EMOTIONS AND THE MIND
Your emotions control everything you do. From making things happen to engaging in conversation or travelling somewhere, emotions rule us even if we may not acknowledge them. Sometimes you may even feel your emotions as a bodily reaction.
But emotions are not simple. In fact, throughout human history this subject has been the source of major debate among the scientific crowd. And now, more than ever before, it has become extremely important to understand it scientifically.
This is because not only do emotions underlie the stress we experience, they also influence the decisions we make. They motivate our actions and change our lives.
EMOTIONS THROUGH THE AGES
One concept that has gripped humans through time is the relationship between intellect and emotions. And the idea that emotions affect both our mind and body has only been accepted recently.
Theories of emotions and the emotional experience, their origin and nature, have been around for a long time. Some stated that emotions were simply a construct of the brain. Some said they run through our blood. Others correlated memory as the key to emotions. But in all these theories there has been one constant – the concept that the mind and emotions are separate from each other.
Plato once compared emotions to wild horses. According to him, they were something that needed to be tamed with the help of reason. In fact, Christians have long held the belief that some emotions are sinful and need to be overcome by sheer willpower.
All in all emotions have been traditionally considered to be irrational and something undesirable. But research has now proven that emotions, contrary to what people believe, are actually essential for the human experience and rationality.
MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL COHERENCE
Our body and mind are connected. That’s why our performance, cognition and health suffers when our intellect and emotions are not in tune with each other.
When our mental and emotional systems are “out of tune”, our performance is compromised. This is because we are not motivated to complete the task we set out to do. This greatly reduces our insight and creative process, and ultimately may even get in the way of accomplishing important activities.
When there is coherence between our mental and emotional systems, that is, when these two are synchronized, we become more efficient and our performance soars. In fact, all the five senses, including the mental faculties are greatly enhanced when there is coherence between emotions and the mind.
For example, you must have noticed that when your entire focus is on achieving an outcome, you end up accomplishing it. But if your mind is distracted by feelings of rage towards someone, you are unable to work as efficiently, if at all.
THE HEART AND EMOTIONS
The heart has long since been associated with feelings of emotions, at least metaphorically. But research has now shown that the heart is indeed the gateway to our emotional experiences.
At present the scientific community is very much interested in exploring the depths of our emotions and the concept of coherence. But on a more practical level, achieving this coherence is what matters at the end of the day.