"I don't want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them." - Oscar Wilde
Emotions and motivation
Our emotions can be our greatest source of motivation, whether it’s to move toward or away from someone or something.
Emotional development affects our ability to cultivate relationships and intimacy, and if we cultivate emotional growth from the very beginning, it can tremendously affect our quality of life.
Our basic emotions evolved to handle fundamental life tasks, e.g., fear and anger can aid survival by influencing someone to flee for safety or fight to defend themself.
Studies on the effect of recognising our emotions and their impact on development from childhood have proved this. If we cannot notice, express and manage our emotions, it is challenging to focus at school, make friends or work in a team when we are older.
But it’s not too late for us as adults.
By using a simple model, we can understand the emotional range or depth of our emotional experience and bring a level of clarity and self-confidence that enable us to handle adverse situations better.
Using our emotions to lead a fulfilling life
Let’s think about our emotions as our interface, our face to the world. They are the navigation system to what we want and need.
The better we can translate our emotions into what we need, the more we can understand our responses to situations, and the greater the opportunity to find our true nature and choose our reactions or responses to those situations.
This brings clarity and self-confidence that enables us to handle adverse situations better.
The benefits are numerous; we can:
Make more informed decisions
Connect better with people
Gain emotional awareness
Benefit from the clarity of mind and heart
Create more productive habits
Reduce impulses and create balance
Choose our responses with our emotions in difficult situations
Unlearn old habits that do not benefit us
"Emotion can be the enemy; if you give into your emotion, you lose yourself. You must be at one with your emotions because the body always follows the mind." - Bruce Lee
Deciphering your emotions
Dr. Bradley Nelson’s book The Emotion Code explores this theory by delving into the inner workings of the subconscious mind and exploring how past events can stay with us, impacting our daily decisions and life.
“People need the category label of fear to explain flight to one another for safety, anger to explain the frustration of blocked goal responses, joy (or its equivalent) to explain the pride of achievement, and sadness to explain the experience of a life-changing loss.” - Izard, 2007
However, recognising these specific “barriers” and analysing them can help us to move forward and lead a healthier, more content life.
Aim for Joy
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed and wondering where to start, the Mayfly Emotional Compass can help.
By setting aside some ‘me’ time and asking ourselves a few questions, the compass will guide/steer you to decipher your emotions and understand them more deeply.
How are you feeling right now?
What label would you give your emotion at this moment?
We have JOY as the true North.
We believe this indicates you are moving in the right direction in your life.
The absence of anger, sadness or fear will naturally bring us back to our positive state. The more efficiently we understand our emotional messages, the quicker we return to our default positive emotion. Joy.
With the Mayfly Emotional Compass, we ask you to explore further and think about the four sections in more detail, not only to label the core emotion you are feeling but also to define the emotions a little precisely and accurately as you dig deeper as this reveals the why, what and who can make you feel joy, fear, anger or sadness.
By getting to grips with this useful tool and way of recognising our state of mind, it can help us to positively impact our daily lives and routines, ensuring we arrive at joy.
Simone is our psychotherapist and expert in emotional understanding. Research led her to the learnings from the special issue of Emotion Review, where several research psychologists outlined the latest thinking about each theoretical model of basic emotions (Plutchik, 1962; Ekman and Friesen, 1969; Ekman, 2003; Izard, 2010, 2011; Ekman and Cordaro, 2011; Levenson, 2011; Panksepp and Watt, 2011; Tracy and Randles, 2011).