Select Your Destination
 

< Feature Stories >

The Greatest Generation - May 24th at Deane Center

An inside look with Shawn Starks

The Eaton Calendar - May 14

C&N Donates $150,000 to Benefit Local Education

We're dancing in the streets as we celebrate First Friday!

More than just a day event - join the initiative every day!

Wellsboro Women's Chorus To Host Concert, May 4th

 
 
 

Psych Professor Breaks Down Emotions

Understanding the spectrum of human emotion

 

by Dr Nicolle Mayo - April 1, 2019

If you’ve seen the motion picture, Inside Out, you may have noticed how this movie depicts emotions as fickle, ever changing parts of us that are affected by our current, past, and even future circumstances. Not only that, but our emotions play off of each other in both positive and negative ways. Inside Out not only provides a great example of how important emotions are in our lives by telling us what is going on inside us at any given moment, but it depicts some of the more core and vulnerable emotions, joy, fear, sadness, disgust, and anger.

These emotions, along with shame, guilt, surprise and hurt, are considered our primary emotions. These universal emotions, as studied by David Matsumoto, are our initial response to a given situation, conveying an inner need that we want met. They can prepare our body to fight, flight, or freeze and are crucial to pay attention to. They can be adaptive or maladaptive; sometimes if we have experienced a past significant situation without resolution, it’s these core primary emotions that can uncontrollably transfer into our everyday life. If we stay in touch with these emotions, by recognizing, naming, and acknowledging them when we notice them, we feel more control over them and our actions. We aren’t always good at this process. If we were to practice this, it would look like us asking ourselves what we are feeling periodically during the day, and sitting with that emotion, whether good or bad. Taking that emotion and examining what triggered it and why helps us get to know ourselves better.

Our primary emotions often occur subconsciously. Meaning, we don’t always recognize them right when we feel them. The emotions that we do notice are often times secondary emotions. Secondary emotions occur after we feel the primary emotion. These are conscious and represent our reactions to our initial primary emotion; there are many more of these than there are primary emotions. Every other emotion that we did not name as a primary emotion is a secondary emotion (e.g. excitement, frustration, depression, disappointment, confusion, defensive, resentment, etc.) There are thousands of these. Secondary emotions tend to be less vulnerable, and more socially acceptable to express. Conveying these can be a distraction to the real core emotions that are impacting us. Identifying and labeling secondary emotions, however, can aide in exploring the underlying primary emotions. This only works if we intentionally take inventory of what is going on in our body. By tuning into our physiological, or our body’s natural internal, response we become more self-aware. We usually feel relief when we have identified and expressed our primary emotions, especially when we can relay them to close people in our lives. Though it can take A LOT of courage to do so. But, if we do, we feel empowered as people, and are more likely to take responsibility for our own attitudes and actions.

Connecting to our emotions can be a difficult task, but emotions accompany our thoughts. We are better at tuning into our thoughts, especially if they are negative because they bother use, thereby signaling to us that something is wrong. When we listen to our thoughts and trace these back to an emotion, first secondary, then primary (or just straight to primary), we are learning to track our emotions. This process helps us view emotions with a lens of curiosity, helping us further discover what is going on in ourselves. Doing this exercise provides so much insight into our own struggles, hopefully motivating us to talk through them with a trusted other person to try to resolve the core issue. This does wonders for relationships. It just takes the initial step of recognition before we can move forward, learn to cope with, talk about, and experience an inner healing that brings life back into us!

Credits:

Idea/Concept: Dr Nicolle Mayo

Videography: Andrew Moore

Video Editing: Andrew Moore

Writing: Dr Nicolle Mayo

Anchor: Dr Nicolle Mayo

 

Produced by Vogt Media

Funded by UPMC Susquehanna, Dunham’s Dept Store

< Current Stories >

 

Understanding the spectrum of human emotion

April 1, 2019

 

How does your mother's brain work?

February 27, 2019

 

Mental health should be a priority for moms.

January 24, 2018

 

Getting out in the green is good for you in more ways than one!

June 14, 2018

 

Let's work together to end all forms of child abuse

May 22, 2018

 

This month is dedicated to raising awareness of child abuse

April 11, 2018

 

Music's powerful influence on our bodies & mental health

March 14, 2018

 

Improve your relationships with better communication

February 2, 2018

 

Dr. Mayo encourages us to give this gift that keeps on giving!

January 2, 2018

 

Dr. Mayo shares how gratitude can affect our health for the better!

November 28, 2017

 

Take note, then take action

November 8, 2017

 

How mnemonics and other resources can help Alzheimer's patients

October 10, 2017

 

Children build friendships, exercise, healthy diets & fun at Fit For Life!

August 11, 2017

 

Presentation from National Drug Court Institute addresses addiction

July 25, 2017

 

Dr. Nicolle Mayo sheds light on the topic of E.I.

July 17, 2017

 

High schoolers empowered during MU's Summer Leadership Academy

June 27, 2017

 

Stress affects us all, but it doesn't have to be crippling!

June 22, 2017

 

A race to remember!

June 21, 2017

 

Meet a few of this year's Queen Candidates!

June 16, 2017

 

Enjoy the symphonic melodies of familiar tunes this summer!

June 15, 2017

 

Don't underestimate the benefits of proper sleep

May 2, 2017

 

There's more to us than "intro" and "extro"...

March 17, 2017

 

It's not too late to turn around your resolutions!

February 10, 2017

 

Dr. Mayo explores the pros & cons of gaming according to research

December 9, 2016

 

Dr. Mayo shares how gratitude can affect our health for the better!

November 23, 2016

 

MU Psych Students learn from Q&A time with MU Alumni Panel

November 17, 2016

 

Dr. Mayo explores students' thoughts on the pros & cons of gaming

October 26, 2016

 

The neuroscience behind why using your cell phone feels good

August 31, 2016

 

Dr. Mayo presents the 8 warning signs of smartphone addiction

July 29, 2016

 

Dr. Mayo shares the benefits of enjoying a daily dose of laughter!

June 29, 2016

 

Applying research to the REAL world of psychology

April 28, 2016

 

Watch out for these four figures when communicating with others

March 30, 2016

 

Today on MU Psych Central: advice from Dr. John Gottman & more

February 24, 2016

 

A Journey into Positive Psychology

February 2, 2016

 

Fight holiday stress with modest expectations and proper self-care

December 18, 2015

 

MU offers new psychology concentration: Forensic Psychology

November 24, 2015

 

Beat winter anxiety and depression with activity and fellowship...

October 6, 2015

 

Reducing the negative outlook through awareness and education

September 4, 2015

 

Susquehanna Behavioral Health providers shed light on mental health help

August 5, 2015

 

Is it possible to find a job in Psychology?

June 15, 2015