The emotional spectrum is wide ranging, encompassing all sorts of subtleties of feeling which we don’t give much thought to as we go through the day. But there are three main groups which I would like to outline here because we can find ourselves suffering with them without realizing it.
I call them the 3A emotions – Anxiety, Anger and Anguish.
Anxiety is about fear. Whether it’s just a slight worry or absolute terror, it’s fear. The thing about anxiety is that it is almost invariably focussed on the future. Usually you’re worried that something bad is going to happen to you, and you cannot control or stop it.
Anger is about hurt. You have been attacked (physically or verbally) unjustly and you want retribution. Your boss has been mean, your ‘friend’ on Facebook has just trashed you, your partner is neglecting you.
Anguish is about loss. Grief. Sadness. Something has happened and it’s taken away something from you. You’ve lost someone special. Your relationship has destroyed your self-esteem. Anguish is the grieving over the past, carried into the present.
These three accompany most of the things we think about and cause us the most trouble. Not just emotionally but physically, too. I’ll talk about the effects of cortisol and adrenaline in another post but for now does any of this sound familiar? Have any of them left you feeling sick? Shaky? Drained?
Every time we brood over past events, we bring back the emotions we felt at that time. Reminding ourselves not only of the bad things that happened but the terrible feelings too. That’s how the process works. Our thinking habit is aiming our attention onto the things that hurt us. So we can hurt ourselves some more.