Types of emotions: keys to good emotional intelligence

To develop a good emotional intelligence It is necessary to learn to distinguish the different types of emotions. According to Goleman, there are two, the primaries, which are part of our DNA, and the secondary ones, which depend on the learning of each individual.

Emotions are an essential part of human beings. They occur in almost every situation of our day to day since we are babies and, even, since we are in the womb. Learning to recognize them is necessary for a healthy development of our emotional intelligence.

Begoña Ibarrola, psychologist and expert in Emotional Education, makes a classification of emotions into two types, according to the model of Daniel Goleman. On the one hand, there are primary emotions, which are part of our genetic code and are presented in the same way in all human beings; and, on the other hand, high schools. The latter are learned throughout life.


The primary emotions

"The primary emotions they are those that we share with all the human beings of the planet, wherever they live, regardless of the culture they have, "says Ibarrola, emotions that begin to express themselves since the baby is in the womb, without needing to be learned.

There are six primary emotions:

- Joy: one of the most desired emotions. People often strive to experience it, it is one of the manifestations of happiness. It is externalized through facial expressions such as smiling, relaxed body language and an optimistic and pleasant tone of voice.

- The sadness: This is a type of transient emotion that usually manifests with feelings of pain, apathy and disappointment, as well as physical expressions such as crying, isolation or silence. The severity of the sadness depends on its cause and the way in which the individual handles it. In the case of prolonged, it can lead to a depression.


- Anger: it is an emotion that is characterized by feelings of hostility, frustration and antagonism towards others. It is usually considered negative, but it can have positive aspects such as motivating us to act and find solutions to the things that bother us. However, if not controlled, it can turn into aggression, abuse or violence.

- The fear: a powerful emotion, since it constitutes a survival mechanism. It is part of the body's response to a threat or danger signal. Some of the ways in which this emotion is expressed are attempts to flee, and physical reactions such as an acceleration in breathing and heartbeat.

- The surprise: it is an emotion that is usually brief and that generates a scare response, in which adrenaline is released, before something unexpected. It has important effects on human behavior, as people tend to notice and remember more events and surprise information.


- Disgust: it constitutes a reaction to food, people or objects that may be harmful or transmit diseases. It can also be experienced in the moral realm, when we perceive behaviors that we consider bad or immoral.

This type of emotions are not only common to all individuals, but are expressed in the same way, with the same gestures, the same tone of voice and the same body posture. Laughter, for example, is a manifestation of the joy that is understood throughout the world. The same goes for crying to express sadness.

Secondary emotions

Secondary emotions, unlike primary emotions, are learned throughout life and do not have to be common to all people. These usually constitute a mixture between two or more emotions.

Ibarrola gives an example when referring to jealousy. "They are a mixture of love and fear, they are afraid of losing the love of a loved one due to the appearance of a third person, if there were no fear, there would be no jealousy, if there was no love, either." Some of the most important secondary emotions are envy, guilt, shame, contempt, pride, enthusiasm and pleasure.

The secondary emotions are social, because they are learned from our interaction with the society in which we live. For this reason, there are emotions that do not exist in some traditions, as Ibarrola says. "There are cultures in the Amazon that do not feel envious, because there is no sense of belonging, if everything belongs to everyone, there is no need to envy what the other person has."

This type of emotions, too, are expressed differently depending on the society to which one belongs. Many times, they are not even expressed because they constitute a social stigma.

Isabel López Vasquez

Video: 6 Steps to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence | Ramona Hacker | TEDxTUM


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