What are afflictive emotions and how do they affect us?

The afflictive emotions are experienced with discomfort and anguish. However, this is because we have not yet been able to learn from them.

Last update: 02 October, 2022

Many times reviled, many others underestimated. Today a little more understood and accepted. afflictive emotions, in particular, are often avoided and denied by people.

What happens is that we are left with a first evaluation of them: they cause discomfort and anguish. Even, sometimes, they overcome us and lead us to act from the impulse.

However, from a deeper reading and with knowledge, Emotions fulfill the function of alerting us to our internal states. so that we can be promoters of change. Let’s see what it is and why it is so important not to ignore them.

What are afflictive emotions?

Thinking about afflictive emotions invites us to reflect on the two sides of a coin. We know that joy exists because we also know sadness. We understand the disappointment because we also knew trust.

Thus, afflictive emotions are characterized by the fact that they affect our relationship with ourselves and with the environment, placing an excessive emphasis on the bad and the negative. Besides the feeling psychological of discomfort, they can also have a physical correlate: feeling that anger rises on our faces or that we begin to sweat.

Emotions are chained with thoughts and our behavior. That is, the way we feel influences how we interpret a situation and what we decide to do next.

Emotions do not have a valence by themselves. They are neither good nor bad. It is what we do with them that determines their meaning or sense.

For example, I may feel angry because someone made an offensive comment about me. Now, what am I going to do with that anger? Mark the limits to that person assertively or explode with anger and behave more violently.

It’s hard to wonder why we’re angry all the time, but it’s the path to self-knowledge.

How do they appear and what are they?

At the same time, Like all emotions, afflictive ones are characterized by being inevitable. That is, in a given situation, they appear.

This does not mean that we cannot control them. To achieve this, it is very important to work on self-knowledge to identify which are the scenarios or stimuli that stimulate certain emotions. This is a necessary first step to become masters of ourselves and to respect others.

Some of the most common examples of afflictive emotions are:

  • Gonna.
  • Resentment.
  • Jealousy.
  • Avarice.
  • Sadness.
  • Fear.
  • Envy.
  • Frustration.
  • Disappointment.


What is the difference between afflictive and constructive emotions?

Although emotional intelligence is not a simple subject, we can say that the big difference between afflictive emotions and constructive emotions is that the first paralyze us and the others allow us to learn.

When we get stuck in afflictive emotions, our thoughts turn negative. We tend to think biased.

For example, we see everything in extremes, in “all or nothing.” We only catch a detail instead of all the complexity or we take some matters personally. In this way, we get sick, we get stressed, we distance ourselves from the people we love the most and our performance is affected.

For its part, constructive emotions are those that allow us to take a step further and think about how to solve a situation. They are a very important source of self-learning. While afflictive emotions can lock us in a labyrinth with no way out, with recurring negative thoughts; the constructive ones make us develop resilience.

Importance of afflictive emotions

Like emotions in general, afflictive ones are important because they function as signals. They are the beacon that guides us.

Perhaps, we cannot understand what happens to us, but we can feel it. In other words, emotions provide us with information about ourselves and allow us to guide ourselves in making decisions about what we want.

On the other hand, by taking our emotions seriously, we are taking care of our health. If we spend a lot of time anxious, angry or sad, without taking care of it, we can end up with anxiety, depression or psychosomatic symptoms.

Unmanaged emotions culminate in anxiety and even psychosomatic manifestations.

Tips for controlling afflictive emotions

Some of the recommendations to face afflictive emotions are the following:

  • Accept that they exist: life has its ups and downs. However, even those blows we receive can become a learning circumstance.
  • Find their usefulness: Like all emotions, the afflictive ones have a valuable message to give us.
  • Analyze our self-talk: On a physiological level, emotions have a fixed duration of around 90 seconds. In that period, they reach their intensity and then decrease. However, they can be renewed. The renewal depends on the idea to which they are associated. That idea is sustained by self-dialogue, that is, what we say to ourselves. That’s why it’s important to listen to how we talk to each other and how we label ourselves.


The social and cultural component of emotions

It should not be forgotten that emotions also have a social or cultural component. That is, there are some that are “well seen”, while there are others that are rejected. However, we must learn to live with our different emotional states.

Do not fall into the idea that everything is forever. The neurophysiology of emotions shows us that this is not the case. There are better and worse days; Let’s learn to deal with them.

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