Characteristics of Emotions

You Expressed, But Never Noticed These Characteristics of Emotions

Emotions can bring us up or down and nothing changes faster than them. Learn more about them in this article.
We laugh when we feel happy and we cry when we are sad. Joy is characterized by closeness, by a certain contact and a level of psychometric expression, whereas sadness is associated with withdrawal and coldness. Voice changes for each and every emotion, and especially for anger. But although the changes in facial mimics are crucial for expressing emotions, they are hardly noticeable. This may probably be due to the fact that they are insufficiently perceived during the action by the actors themselves and therefore, they are very little retained.
There is one type of emotion that is more distinguishable than all the others because of its high intensity, and that one is anger. It also occurs more often and it is submitted to a more intense control. As far as its duration is concerned, it may differ quite a lot for each type of emotion. Thus, fear lasts from a few seconds to one hour maximum, and that may certainly be due to the fact that it is related to very precise and unexpected stimulus, which necessarily causes adaptation reactions such as running, submission, aversion, tranquility, which can make the emotion vanish away quite soon.
Anger can last from a few minutes to a few hours. Because it is very much related to the person or the situation which has caused it, the emotional experience decreases as the subject gets more adapted or as the situation gradually changes, and especially if the angry person is no longer submitted to the element that provoked his/her anger. Joy can last from one hour to a whole day, depending on the importance of the social context. Finally, sadness can last from one to more days, often requiring a period of mourning and adapting to the new relational situation.
Emotional control has certain effects. There is an implicit conception of the chronology of the emotions. First the emotions are stirred, then reactions follow, and then these reactions are submitted to control. This conception may indeed presuppose a theoretical simplification which generates ambiguities, because the adjustment of emotions can occur at different levels: an individual level (individual homeostasis) and a social level (social homeostasis). Certain reactions such as expressive, discharging reactions described above, i.e. crying, laughter, and gesticulation play an important role in the individual homeostasis. They are perceived as necessary and allow a state of beneficial relief. In these cases, the reaction itself is the one which regulates the emotional status.
On the other hand, it's true that the public emotional manifestations submit to certain conventionality and also to the social or inter-individual homeostasis. The two aspects, the individual and the social control are strongly related and the surface reaction is the result of combining the spontaneous expression tendency with its control.
Feelings and emotions are so strongly interconnected with motivation, that most psychologists treat them together. They are considered to be the interior side of behavior, while tendencies and valences seem to be its manifested side. This does not mean that they have identical functions. Transactions between tendencies and valences are controlled by social norms and they observe the law of ethics. The transactions between hereditary emotions and acquired feelings are controlled by our interior health and happiness. They depend on the harmonious development of our personality, expressed by mental hygiene and promoted by art and literature.
Our social action and our productive work aim at fulfilling our duty. The inner peace of our minds aims at asserting our very own identity. Consequently, our psychic emotional status does not include just emotions and feelings, which are the inner side of valences and tendencies. They also include their system of adjustment, represented by feelings of pleasure, power and weakness, attraction or repulsion versus love and hatred. Like Carl Gustav Jung once said, they introduce judgment values into our lives. However, these judgment values do not pertain to the realm of truth, which can be approached with the help of cognitive logics, nor do they belong to the realm of science, justice, beauty, kindness, and so on. But they do pertain to health and happiness, and perhaps to beauty and they can be approached with the help of affective logics which are typical of art and literature.