The human mind is responsible for the cognitive functions of the brain that includes consciousness, thought, and reasoning. These cognitive processes work together with physiological systems to produce a notion of existence.
It is through existence that humans are capable of perceiving our surroundings, a key influencer of our thoughts and emotions. The sum of our experiences informs our thoughts, and through thought, we acquire emotions. Oatley states that “emotions are based on what we know, and they include thoughts, sometimes obsessive thought, about what happened or what might happen next.” Pettinelli reiterates, “Thus once you find out what is causing the emotions, it is no longer an emotion, but it is a thought (that is, you now call the emotion a thought, so the thought is still probably generating emotion.”
Thoughts are ideas that manifest themselves in the mind to produce feelings. They come to us through preoccupation with a single idea. Most fellows are spent contemplating on their spare time. Either reflecting on the day’s happenings or thinking about what is to come, either way, thoughts inform our behavior. It is impossible to separate thoughts from emotions since they affect each other. To be devoid of thoughts is to be devoid of emotions.
The emotional experience that was of great concern to me was the lack of emotions in some individuals. These persons are referred to as stoics after Greek philosopher Zeno who pioneered stoicism, a life without emotions. It hasn’t been proved that stoicism is genetic. However, psychologists argue it’s a mental entrapment caused by the influence on alternative lifestyles. Humans are the only mammals capable of recognizing their conscience; it is this realization that gives rise to emotions. Any human capable of thought should be able to exhibit a veritable amount of emotions. Serial killers, sociopaths, and lunatics all exhibit this phenomenon; it has been attributed to the inability to produce the hormone oxytocin that is responsible for inducing empathy.
While it seems undesirable to be emotionless, individuals with this orientation work well in very high-stress environments, such as soldiers on battlefields and miners in deep shaft mines. Another condition of concern is paranoia, a mental state characterized by chronic anxiety and fear usually accompanied by delusional tendencies. It is mainly caused by suspicious thoughts. Paranoiac persons are very alert, and they make good security personnel. Unregulated paranoia can lead to schizophrenic attacks, which can mentally incapacitate individuals. Numerous clinical studies have researched a link between paranoia and genetic inheritance. All are inconclusive. Persons with these emotional disorders are still part and parcel of the greater society; ways and means should be crafted to incorporate them as productive members of the community.
We undergo numerous emotional cycles informed by our immediate surroundings. We can, therefore, broadly categorize emotions by their causal factor. Emotions are triggered by close happening and get manifested over time. The instantaneous reactions to incidences produce short-term emotional feelings that tend to hold onto a person for a period, mostly not more than 6 hours. During this time, the witnessed incidence replays in the mind of the person to produce internal responses that create an emotion. This may be negative or positive, depending on an individual predisposition. The other category of emotional reaction is usually a manifestation of long exposure to a situation. This may include constant abuse, reading extremist material, and mentorship. These emotions develop over time, and a person may not be aware that they are acquiring a new emotional state. Unlike transient emotions, these normally take quite some time and may last a lifetime in some individuals.
Psychologists define four basic human temperaments that constitute a person’s emotions; they are; melancholic, sanguine, choleric, and phlegmatic. Introverts tend to be melancholic. They avoid publicity and are thoughtful. Sanguine is an extroverted personality. Choleric is ambitious and shows leader-like behavior, while phlegmatic is usually quiet and exhibits a relaxed mood.
The aforementioned categories of human thoughts and emotions can be evaluated by their usefulness to humans. At least a third of the world’s population is suffering from emotional disorders. Changes in urban lifestyle and working environments contributed to the rise in cases of emotional disorders. This increasing trend in reported cases will put more people out of gainful engagements.