Anger or passion knowing the emotion

I was discussing the subject of emotions with my colleague in relation to our ‘emotional homunculus’ and our anger cycle when the topic went down a new path of emotional energy, broadening out our definition of emotions by bringing in the emotional responses and the driving forces of feelings – the “energy”. The discussion included our states of being and brain chemistry when stimuli are triggered within us, in stressful situations. Remembering that stress of the right type and dosage is a good thing, it makes us tick. Once we had framed our discussion around the idea of “emotional energy” we were able to tease out what it would look like and how would it work. For this, we reviewed the anger cycle and the emotional energy involved in the act of being angry, then we looked for a similar example that was positive, even healthy or a least different. Our initial and for some the most obvious was sport, the emotional energy used to get the heart racing and the excitement of the challenge to win was very similar, if not the same energy used when the emotion of anger is triggered. From this we formulated a map of the emotional energy defined at the trigger stage, as either responsive or reactive, and how it would escalate into something constructive (passion & motivation) or destructive (anger or harm), while understanding that at any time this energy can cross from passion to anger and vice versa. This for me is an interesting concept, one which I feel can influence how we talk about anger, in particular to young people around self-regulation by reframing anger as “emotional energy” and the choice we have in channelling that energy, questioning whether we are angry or passionate about something, whether we want to be reactive and possibly do some harm or responsive to address or progress things. Using our emotional energy effectively can help centre ourselves and relate to others more positively.

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