Emotions and Mental Health

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Emotions and Mental Health
Chapter 8

Breckenridge and Vincent(1981) said that the emotional well-being is a primary factor in a child’s mental and personality development. A child inherits not only physical structure but also the psychological structures of emotional and mental potentiality called PSYCHOLOGICAL CONSTITUTION.

This world is a complex place to live in. The tempo of change is fast and sometimes drastic. Changes may be in terms of technology, population explosion, politics, educational growth, or moral values. The emotional coping mechanisms of people toward change need a high degree of resiliency and tolerance. As there is the constant need for the coping skill; it is in this regard that the psychological constitution of a man is put to the test.

Abraham Sperling, (1976) defines an emotion as a “state of agitation,” “distribution of equlibrium,” “an intense, random and disorganized response to a stimulus.”

A person without emotional stress is calm and serene. Emotional stimulus and instigation are but normal occurences in this excitable world. It is only when one’s feeling and emotions are excessive that emotions become detrimental. Negative and positive emotions must be in moderation if they are to influence and pervade our behavior, health, and personality.

John B. Watson, the behaviorist, claimed that fear, rage, and love are the three basic emotions around which complex adult emotions were evolved. A child is born with emotions of fear for noise, strange men, animals, dark places, and high places. The inborn reactions of rage respond to a particular stimuli of unpleasantness in the environment.

The infant’s response to hunger , pain, restraint, or falling is called anger or rage. The pleasant stroking of the mother, the family’s smiles and kisses and giving of comfort develop the love instincts of the child. All through the years of caring, attachment between the family and the child develops.

Basically, emotions are instincts. The instincts to live and to survive lead the new-born baby to grope for his food from yhe mother’s breast even if no one teaches him. He will suck anything put into his mouth in order to live. From his crib, he will show contentment when physiologically satisfied; anger overwhelms him when his needs and wants are not met. In a young child, jealousy may take the form of bed-wetting , pretense of illness, refusal to eat, sucking of the thumb, or ignoring others. In an older child, the negative effects of jealousy are quarreling, teasing, gossiping, boasting, ridicule, and sarcasm. Each child utilizes the method that gives him the greatest satisfaction. During childhood when his toys are lost or destroyed, he will show hatred toward his playmates but he can display appreciation, admiration, and love to people who are kind to him.

Adolescence is the stage when he experiences the first taste of love. Sometimes it is devastating to someone when love becomes an experience of bitterness.

The importance of play to children cannot be underestimated. They are the vehicles for releasing tensions. When a child plays, he is given the opportunity to release fear, resentment, and frustrations resulting from parental prohibitions and control.

Are facial expressions accurate indicators of emotions? Although there are facial expressions for each kind of emotion, they are not however dependable indicators of emotions. Some people are so happy that tears flow from their eyes, while some people, in spite of internal grief during the burial of a love one, cannot cry. Some magnify their emotions by exaggerating their reactions through facial expressions, while others hide their emotions by inhibiting their feelings.

Emotions and Feelings Differentiated

Feelings and emotions are moving powers of human beings. Anxieties, enthusiasm, apprehension, desires, and the pleasantness and unpleasantness of life experiences elicit the powers of emotion. Positive emotions...
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