The dictionary of emotions 

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Affect is a generic term often referring to an emotion and / or a feeling.

For example, if one describes anger as affect, it can mean either the emotion generated by the sudden surge of adrenaline, or the felt and thoughtful feeling experienced over time.

For specialists, affect more particularly corresponds to the tested psychic experience.


Anger is one of the basic emotions according to Robert Plutchik. It expresses dissatisfaction and aims to destroy obstacles.

The opposite emotion to anger according to Robert Plutchik is fear.

Anticipation :

Anticipation is one of the basic emotions according to Robert Plutchik. It corresponds to a happy expectation and aims at exploring new environments. The opposite emotion to anticipation according to Robert Plutchik is surprise. 

Avoidance strategy:

Emotional avoidance is not accepting what we feel, not giving ourselves the right to suffer. We devote our energy to control and refuse our emotions. It most often generates reactions of parasitic feelings.


To develop your Emotional Intelligence, the first step is to become aware of your emotions. According to Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, being aware of our emotions improves our adaptability to everyday problems and challenges.

Basic or primary emotions:

There is no agreement among specialists on the basic emotions or primary emotions. The 6 basic emotions identified by Paul Ekman, an American psychologist specializing in emotions, are joy, sadness, fear, anger, surprise and disgust. Robert Plutnik adds two more: confidence and anticipation.


It is not possible to control an emotion, but we are free to act. It is possible to evolve and change our behavior. A "trigger" emotion may be similar to a past emotion, but our behavior does not have to be similar.


Depending on the way we breathe, we will feel the emotion with more or less intensity. The way we breathe can even condition the type of emotion that predominates in us


Emotions and communication are intimately linked. Emotions are fundamental vectors of communication. Emotions allow us to transmit a readable message to the other person and to better understand what the other person reveals.


comes from the Latin, “cum-patire”, “to suffer, to experience with”. Compassion is the feeling by which one is led to perceive or feel the suffering of others. This feeling often prompts us to seek to remedy this suffering.

Compulsion :

A compulsion is a mental act or a repetitive behavior whose purpose is most often to reduce anxiety generally linked to an obsessive idea or a heavy emotion.


Confidence is one of the basic emotions according to Robert Plutchik. It expresses a positive feeling towards someone or something. It allows us to feed ourselves or to establish constructive relationships, etc.

The opposite emotion to confidence according to Robert Plutchik is disgust.

Denial of emotions:

Denial of emotions is a solution to cope with difficult situations that generate great suffering. It is a coping mechanism to deal with the situation. It is unhealthy when it prevents us from addressing the real problem or making changes in our behavior in response to a particular individual's actions or difficult circumstances.

Depression :

Depression can have a significant impact on our state of mind, emotions and mood. Depression is a disorder of sadness.


Disgust is one of the basic emotions according to Robert Plutchik.

It expresses rejection and aims to avoid poisoning, illness, inappropriate relationships. The opposite emotion of disgust according to Robert Plutchik is trust.


Dopamine is a hormone produced in the brain. It is involved in motor control, attention, pleasure, motivation, sleep, memory and cognition. It is called the "pleasure molecule". 

Emotion :

An emotion is a physiological reaction to a perceived stimulation. It is a movement that goes out (E = outward and motion = movement).

An emotion lasts a few moments (a few minutes at the most).

Emotional Habits:

Our emotions influence our behavior. Emotional habits are born from the repetition of the same behavior following one or several emotions.

Some emotional habits are painful (hypochondria, pessimism, worry, mood swings, etc.) and require a lot of work to get rid of them.

Emotional Intelligence:

Emotional intelligence is a concept proposed in 1990 by psychologists Peter Salovey and John Mayer. Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to recognize, understand and control our own emotions and to deal with the emotions of others.

Emotional Reaction (parasitic):

Parasite emotional reactions are inappropriate or disproportionate attacks due to too much stress on the brain. They are often related to a past event and an accumulation of unexpressed emotions.


(from the ancient Greek εν, in, within, and πάθoς, suffering, what one experiences) is to understand what others are experiencing. The practice of active listening promotes empathy. Empathy is distinguished from compassion.


Fear is one of the basic emotions according to Robert Plutchik. It allows us to protect ourselves and ensure our safety by encouraging escape or the absence of confrontation. The opposite emotion to fear according to Robert Plutchik is anger. 


Frustration is a pseudo-emotion. Frustration attributes the responsibility for our dissatisfaction to a factor that we consider "out of our control". Frustration generates other emotions, most often: anger, jealousy, sadness... 


Gratitude is a complex emotion. It indicates a feeling of happiness that comes from appreciation. Gratitude is an essential component of many religions. For example: Judaism, Christianity and Islam all encourage gratitude to others and to God. From a more temporal perspective, gratitude is one of the most effective methods of increasing our long-term satisfaction.


Happiness is not a basic emotion. It is an extremely complicated concept to describe, even if all humans seek it.

Three affects would favor the access to happiness: Love, Gratitude and Faith.

Hedonic (adaptation):

Hedonic adaptation is the observed tendency to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or significant changes in our lives. Hedonic adaptation helps us to be resilient and to cope with major challenges. Unfortunately, it is a tool that keeps us from seeing things as positively as we did at the beginning and causes us to complain.

Gratitude is a very powerful tool to combat hedonic coping.

Illness (role of emotions):

Research shows that emotion regulation has a significant impact on mental health outcomes and can also directly affect our physical health.

