Emotions and feelings are central to our life. They allow us to exist and achieve the fullness of our personality by motivating us towards that which is good. However, as a result of traumatic experiences, our emotional life can become disordered. This abnormal expression of emotion can only be understood and addressed by having an adequate understanding of how emotions work and develop within the person. This essay will seek to outline what emotions are, how they develop and how they relate to motivation and thought processes. A brief study of anxiety will seek to show how emotions can become disordered, and the ways in which ‘emotional literacy’ provides a means of addressing this problem.
While our whole life is built around emotion, many people do not understand what they are or how they develop. Every person has the ability to experience and express emotion. Since emotions are natural, the act of feeling emotion is morally neutral . Each person has some degree of control over what they feel and how they express and share their feelings . Emotional responses are both physiological and psychological. These responses influence perception, learning and performance. Emotions are instruments that aim at “the possession of s
This expression leads to action, causing the person to respond to the object according to their judgement . The individual seeks to restructure their goals, choosing to seek the correct values in a responsible and realistic way . In this sense, emotion is designed to serve the person and allow them to satisfy a present demand . uitable objects", thus leading us to "reach the perfection of our personality" . In the case of neurotic anxiety, the primary defence mechanism is repression. A situation or object may become "conditioned"tm according to a particular emotion. This emotional habit forms gradually through repeated encounters, however, a traumatic experience may cause this learning to occur suddenly . Perception must occur before an emotion can arise. By understanding the many stages that form emotions in a person, the pastoral worker can work backwards, step by step, until they reach the original event that may have caused such damaging ways of thinking. This inevitably gives rise to neurotic behaviour. Normal anxiety is an expression of the self-preservation instinct and plays an important biological role . These tools are essentially a knowledge of how emotion functions and how emotional judgement is formed. The person avoids painful elements of these experiences by dissociating them from the rest of their consciousness . Arnold and Gasson suggest the method of existential analysis.