and why, the more easily we will be able to work through the feelings and ultimately release them.

We can also use a list of emotions to help us categorize different types of feelings, and understand which basic emotions or events may lead to experiencing a variety of secondary emotions. Within the field of psychology, there are widely differing opinions of what the basic human emotions actually are. A list of emotions which seems fairly complete and logical to me is a list published by W. Gerrod Parrott in 2001 in his book ‘Emotions in Social Psychology.’

Parrot states that there are aspects of emotions that are often dealt with separately, but can only be understood fully as a whole. For example, both disappointment and shame are emotions that stem from the primary emotion of sadness. If we only realize that we are disappointed, without understanding that beneath the feeling we notice having there is a deeper emotion, we are only going to achieve surface awareness.

It is by understanding the depths of our emotions that we can begin to free ourselves from the hold they seem to have over us at times. While a list created by experts can definitely give us some insight and guidance as to how emotions can be linked, the only list of emotions that can truly explore the very personal feelings that we each have is a list we compile ourselves.

It is sometimes suggested that the root of almost every negative emotion is fear, and I believe that this holds some truth. Whatever other emotions we are feeling, if we keep looking deeper into our hearts, we will often discover underlying fears.

On the list of emotions by Parrot, fear is listed as a primary emotion, with two secondary emotions of horror and nervousness. The list branches out further to add alarm, shock, fear, fright, terror, panic, hysteria, and mortification as tertiary emotions coming from horror. Nervousness filters down to anxiety, tenseness, uneasiness, apprehension, worry, distress, and dread.

It is interesting to think about how these emotions relate, and whether, in a particular case you can trace your own surface emotions back to the ones listed. Usually the emotions we notice first are the more superficial ones. The primary emotions are often buried deeper, more intense, and harder to deal with.

I don’t know about you, but if I was feeling mortified at something I had done, I don’t know that I would naturally relate that mortification back to fear. Horror, perhaps, at having behaved so inappropriately, but on initial consideration, I don’t think I would have listed fear as the deepest cause. However, as I now ponder the idea, I can see that perhaps the mortification and horror would stem from an underlying fear of looking stupid, being laughed at, shunned, or ostracized.

Parrot’s list of emotions also links the secondary emotion of envy to the primary emotion of anger, then branching off into jealousy. I have always thought that jealousy was strongly based in fear, but I can see how it could also have strong components of anger. Anger is most often caused by a perceived loss of control over things that are important to us in some way. If someone else has attained the goals or possessions that we wish to have, when we have been unable to attain these ourselves, this could result in a feeling of being out of control of our lives, and a perception that others have the control we feel we are lacking.

Whatever it is that you are feeling; good, bad, or somewhere in between, and we are always feeling something, take the time to develop your understanding of your emotions. Sometimes the simple act of noticing what you are feeling can make a big difference to how greatly your feelings affect your life for better or worse.

Just jotting down a quick list of emotions, possible causes, and deeper feelings can release some of the pressure that builds up from unexpressed and unexplored emotions. Putting thoughts and feelings on paper can be very powerful at taking them out of the realm of your mind, and helping put an end to the free reign that they often seize.

Whenever you sense that something is bothering you, take some immediate action, however small, to regain control over your sense of balance. Start putting emotions in their place as a part of your life experience, but not the master of it.

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