Negative emotions, essential for the survival of human beings

Adverse emotions provide sensitive balance and help to flee from a dangerous situation. Our body always sends signals that something is not right in us and that it is urgent to take care of it.

Negative emotions, essential for the survival of human beings
There are negative emotions that provide sensitive balance and help to flee from a dangerous situation. Photo by Claudia Wolff / Unsplash

Locating which negative emotion you have, as an area of opportunity and not as a problem, allows you to work on it and, as far as possible, to feel even better about yourself, said Maria Santos Becerril Perez, an academic at the Faculty of Psychology of the UNAM. It is necessary to change the terminology of "control" for "regulation of negative emotions" so that people learn to identify and name them to achieve better social interaction and well-being.

Emotions are basic physiological reactions that every human being has to survive; there are positive and negative ones, and they are present from birth. The capacity to react depends on how they are learned at home, and later in the environments in which the person develops. Negatives are essential because they provide sensitive balance and help to move or flee from a dangerous situation. Fear, anger, frustration, and sadness are grouped in this category, so that exacerbated levels of any of these can generate difficulties in the pathological field and the way of relating to others.

It is also important to know what is the damage due to the negative overload; that is, to what extent this no longer allows a person to have a normal life, as they may suffer from insomnia, lack of appetite, or nail-biting. These are signals that the body sends that something is not right in us and it is urgent to take care of them. If they are not treated in time, gastritis or colitis may be present.

If the individual can identify what he/she feels, then he/she will be able to be coherent; that is, congruent with what he/she thinks, feels, and does. Inclusively, social interaction improves, since assertive expression leads to empathy and strategies such as taking time away to process their feelings to later dialogue, to resolve the situation.

Ideally, families should learn to read the emotions of each member, and if someone is angry or sad, they will know how to act and thus avoid unnecessary discussions because when people are focused on a negative emotion, initially they cannot listen to the other because their attention is focused on what they perceive and it is not possible to think, analyze and dialogue.

New reality

According to a communiqué issued in July 2021 by the Mexican Social Security Institute, during the health emergency, the mental disorders most frequently presented are anxiety (the person is worried all the time); panic and social phobias; in addition, affective disorders and those related to stressful situations, particularly post-traumatic and acute stress, increased.

For most people, the beginning of the confinement was a good experience, since it implied that the family was reunited at home; but after a few months, it meant a challenge because they felt an environment of stress, anxiety, and concern for survival.

"This new reality, derived from the pandemic, teaches us that as human beings we do not know how to adequately manage our emotions. With deconfinement, some people find it difficult to socialize again, since crowds mean 'risk' or even 'death', so little by little they must try to get closer to their loved ones or go out to open spaces. In case this generates anxiety or fear, it is necessary to receive support from professionals," said Becerril Perez.

It is essential to work on the negative emotions that are recognized, although it is not easy to manage them, especially if they have a high level of intensity. However, certain goals can be established and well-being can be achieved on a personal, couple, family, work, and social scale. "It is important to be clear that one person's reaction can also hurt others," she concluded.