How Our Emotions Work

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Do anger and envy have upsides? Does keeping busy make us happy? Why is regret so powerful? These and much more…

Emotions aren’t just things that happen to us, they are vital components of how we reason, motivate ourselves, think about the past and future and how we communicate with others.

Our emotional selves are sometimes remarkably resilient, sometimes out of control and often difficult to understand. Good feelings inevitably fade, while negative ones can stay with us forever.

To help explore your emotional side, here are my top articles from PsyBlog on the psychology of emotions:

  1. Does Keeping Busy Make Us Happy? – People dread being bored and will do almost anything to keep busy, but does keeping busy really make us happy?
  2. The Upside of Anger: 6 Psychological Benefits of Getting Mad - We tend to think of anger as a wild, negative emotion, but research finds that anger also has its positive side.
  3. 12 Laws of the Emotions – Emotions follow their own rules, like that of situational meaning, habituation, closure and concern.
  4. The Psychological Immune System – We get over bad moods much sooner than we predict, thanks to the covert work of the psychological immune system.
  5. What “The Love Bridge” Tells Us About How Thoughts and Emotions Interact – How much control do you have over your emotions?
  6. The Power of Regret to Shape Our Future – Why people are reluctant to exchange lottery tickets, but will happily exchange pens.
  7. 4 Ways Benign Envy is Good For You – Feeling green with envy? If it’s the right type of envy, maybe it’s no bad thing…
  8. Duchenne: Key to a Genuine Smile? – Experiments cast doubt on the classic marker of a genuine smile.
  9. The Surprising Power of an Emotional ‘Memory Palace’ – Can a ‘memory palace’ help you recall happier times, even when life is hard?
  10. 4 Life-Savouring Strategies: Which Ones Work Best? – We can increase our positive emotions and life satisfaction by using the right mix of savouring strategies.
  11. The Psychology of Nostalgia (in under 300 words) – Nostalgia has been rehabilitated from a disease of the mind to a beneficial emotional experience.
  12. 4 Dark Sides To The Pursuit of Happiness – Fake smile? Here’s how to avoid four hurdles on the road to happiness.
  13. Depression: 10 Fascinating Insights into a Misunderstood Condition – Ten insights into a very common and widely misunderstood condition.

Image credit: Alvaro Tapia

About the author


Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and the author of PsyBlog. His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick". You can follow PsyBlog by email, by RSS feed, on Twitter and Google+.

Published: 30 May 2013

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