Your Basic Emotions

I belong to a group of business owners who get together monthly to discuss our businesses (and lives) in order to share experiences that might help the others deal with issues in their lives. We have a formal process for presenting issues to the group that includes a statement of how the issue makes you feel. Constantly we debate about the choices of feelings made available to us on our form. Now, I have ammunition to change the form. Psychologists are in total agreement that there are six basic emotions: joy, sadness, anger, fear, surprise and disgust. Of course, there are many contending to be added to that list: avarice, embarrassment, boredom, depression, jealousy, and love. The biggest contenders, according to a recent article in New Scientist, are these five: elevation, interest, gratitude, pride, and confusion.

Most of us can’t distinguish what emotion we’re feeling most of the time anyway, even when dealing with the big six. Imagine trying to determine if you’re feeling gratitude, love, or joy when your husband cleans the kitchen without prompting? It will quickly turn your feeling to one of confusion, don’t you think?

The interesting thing about all of this research is that the researchers are gaining an ability to determine the emotion you’re feeling even if you can’t put a name to it. If they know more about what you’re feeling than you do, then they’re in a position to take advantage of that knowledge. I’m fascinated by the whole thing. Wait! Fascination. Perhaps I’ve found yet another for the contender list.

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