Maladaptive Emotions Do Not Exist

We create the maladaptive or adaptive power of an emotion. Emotions have a certain energy and a message, but we are the ones who decide what we do with them.
There are no maladaptive emotions

Emotions have an adaptive and evolutionary value, as science has shown. Studies by Barbara L. Fredrickson, professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, show that basic emotions have an inherent adaptive function. These findings lead to the conclusion that maladaptive emotions do not exist.

In many cases, emotions are more topographically maladaptive, very intense, or very often manifest in different situations. All emotions have a function that makes them useful, regardless of the pleasant feeling they can arouse. Indeed, even the most unpleasant emotions have important functions in social and personal adjustment.

Your emotions are the product of an evolution that was sensitive to the characteristics of the outside world. Still, not everything has gotten out of hand in the genetic equation we call emotions. In particular, you can interpret emotions and adapt them to a situation. In doing so, you have the opportunity to control their intensity and message.

A sad woman sits with her head in her hands

What are maladaptive emotions

Jorge Bucay says that many emotions manifest beyond your ability to choose. Therefore you are not responsible for it. However, you are responsible for how you behave.

You experience (or will experience) all possible emotions within the emotional spectrum that you inherit from your ancestors. In particular, your brain acquires these emotions phylogenetically.

It is important to note that everyone will feel ’embarrassing’ emotions at some point in their life. For example, jealousy, anger and sadness. The sooner you stop thinking you need to hide or minimize these emotions, the more you can benefit from them.

Emotions are neither good nor bad

Sometimes jealousy can be a ‘good’ thing and the feeling of joy can be a ‘bad’ thing. This, of course, depends on the situation in which you experience these emotions. Or, more convincingly, it’s important to understand that feeling these emotions isn’t good or bad. It is mostly evolutionary and what you do with these emotions is what is reprehensible or praiseworthy.

We already know that maladaptive emotions do not exist. Instead, there is maladaptive behavior. As an example, let’s look at the emotion of anger. No one is or will ever be exempt from feeling anger.

It is an emotion that has helped humans to survive and develop as a species. In particular , anger helps us in situations where it is necessary to increase neuronal activity, such as muscle strength and heart rate.

Therefore, anger as an emotion is necessary. What you do with this emotion, however, is what can be maladaptive. You may feel angry for a variety of reasons, but how you act will be completely up to you.

That is why it is important to know why you are experiencing these emotions. Then you will be able to handle all possible reactions in your repertoire. You are not guilty of anger. Rather, you are guilty of what you do with that energy and its message.

The adaptive value of emotions

As we have already seen, emotions are neither good nor bad. Instead, the context and the person in general give specific meaning to the emotions.

In the previous sections, we talked about their adaptive value. But just as they can be of great help, they can also cause conflict and disruption when we don’t manage our emotions well.

Unpleasant emotions have an adaptive value. For example, they can make you more cautious. They can also be the impetus you need to defend your rights. At the same time, however, they are also the source of many bad emotional adaptations. That’s why we wrongly talk about maladaptive, or maladaptive, emotions.

Anxiety, for example, is an emotional state that results from adaptive stimuli during evolution. In particular, fear ensured the survival of humanity by equipping them with skills to better deal with threatening and potentially harmful situations.

This emotional state can lead to a simple state of alertness as well as potentially threatening stimuli, such as the powerful responses associated with fear and panic.

A man is deep in thought

Sometimes people feel anxious when it is not necessary. If it doesn’t go away, it can lead to other pathologies such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Phobias, Panic Attacks and many other conditions that you can find in the fifth version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders .

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