Okay, folks, so we are now hand on handout three of emotion regulation. That is what emotions do for you.
I'm just going to start by saying that a fairly universally, whenever I am initially doing an intake for someone into our DVT program, I get a response along the lines of I want to stop feeling X, Y, and Z waves. And hopefully, if I was on my a game when I did your intake, if, in fact, you responded like this, I would have replied something along the lines of I can help you manage those emotions. But I cannot promise for you to stop feeling that certain way, because actually, all of the emotions that we experience are pretty dang important in terms of what they motivate and communicate to both ourselves and other people. So let's actually talk a little bit about what that is, and to go from there.
First of all, all emotions serve a purpose, we don't experience any of them for an art out of just an arbitrary reason. The first set of purposes has to do with emotions, motivating and organizing us for action. So specifically, emotions prepare our bodies to act, all emotions have paired what we call action urges. These are hardwired into our biology. So most people have heard, for example, with fear that there's some hard wired fight or flight that happens, although in fact, there is a third response, which is freeze, but that's neither here nor there for today.
So we do this, because in general, these hardwired responses, help save time so that we can respond really quickly in crisis, or situations or situations where there's dangers. If someone is physically attacking you, it's useful for you to be able to immediately either run or fight back, so that you can protect yourself. Now, emotions can be really, really hard to change because of this, because sometimes that associated behavior is pretty vitally important to survival. So it's going to be really difficult, for example, if you have a car charging towards you to not feel afraid, and to therefore not react in some different in some specific way.
The problem is, of course, that sometimes our emotions don't fit the facts of a situation.
And so we can be experiencing these really intense urges to do things that actually aren't helpful at all. So, really quickly, I'm going to go through and essentially just read to you what some of the different action urges are that are associated with different emotions. So fear helps organize responses to threats to our life, health or well being, it helps us escape from danger. Most people are pretty familiar with that.
Anger happens in response to other people blocking important goals or activities that we want to do. Or if there is if you perceive some type of attack, whether that's physical, emotional, in social situations to yourself, or people that are important to you. It helps us sort of hone in on defending ourselves and on maintaining control of a situation discussed, helps organize responses to situations that are offensive in some way or have the potential of contaminating us.
It is really useful for you to feel disgust, for example, to rotten meat or rotten food because you don't want to eat that right. It's also really useful for you to feel disgust against someone who, for example, has done a really heinous crime against a child because you likely want to keep your own children safe from this individual sadness. So this helps organize responses or to losses, whether that be of someone or if something important in your life. It helps us focus in on what we value most. It helps us pursue goals and it helps connect us with other people.
Pretty universally. If you see someone crying or really upset, someone will stop to ask if they're okay or if they need help, right.
So sadness is really, really an emotion that speaks loudly to other people that will often elicit help. Shame organizes responses related to behaviors that are either dishonouring in some way or that are not approved of by our community.
Shame is linked most frequently to hiding. And if what you're ashamed of is already well known, to trying to essentially mitigate the effects of that to apologize to do other things, to show that you're sorry, and want to take responsibility guilts specifically helps organize responses related to the violation of our values. And it helps motivate us to make repairs. So what I mean by that is to for example, apologize to try and do something to undo the damage that you may have caused. Jealousy helps organize responses towards threats to our relationships or to things that are super important. This is associated with protective related action urges.
Envy helps organize responses to other people either getting or having things that we really want, or need. It helps us to focus in on working hard to get what other people have.
Love helps to organize responses related to reproduction and survival. It focuses us in on attachment with other people. And finally, happiness helps organize our responses to sort of the best possible version of ourselves. It helps communicate to us the things that we care about most, and helps communicate to people around us what we care about most, it helps us focus in on doing things that matter to us. Um, and as a result, we tend to do more of those things. Alright, so hopefully, that makes sense.
Each individual emotion is tied to some pretty specific behavioral urges. Next up is that emotions actually communicate to and influence other people.
As I mentioned before, in the example around sadness, because facial expressions specifically are biologically hardwired, when we see certain facial expressions, we tend to respond to those quicker than we do to words. Some of these facial expressions have an automatic effect.
So for example, infants respond pretty spontaneously to an adult smiling at them, or to an adult having a very frightened expression. And they will either often smile back or start crying in response to these facial expressions.
The other big thing about this is that emotions are emotional expressions influence other people, whether or not we intend them to. So for example, if we're really warm and friendly towards an acquaintance, it may result in them later. being friendly and helping us out. If we are really angry at another person, this might influence them giving us what we want in a situation, or alternatively, or refusing and holding in on not giving us that thing.
The last one of these is that emotions communicate to ourselves. So I often will encourage folks to think about emotions as your body's way of having if you've ever passed sort of a construction crew that has like, stop, slow down, shift left these little signs that they hold up. This is what emotions do for you. There are little signs communicating to you, hey, you need to pay important attention to something that's happening here. There's something important that you're not getting, okay.
Now, here's where it gets tricky. These signals may or the facts about Let me take a step back. These emotions may or may not have accurate information that's tied to them. Sometimes I will feel, for example, fear and a given situation that far exceeds the facts of the situation. And those situations, maybe it's because I've had a really bad experience in the past, which is influencing my perception right now.
Because sometimes this information can be processed outside of our awareness, it's important to notice, but not assume that the emotion that the emotion is an accurate representation of what's happening. So, to sort of hone that point in treating emotions like they are facts, typically leads to lots of different problems.
Let's pause there and we're going to shift next into talking about a model for describing emotions.