What Are Emotions?

All human beings have reactions, or feelings, to situations or to their own thoughts. These reactions are called emotions. Emotions can be positive ones that make a person happy, love, happiness, pleasure, and pride. But emotions can also be negative ones that make a person unhappy, anger, fear, sadness, hate, disappointment, and pain.

Many doctors believe that babies, when born, have no emotions, but that they learn them, just as they learn to walk and talk. A young child, for example, may not have a fear of a growling dog, but if he goes to pet it and the animal snaps or bites, the child may develop a fear and avoid all dogs in the future.

Your emotions cause chemical changes in your body to help it defend itself. For example, if a person is in a frightening situation, his adrenal gland sends a hormone called adrenalin into his bloodstream.

As the blood travels, the adrenalin makes his heart beat faster, sending more blood to his brain and muscles. At the same time, more sugar enters his blood to give his body extra energy to handle the problem.