I finally have an understanding of how it is possible to have different emotions at the same time. For the longest time I was confused by the idea of being sad and happy at the same time. It seemed impossible but then one day Beth said something simple, and the little lightbulb in my head turned on.
I have created a mathematical formula to explain experiencing multiple emotions simultaneously. Yay for math! Ha! It’s not as complicated as that sounds but it’s fun to be all scientific and imagine I’m doing professional research stuff….
I realized that each emotion is unique to itself. Emotions don’t combine with each other because of their uniqueness. So, I thought of how to describe my “mood”, we’ll just think of “mood” as the sum of all the emotions I’m feeling at any given moment. I don’t really know what the correct professional term is for what I’m calling “mood”, but I’ll explore that later.
My mood is the sum of all my emotions. I have assigned a unique variable, represented by a letter, to each emotion. Each variable will also have a value of 1 through 10, representing the intensity of the emotion. With 1 the least intense and 10 the most intense.
I will define the variables as follows:
The basic formula is represented as:
K = H + Sa + A + D + Su + F + B
The sum of the equation equals my overall emotional state or mood.
What I’ve realized is that each variable (emotion) is unique and cannot be combined with any other variable. For example, I wake in the morning, and I consider my mood before I get out of bed. This is my first mood assessment for the day.
K = 5H + 1A + 8Sa
I would describe my mood as average happy (5), minimum anger (1), and significant sadness (8). The numerical value is the intensity based on my scale of 1-10. This is my morning baseline and will allow me to explore changes in my mood throughout the day.
Later in the day, my boss gives me a compliment and a donut. That feels nice, so I will recognize my emotions/intensity and reconsider my mood:
My revised baseline mood after I have considered, recognized, and assessed my emotions is represented as:
K = 7H + 1A + 8Sa + 6Su
I’ve increased the intensity of happiness and added the new emotion of surprised to recognize a new baseline mood. The happiness and surprise will be added to the first mood assessment I had done before getting out of bed. Surprise was a new emotion, so it did not change any of the emotions I had recognized that morning. The increased amount of happy moves me from average happy (5) to significant happy (7).
As the day moves on, I consider why I’m feeling sad. I recognize the sadness is because I haven’t talked to my son in a week. I feel shame and guilt for not connecting. As I assess the emotions of shame and guilt, I review the emotional wheel chart to see that both are related to sadness. I choose to call my son and we have a nice conversation. With intentional choices my mood is changed, so I reassess my previous baseline mood as follows:
What you can see is that I intentionally addressed my sadness and that was the only emotion that changed. By reducing my sadness, my current mood is calculated as follows:
K = 7H + 1A + 2Sa + 6Su
Reducing sadness from an intensity of significant (8) to mild (2) doesn’t add or change the intensity of significant happiness (7). Adding happiness doesn’t reduce sadness. That was the simple thing Beth said one morning that helped me to understand how it’s possible to experience more than one emotion at a time!
Be intentional. Choosing to assess, recognize, and care for each individual emotion you are feeling.
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