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Understanding Emotions - Dresses That Read Emotions?

Updated on December 3, 2012

Bubelle in Action

A human being is composed of a physical body, a unique essence or spirit, and a soul that is made up of emotions, the mind, and behaviors.

Not everyone believes that a human being has a spirit, but I think most can agree that a person has a body, emotions, a mind (cognition), and a set of behaviors.

Psychology tells us that a person's set of behaviors is the personality. Some classes are teaching children that personality is "what they do" and character is "who they are", but I think that these two entities overlap. I think that character encompasses one's values and that one's values and resultant attitudes lead directly to one's behaviors. I think that personality and character are as much combined as mind and body are combined - and being within the same vessel, the mind and body are connected by the central nervous system (CNS). This has given rise to science fiction about robots and various forms of Artificial Intelligence.

Bicentennial Man, starring Robin Williams, is a good film example of an Isaac Asimov novel asking the question "When does a machine become a man?" AI is another good film example. The overriding question is "What makes a human being human and what is the origin of the soul - the emotions, mind, and behaviors?"

Developmental Time Line

I have a research psychiatrist acquaintance at the Houk Institute that reports it is proven that a human fetus is not human being until 23 weeks, because that is the point at which the neurological system develops a soul and a conscience - and thus, emotions. The researchers have set out to map every area of the brain and pinpoint its functions and the time in development at which these areas come to life.

Whatever the case along a development timeline, where the mind can go, one's body can follow.

This is illustrated by the fact that I was able to undergo a root canal on a live tooth without anesthetic. It is also demonstrated by one of my clients that, after 15 years of smoking 3 packs of cigarettes per day, felt that he had never smoked before after his first session of relaxation and smoking cessation therapy. This does not happen for everyone, but the mind is powerful. The CNS is connected to the mind and the emotions that are felt in the body and perceived in the mind are created ion the CNS as well.

A wearable emotion detector for use in treating Fear of Flying.
A wearable emotion detector for use in treating Fear of Flying.

Emotions have a Chemical Basis, & EMG Results.

For the sake of argument, if you trace emotions back to the (original) fight or flight response, you find a rise in adrenalin and stress hormones (chemicals).

A human was first presented with an impending danger long ago. This presentation of danger created an abundance of adrenalin and stress hormones for the human to use in order to mobilize his body for 1) self defense or 2) retreat, depending on which of the two responses seemed to be more potentially successful to the individual. This phenomenon is evidenced today by the parent that lifts a car by herself in order to free their trapped toddler from underneath. It keeps a father awake for days in order to search for his missing child. It keeps soldiers alert on the battlefield during days-long battles. It keeps refugees successfully on their escape route from their oppressive governments. It keeps a husband awake by the bedside of his wife who is dying of cancer. After the crisis incident is past, the individual often collapses into a period of sleep or relative inactivity in order for the body to recover from the rise in chemical levels.

The rise of these chemicals in the body during crisis situations create emotions, notably: fear, anger, frustration, impatience, revulsion, disgust, suspicion, hatred, envy, jealousy and other negative feelings that are felt in the mind and the body simultaneously. Ongoing research into the phenomenon of negative emotions (actually the chemicals related to them) and their negative impact on the body and mind to create chronic (long-term) illnesses is available on the Internet and from the National Institutes of Health and National Institutes of Alternative Health in Washington, DC and the Mayo Clinic online, among others.

As the levels of chemicals rise in the body during a crisis, they increase heart and respiration rates and blood pressure. Pain can be the stimulus that causes these chemical levels to rise for prolonged periods -- I have found many pain and stress clients to exhibit and even admit to anger, sadness, fear, and frustration. These individuals have tended to cycle in to higher levels of pain and emotions and then become exhausted and finally able to sleep. Upon awakening, the pain creates rising chemical levels again and the cycle continues. This is complicated by factors such as pain that does not respond to medication and exercise, needing increasing medication dosages for the same effect, increased sugar and /or alcohol intake as a self-medicating behavior, and others.

Whatever negative emotion one may feel, it can be reduced in intensity.
Whatever negative emotion one may feel, it can be reduced in intensity.

Recognizing Emotions

Individuals with Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorders often have difficulty in recognizing emotions in other people and in differentiating one emotion form another. The links below discuss that phenomenon more fully and the links thereafter provide resources for healthy emotions, including the popular efficacious Emotion Flashcards that help teach what the emotions look like on the face.

Autism and Growth Hormone in Boys

Multiple Causes of Autism Spectrum Disorders

"Stubborn" flashcard from ABCTeach
"Stubborn" flashcard from ABCTeach

Relaxation therapy can help reduce the negative emotions and prevent quick rises in adrenalin and stress hormones during crises.

