As humans we experience different types of emotions and feelings. Some lists contain up to 1000 different ways of expressing emotions.
We tend to classify this range of mental states as positive or negative emotion, but that is not necessarily accurate.
There is some confusion over whether emotions and feelings are the same thing. We freely talk about how we feel when describing emotional states, and use the words interchangeably.
Actually, there are only three types of feelings: pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral. We feel these physiological changes as various sensations in the body. These sensations ebb and flow along with our emotions.
The relationship of mental states and physical sensations, also known as emotions and feelings is a perfect example of just how intertwined the mind body connection is.
When you say, "I feel anxious, angry, happy...", what you are really doing is interpreting emotion by how it feels to your mind and body.
These emotionally-induced feelings span the range of feeling really good to feeling downright awful. They often cause us to act or react, sometimes in ways we wish we didn't.
Emotions are 'energy in motion'. As humans, we respond to our thoughts with emotions and feelings, followed by actions. Actions and responses cause our mental states to shift, and so the cycle continues. Sometimes it appears as though we are expressing emotions without any preceding thoughts at all.
The subconscious mind is the source of emotional states, even though we experience them consciously. For example, when I imagine public speaking, my 'energy in motion' feels like butterflies in my stomach. I translate that as 'I feel anxious'.
Noticing this can be very useful for healing and personal evolution.
Different types of feelings and emotions provide a great deal of insight into subconscious programming. With that understanding, we are often able to open doors to emotional, mental, and sometimes even physical healing.
Even though we experience countless shades of emotions that continuously ebb and flow, experts classify them into groups of primary emotions.
According to the teachings of Abraham-Hicks, there are 22 types of emotions on the Emotional Guidance Scale. These range from Joy/Knowledge/Empowerment/Freedom/Love/Appreciation at the top of the scale down to Fear/Grief/Depression/Despair/Powerlessness at the bottom of the scale.
American psychologist Robert Plutchik developed a wheel of emotions as a model to describe human emotions. He proposed that all people experience a basic set of primary emotions. Our many and varied types of emotions all stem from these primary emotions. These natural mental states directly relate to behaviors that help us adapt and improve our chances of survival.
Seeing a car race towards you (trigger) causes you to perceive a threat (thought) that triggers fear (emotion). Unpleasant feelings, such as taking a quick, sharp breath and a pounding heart follow. We respond by slamming on the brakes (action).
The eight sectors of Plutchik's Wheel show the eight primary emotions. Each state has an opposite. Emotions are related and increase in intensity as you move toward the center of the circle. Annoyance is a mild form of anger. Rage is intense anger. The white areas show the emotion that is related to the two emotions near it. For example, serenity and acceptance is love.
Of course, human emotions are not this simple. We are always experiencing and expressing emotions, and can experience several in close succession. We easily move up and down the intensity scale in a matter of seconds. Each emotion can be accompanied by different types of feelings.
Just watch infants or very young children who have yet to learn how to hide their feelings to see the range of emotion in action. They express emotions in rapid succession with every changing thought and it shows just as instantaneously in their faces and bodies.
Intense emotions and feelings take a lot of energy and are often short-lived. Ecstatic love and its rush of happy love hormones 'fade' to serenity and acceptance. Some people confuse this with falling out of love, but really this is just a calm, more natural, enduring state.
Besides being a model that shows the relationship of different types of emotions to each other, the wheel of emotions can also be used as a visual aid for healing.
For example, if your thoughts about a past trauma typically induced feelings of terror and now you just feel some mild fear, that is progress in a more positive direction.
Likewise, you can increase your level of optimism by moving up the scale from serenity to joy. Love grows as you move up the scale from accepting yourself to trusting yourself to admiration.
The Abraham-Hicks guide is used in a similar way. Your goal is to shift to a more pleasant (less stressful) feeling. So if you are expressing emotions like anger or revenge, moving up the scale to discouragement or worry would be a positive shift.
Expressing emotions, even negative emotion, is natural. Channeled appropriately they help us move energy and take action. Only when they become habitual and destructive do they lose their positive power and become an obstacle to our well-being.