Which emotions are healthy for you

The world of emotions

Anger (anger), sadness, fear, disgust, guilt and joy (lust) are among the six basic emotions. This can be recognized very precisely by the facial expressions (frowning, twisting of the corners of the mouth etc.). More complex feelings are learned in the course of life, e.g. shame. Using imaging techniques (e.g. MRI), scientists have succeeded in assigning emotions to brain regions. Emotions or feelings arise in the brain with the help of the emotional system. These include the orbitofrontal cortex (frontal part of the cerebral cortex), the amygdala (tonsil nucleus), basal ganglia (stem ganglia), insula, cingulum (belt-shaped cerebral convolutions) and several unspecific brain regions. When the stimuli are passed on via the nerve tracts, messenger substances are released.

Almond kernel and cerebral cortex

The amygdala is the switching point for emotions - there stimuli are rated according to threat, e.g. fear / panic. The island controls physical reactions to feelings - especially disgust. The cingulum and the regions of the cerebral cortex carry out further evaluation processes and intervene in a regulating manner. Together, activities in these brain regions lead to emotional states and their physical side effects, e.g. sweating, tremors. The fact that a situation can be controlled or not is of great importance in the regulation of emotions. If it is not, feelings are intensified, e.g. fear turns into panic. If the brain activity of the left half of the brain dominates, positive emotions predominate, those of the right half dominate, negative emotions predominate.

The body as a "map of emotions"

A study by the Finnish Aalto University with 700 participants looked into the question of how feelings are assigned to body parts. The only feeling that was felt from head to toe is joy. Love was felt everywhere except in the limbs. Disgust was especially noticeable in the mouth and stomach area. Sadness weakened arms and legs, but the chest area was very noticeable. Envy, for example, was perceived particularly strongly in the head area. The feeling perception corresponded to measurable body functions such as heart or breathing rate. There were no culture-specific differences whatsoever. Lovesickness hits the heart in the truest sense of the word - it stings. In severe cases, science speaks of the so-called broken heart syndrome. You can find more information about the study and the follow-up study at www.aalto.fin.