In one state Bureau of Workers Compensation rehab division (where relaxation therapy was used), clients were often able to be weaned off 50-100% of medications in 6-12 weeks. However, when they returned to a stressful home life, the positive results of their programs were erased for some of them in short order. This is because some of them were verbally attacked by spouses and partners on a daily basis for their reduced income stemming from their industrial injuries and for the fact that they were able to "go away to a program and have a good time without them."

In tracing emotions back to the fight or flight response, psychology has placed first emphasis on negative emotions and their role in preserving the individual and species survival. In the absence of negative emotions, positive emotions can presumably arise. Scholars of emotion, such as Robert Plutchik and Paul Ekman, name only a few positive emotions: joy/happiness, contentment, and acceptance; perhaps curiosity. That's not very many. There is no mention of "love." In fact, some theorists believe that "love" is a romanticized name for a function of race survival, attached to reproduction between reproducing mates, and parent-to-child -- For them; love does not exist except as a luxury in a society that is already vitally full of people and perhaps overproducing. People can feel freer to marry for love and not for survival.

See my related Hub regarding Major Causes of Divorce for an explanation: Major_Causes_Of_Divorce

Ross Szabo speaks on mental health and his book "Behind Happy Faces" released 8/07

Overpopulaton Stimulates Emotions

As overpopulation becomes a larger problem as it increases, the too-many-rats-in-a-small-box phenomenon from an old science experiment manifests and humans become irritated with one another, argue, feud, and finally begin to attack others or even themselves in response to the stress of close quarters. Such a population may kill itself off.

Animals caught in a fight-or-flight situation and unable to make up their minds sometimes simply begin grooming themselves. Rats in a box containing too many rats kill each other or chew their own legs and tails off.

I don't see much love among people recently on TV shows form Jerry Springer, Maury Povich, or Dr. Phil, who has been concentrating on solving abusive relationships. My own work with people that have extricated themselves from abusive relationships has revealed that they often feel "numb" afterward - unable to feel positive emotions. At times, they seek out additional abuse so that they can feel SOMEthing. Some recover after a period and begin to trust and to feel affection, love, and happiness.

Emotions can help humans survive in crisis (fight or flight), but they can be controlled and channeled in crisis situations so that they can accomplish the most good, with training. This can be relaxation training or meditative types of exercises.

Emotions also can be suppressed almost permanently in some individuals. In cases of permanent suppression, there may be a psychological or physical disorder underlying this phenomenon and a complete evaluation smay be required, first by a medical doctor and then a therapist if a physical cause is not revealed.

For example, abused individuals, depressed persons, and physically ill people may exhibit a low level of emotional expression. A child that is yelled at, punished, or locked in a room alone for displaying emotion every time he does so may learn not to express any emotion at all or he may constantly rage.

A person that is completely ignored in the workplace by everyone will likely either act out for attention, become depressed, or absorb themselves in work they make for themselves.

However, some individuals exhibit emotion at higher levels only with close friends and/or family members and this is their right. There are many reasons possible for what others may term "lack of emotion." It is a complex phenomenon and if one's emotional status is problematic in that it interfres with life, there are reosurces that can help (see links).

From tracing emotions in humanity back to the beginning of fight or flight, we might find that happiness and joy occur only because there is no crisis. This gives rise to the bumper sticker often seen; "Life is s*** (bad) and then you die."

I think that there is more to life than avoiding crises and there is a better origin for joy than the lack of problems. Some individuals are more resilient in their physical and mental makeup and are less prone to negative emotions.

The Bible speaks of a spiritual "joy unspeakable" and the scriptures of many religions point to peace and joy as a goal, but if one doesn't believe that people have an essence or spirit, perhaps this is less possible. However, I think that whatever one's beliefs, people can enjoy happiness. I think joy can be established in the way human beings treat one another on earth.

Since the universe tends toward disorder, this may take some work on our part.

I wish you peace and joy today.


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    • profile image

      ed77burns 7 years ago

      The video you uploaded is fantastic.Felt nice to read an emotional hub.

    • profile image

      tommyboy 7 years ago

      A surprised post. Thank you. Nice to know that I am having chemical emotions.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Thanks for the comments!

      Tadeuz598 - a long relationship would take a lot of work, wouldn't it?

    • Tadeusz598 profile image

      Tadeusz598 8 years ago from Florianopolis/ London/ Aberdeen

      we live considerably longer than we did before, so the chances of a marriage becoming stale are much greater.

    • lxxy profile image

      lxxy 8 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

      Love this, very interesting.

    • profile image

      Job Nigeria 9 years ago

      Great hub......i just realize now...thanks


      Job Nigeria

    • profile image

      arturo pena 10 years ago

      I was going thou a painful experience but got a quick divorce and went past it in a couple of weeks.Divorce liberates your life and makes you a happier person if you are with someone you don't like. I got at <a href="">my divorce</a> wdalaw