9 effective ways in which emotion helps a person


Emotional behaviour involves both physiological and psychological activities. Any emotion consists of both mental and cognitive components and physiological responses. Emotion helps persons in the following ways.

1. Emotion prepares the individuals for actions:

Preparation for action means aiding the development of effective responses. Thus emotion gives motion to the organism to respond, i.e., either to move towards the goal (move away from the harmful stimulus environment.


Emotion activates directs behaviour towards the goal, it serves as a motive for locomotion towards the desired object; it also serves as a basis for avoidance or flight-behaviour when the situation arises. For example, being emotionally attached (towards music, one may go for admission to a music college instead of mainstream of science, arts or commerce etc. The individual gets satisfaction out of such music pursuit, and it serves as reinforcement for seeking out similar course of action in future.

2. Emotion is behaviour-arousal:

That means the individual being emotional becomes active for a prolonged period. He or she goes on working tirelessly. This continuous action does not usually happen when one is in a state of calmness and relaxation.

For example, political party workers continue to ceaselessly before their election schedule canvassing for their party candidates. During festival and wedding ceremonies members of the become overactive arranging decorations, lightings, music and dinner etc. This is because they become emotional about the event, and the emotion arouses in them a set of behaviors towards a desired goal.


3. Emotion prepares the individual to be insensitive to physical pains and injuries:

For example, one forgets his/her hunger, as one has to attend an urgent meeting. During outdoor games such as football or cricket, players hardly become aware of any muscular pain or injury unless it is very severe. They become conscious of their pain only after the event is over. In picnics, parties, and fanfares, participants hardly become aware of their minor bruises.

4. Emotion activates the individual to use his maximum potential at the time of life-threatening dangers:

For example, when an individual is about to be attacked by an enemy or a beast, he/she tries to exert maximum strength to save his/her life and escape into safety. Very often we come across the news that a pouncing leopard was killed by a cowherd boy by means of a small weapon. During emotional state the motor organs are supplied with more flow of blood and thus become energetic.


5. Emotion helps us to regulate and appropriately modify our social interactions with others:

Whether verbal or nonverbal, our emotional behaviour is observed by others; their reactions act as a signal to us. We become aware of our emotional behaviour. In course of time, this awareness leads us to be more effective in our social interaction with our fellowmen. For example, a father who notices frightening responses in his son seeing a stranger may explain, persuade, and finally convince him not to fear this loving stranger, and thus teach him to deal with the world effectively.

The world has been enriched due to some healthy emotions such as parental affection, piety, love, compassion, fellow feeling, patriotism, martyrdom, reverence for genius, love for plants and flowers, tenderness for animals and pets etc. F. L. Ruch states that emotion involves four types of responses: (a) destructive responses, (b) approach responses, (c) retreat or flight, and (d) stopping of responses

6. Destructive Responses:


Emotional behaviour is manifested through destructive responses, such as attacking, hitting, biting, kicking, spitting, shouting, and abusing. Destruction of self and others are noticed in extreme cases. Each individual expresses his anger and frustrations in unique ways. The civilized society has influenced the modern man not to be quite obvious in expressing his emotions. Rather the expectation is to inhibit strong emotional reactions from being expressed in physical forms. These inhibited emotional urges sometimes find expressions indirectly through ridicule, parody or snobbery.

7. Approach Responses:

There are some pleasant emotional situations which the individual seeks with delight and interest. For example, a lover and a beloved eagerly want a quick meeting of the two. They welcome each other with gusto. The individual shows approach responses where there possibilities of success. Approach behaviours are manifested in peace satisfaction, and contentment. A confident football player demonstrates such approach behaviours before entering the field for a scheduled match.

8. Retreat or Flight Responses:


Due to fear emotion, the individual take flight and goes away from the goal-object. The flight may be direct or indirect. Running away from a place out of fear of a biting dog is an example of direct flight. But the situation, where direct flight is not possible, psychological retreat is an alternative. There are some individuals who frequently change their jobs or even marital lives. The modern man demonstrates his flight through apology excuses, reconciliatory approach, and several withdrawal responses. Daydreaming, childish behaviour, and regression are some of the examples of such repressed emotional-retreat responses.

9. Stopping of Responses:

Excessive disappointment and sorrow may create in an individual a state of complete inactivity, a situation where he stops all kinds of responses and remains static. Because of extreme emotional shock, he cases to work, talk, and take food. The individual experience a state of depression, and loses all interest in pleasurable activities. The person sometimes may require to be forcibly fed by the doctor. But this does mean that we will not have our normal shares of frustrations, disappointments or grief. Stopping of response owing to grief etc. point out our limitation: well as deficiencies, thereby aiding us to gain insight as to how this can overcome.


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