What Are The 6 Primary Emotions? Embrace Them Going Forward

Last updated by Katie M.

Ah, emotions, what a vast subject! Children are taught to recognize them, adults to control them, but do we really know what we’re talking about? Not really, let’s face it. Emotion is a vague concept that is difficult to define, and yet we all know what it is: something intense, even brutal and brief. All our emotions are a mixture of the 6 basic emotions. 6 universal emotions that share the same facial expression throughout the world.

The 6 basic emotions: We all have them in common

In humans, emotion inherently includes psychological behavior (there is a reaction in our brain), expressive behavior (a facial expression, for example), and awareness (we know that something is happening, we’re aware of our emotions). We all feel a range of emotions daily, and we make a distinction between primary or basic emotions and secondary or complex emotions. Faced with the complexity of the emotional world, psychologists have attempted to classify emotions into categories.

They note 6 basic, primary, or fundamental emotions:

  • Fear
  • Joy
  • Disgust
  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Surprise

To which we sometimes add contempt.

These basic emotions are already present in babies, they are also found in primates and above all, they’re universal. That’s to say that wherever in the world you are, whatever the culture or origins of a person, we can recognize and identify these 6 emotions on any face.

>>> You may be interested in this article: 10 tips on how to feel freer than ever

50 shades of universal emotions

We’re not only led by these 6 primary emotions, each one comes in a multitude of shades. We know many other feelings: shame, guilt, pride, desire, etc. These are emotions just as strong as primary emotions, but they’re a mixture of the 6 basic emotions. Paul Ekman, an American psychologist, and pioneer in the study of emotions, indicates for example that shame is a mixture of fear and anger.

Finally, these secondary emotions arrive in humans as they grow up. Jealousy and embarrassment appear for example in children aged 15 to 24 months, while guilt and pride are more likely to be felt around the age of 3.

Why are the majority of emotions negative?

If we analyze the basic emotions a little, we note that the majority of emotions are unpleasant. And indeed, according to studies and work carried out in psychology dealing with emotions and feelings, we feel many more unpleasant emotions than pleasant ones, but why? Simply to satisfy our needs.

Humans need to achieve their objectives quickly. To be guided more quickly and precisely towards our need to satisfy, we require an unpleasant emotion, which is nevertheless always useful. Emotions are guides that put us into action and direct us to the reaction the most adapted to our environment.

Editor’s note: An emotion is fleeting

Every emotion carries a message. Whether positive or negative, remember that an emotion is only fleeting. Instead of repressing, ignoring, or stifling it, it’s better to accept it and hear what it has to say. If you have problems managing your emotions, don’t hesitate to contact one of our professionals.

🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... Let’s do it here and now!

#BornToBeMe


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Article presented by Katie M.

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