We, as people, are much more than the features on our faces and the clothes that cover our bodies. In fact, human beings have an exceptional and unique energy which transcends that other force which raids our hearts or allows our lungs to take in oxygen.
Beyond our organic functions, these emotions define who we are and how we interact with the world.
The way we transmit our emotions to others constitutes a powerful medium. Due to its importance, it deserves for us to take care of it with delicacy and wise self-knowledge.
Up next, we will explain how to enjoy a better quality of interpersonal relationships.
What we make others feel: emotional contagion
We all transmit emotional messages without even realizing it. Our appearance, our gestures or the way in which we move or look at others sculpts an emotional mini-universe. Here, words are not required in order to convey concrete information. In fact, it’s good to always remember a certain historical fact. Much before the development of languages, human beings used emotions as their sole means of communication.
“I like you because you make me feel good. And I’m not the type of person who feels good with just anyone.”
The facial expressions of fear, for example, alert the group to the presence of a threat. Tears and an introverted posture informs of the presence of sorrow or pain, of a need that needs fulfilling. However, with the arrival of sophisticated language, those exaggerated gestures were reduced and became intolerable.
The civilized world demands the inhibition of emotions, because their instinctive expression is considered primitive. It is considered something that needs to be “controlled” and hidden within our most private and solitary places.
Emotions guarantee our survival as a group
On the other hand, studies carried out in the field of social cognition point out something that’d be good for us to keep in mind.
Emotions aren’t simply a mechanism of relief or personal expression. Above all, they constitute a survival mechanism, because they are “contagious” to others. We transmit information to others. We wrap them up with our happiness, so that they may feel our joy. Or, we show them our sadness and sorrows of the soul in order to be taken care of.
This way, the engine of cooperation is set into motion.
Emotions and cooperation are what have allowed us to survive as a species. This is the same cooperation that has given way to an almost perfect cerebral architecture where mirror neurons have helped us learn, imitate and identify foreign emotions.
However, if we choose to inhibit emotions, to not look the people we talk to in the eye and to turn a blind eye when we see a coworker suffering in silence, for example, then we’d be behaving against our own evolutionary concept.
Immersing ourselves in these prideful islands of solitude creates an emotional ecology where only unhappiness can blossom. Make me feel good, give me positive emotions
Oddly enough, there are not many studies which explain how this marvelous mechanism works, which gives shape to this emotional contagion.
So far, we simply know that what others make us feel- be it positive or negative- is governed by what is known as In this complex framework, neurologists place emphasize the insula, a the structure which participates in the process and internalization of the emotional states of those around us. “the mirroring system”.
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it away.”
-William Arthur Ward-
Besides, keep in mind that these structures are very resistant to degenerative
damage. This explains why, for example, people with Alzheimer’s continue being as receptive to the emotional world. A caress, a hug, a kind gesture and a presence which transmits tranquility and affection, in the end this turns into the only language they understand and to which they respond.
On the other hand, positive emotions play a very relevant role in education. A newborn, for example, will begin understanding the world based on what the parents make them feel. Emotions based on physical contact, on that love and caring which attends to crying, fears and all of their affective needs. This encourages the adequate development of the neurological system on a daily basis.