It has been found that illness often occurs 6 months after a poorly managed emotional conflict (first symptoms within 3 months).


Joy is a basic emotion according to Robert Plutchik. It helps to create bonds with others and aims to facilitate resource gain, reproduction, etc.

The opposite emotion of joy according to Robert Plutchik is sadness.


Love is not a basic emotion. It is a complex phenomenon, composed of several emotions. According to Robert Plutchik, who created the wheel of emotions, love is made up of two main basic emotions: Joy and Confidence. 


Meditation can be an effective practice to gain perspective on painful emotions. Meditation on emotions is often considered a difficult meditation, not always within the reach of the uninitiated.


A mood is an affective state triggered slowly, of low intensity and of prolonged duration. A mood lasts longer than an emotion.


Optimism is not an emotion. Optimism is feeling or thinking that a situation or scenario will have the best possible outcome. Optimistic people tend to see the best in everything and everyone, despite possible current troubles. Gratitude promotes optimism.

Organs (and emotions):

Traditional Chinese medicine does not distinguish between body and mind. The organs and emotions are linked.

- Kidney and Bladder are related to fear (Kong)

- Liver and Gallbladder are related to anger (Nu)

- Heart and small intestine are related to joy (Xi)

- Stomach, Spleen and Pancreas are related to worries (Si)

- The lung and the large intestine are related to nostalgia and sadness (You)


Paul Zak, a neuroeconomist, has identified the role of oxytocin (a hormone synthesized in the hypothalamus) in mediating trusting behaviors between strangers. It has a major role in decision making and facilitating exchanges. 

Parasite Feelings:

Parasite feelings" or "rackets feelings" are habitual emotional reactions, learned and encouraged in childhood, experienced in many stressful situations. Parasite feelings substitute emotions experienced by others (e.g. sadness is invoked when it is really anger that is felt).

In order to free ourselves from parasitic feelings, we must become aware of them (which is not easy since they are deeply rooted in our habits). One way is to realize that some emotions are rarely felt because they are probably substituted by others.


Perception is our way of translating a sensation according to our experience, our values, our experiences, our beliefs, etc.


Pessimism is not an emotion. Pessimism is feeling or thinking that a situation or scenario will have the worst possible outcome. Pessimistic people tend to see the worst of everything or everyone, despite possible current satisfactions. Developing our gratitude allows us to develop our optimism.


Posture is not only our general appearance, it is the expression of our emotions. Each emotion tends to generate a specific posture (e.g., a bent back for sadness, an extended chest for joy). Conversely, recent studies indicate that holding a posture for several minutes tends to modify our mood.


Rancor is a complex emotion. It is an anger that contains a desire for revenge. To get rid of this painful emotion, the solution is to express our anger and to forgive. 


Historically (e.g. Plato, then Descartes and Spinoza to name a few), it is common to oppose reason to emotion. Recent research in psychology and neuroscience shows that our behavior depends on a combination of both "emotional" and "rational" influences. 


A reflex is an unconscious or involuntary response caused by sensory stimulation. Emotions are not reflexes. 


Resentment is a complex emotion. It is an anger that contains a desire for revenge mixed with sadness. To get rid of this painful emotion, the solution seems to be to express anger and forgive. 


Sadness is a basic emotion according to Robert Plutchik.

It reveals a lack. Sadness informs us that we need to seek comfort in new people or in a more rewarding activity.

The opposite emotion of sadness according to Robert Plutchik is joy. 

Secondary Emotions:

Secondary emotions result from the combination of 2 primary emotions. More globally, we speak of complex emotions when several emotions are intertwined.


Sensation is the physiological reaction to an internal or external stimulation.


Serotonin is a neuromediator directly involved in the management of emotions. Also called the happiness hormone, it allows us to take distance from events and to reduce their emotional impact. Serotonin is manufactured at 85% by the numerous neurons present in the intestine, the remaining 15% being supplied by the brain.


Shame is not a basic emotion.

Shame is a social emotion, related to the relationship with others and indicates that we do not assume what makes us feel ashamed. According to Robert Plutchik, shame is a combination of fear and disgust.

Stimulus / Stimuli:

The stimulus or stimuli are external or internal causes capable of provoking one or more emotions.


Stress is a general term used to designate either the reaction of a living organism to an aggression, or the agent or factors that cause this stress. 

Substitute Emotion:

A substitute emotion is an emotion expressed in place of another. It can be recognized by its recurrence.

Thus, if we feel fear, anger or depression mostly, there is a good chance that the emotion felt is a decoy. The other emotions are not expressed.


Surprise is one of the basic emotions according to Robert Plutchik.

It refers to an unexpected situation and it aims to give time to orientate our action. The opposite emotion to surprise according to Robert Plutchik is anticipation.


Synchrony is better known as emotional contagion. For example, the laughter of one person triggers the laughter of others.


Testosterone, the main male sex hormone (which women also produce in small quantities), makes one aggressive and impulsive. Testosterone, by inhibiting the prefrontal cortex, increases positive emotions and self-confidence, so that we feel we are always right and lack the humility to admit our mistakes.


Thoughts are intellectual constructions. They are based on felt emotions or on the interpretation of felt emotions. Thoughts can be the source of new emotions.

Wheel of emotions:

There are many versions of the wheel of emotions. The Plutchik wheel is made up of 8 basic emotions that are opposed to each other (joy and sadness, fear and trust, confidence and disgust, anticipation and surprise).

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