Our emotions come from deep within our souls, they are instinctive and it is difficult to keep them under control. It is good, however, to learn how to control them, since it may be useful in many cases if we can stop our negative or positive feelings from overwhelming us. This doesn’t mean that we have to stifle them; we just have to guide them wisely.
Nico Frijda, professor at the University of Amsterdam, claims that the following 12 laws regulate all our emotions:
1. The significance of the situation
Every emotion is triggered by a certain situation, and the same type of situation brings about the same type of emotion.
2. The law of anxiety
Our mind continuously works on conjuring up various scenarios, and most of us worry quite a lot. Our emotions are born from motivation, concerns and goals. Being indifferent means not having any feelings. The other extreme, anxiety, often has a negative effect, but it helps us survive.
3. The law of apparent reality
We only like the things we consider true. What we believe immediately changes into an emotion. That is, we attach an emotion to everything that we see or experience. The death of a relative hits us the most acutely when a specific thing happens that is related to that relative, such as the date of his or her birthday. At that moment, we become aware of his or her death, and attach a negative emotion to that day.
4. The law of change
All our emotions respond quickly to change. We become uncertain when a change happens, even if we are emotionally strong.
5. The law of freedom
Routine provides security, and it is associated with the most positive feelings, since a familiar environment, location, action, etc. always seems safe.
6. The law of comparison
If we get too accustomed to a state, and we become blasé and bores, we associate this state with stress and negative emotions. If something new happens to us, we compare it to our actual life situation, and judge it accordingly.
7. The law of hedonistic asymmetry
We may never get accustomed to certain circumstances and situations, and when we get back again into such situation, fear and panic overwhelm us. Conversely, events of a positive nature always seem like fleeting moments.
8. The law of conservation of an emotional moment
It is often said that time will solve any problem, but the feelings associated with the negative event stay in our consciousness forever. It will become less acute over time, it may not hurt so much, but it doesn’t go away. If we experience these or similar events again, we can redefine them.
9. The law of limitation
Emotions have no purpose other than just existing. We perceive as certainty whatever our emotions dictate, and emotions overwhelm all other laws and goals.
10. Compensation of the former law
We often consider the consequences of our feelings and adjust these accordingly. We learn to handle our emotions. We are aware that if we do something, it will have a consequence, so we are often afraid of what we will feel when we do something.
11. The law of enlightenment
The more we believe in certain situations, the faster we develop from an intellectual and emotional point of view. In that case, we are already able to approach a particular subject or situation from another point of view.
12. The law of maximum benefit
We constantly evaluate and analyze our emotions, until we get into a state where we are able to control them.