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What is an Emotion?

How does the Brain deal with Feelings?

Are you wondering what exactly an emotion is? The teachings of REBT, or rational emotive behavioral therapy, tell us that there is a physical and a mental component to emotions. So what is an emotion? It is explained in detail of the two parts here. 

The physical part, that which we have no control over, is caused by the transmission of hormones throughout your body. The mental component of an emotion, however, we have complete control over: we choose whether or not to react to a situation, or in what fashion we do react.

The physical part of an emotion uses a chemical messenger called a hormone that moves throughout your body and attaches to receptors at various sites. 

Such things as flushing of the skin, tensing of muscles, watery eyes, fatigue, and many other physical symptoms can be attributed to hormones; usually, the physical comes after the mental. 

This means that if you can competently control your mental reaction to an emotion, you can figuratively head off the physical effects and not have to deal with it.

The mental element is where most of our problems lie. To truly master it, we must separate the “What?” from the “Why?”; that is, you must realize that a situation doesn’t create an emotional reaction: how you choose to react to the situation creates the emotional response. If you realize that, you can begin to master control over your emotional mind and react to situations rationally.

When you master the mental piece of the puzzle, you can work on the physical part. The best method to control a physical reaction is focusing on a single thought, a single memory in many cases, and controlling your breathing. 

Rhythmic breathing and complete focus will shut out the outside stimuli, and allow your body to quickly return to it’s normal state.

Therapy such as REBT is used in the treatment of such wide ranging cases as sexual abuse, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, agoraphobia, and, on a case by case basis, generally anywhere you see an emotional reaction to a stimuli. 

When we allow our emotions to control us, we’re at the mercy of instinct and chemicals rushing throughout our bodies. By grabbing the reins, we can react to difficult situations rationally when needed, and control our response.

Many among us let emotions control us. When you start to understand what causes an emotional response, though, you can better guard yourself against it. 

With time, you can even control your reply to stimuli; rationally reacting to situations when needed, but still being able to show and feel intense emotion when you deem it necessary. Mastery of our own humanity, then, is the goal.


What is an Emotion

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