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I Second That Emotion

SEATTLE, WA – FEBRUARY 2: Seattle Seahawks fans celebrate while watching the Super Bowl at Fuel, a bar on February 2, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Denver Broncos 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

My sincere apologies to Smokey Robinson and the Miracles for borrowing the title to one of their hit songs for this blog post. We’ve all heard the common clichés, “Love makes the world go ‘round,” or “I hate when that happens.” It all comes down to emotions. Emotions make us who we are, and how we act or react, to the events of our daily lives. In fact, there are more than 400 words in the English language devoted to some forms of emotions.

What Are Emotions?

If I stick my finger with a pin, I feel pain. That’s a lot like emotions do to our minds. Our pulse and heart rate increase, body temperature rises, our breathing changes, we perspire all due to visual or audio impulses.

You might remember learning about “Pandora’s Box” in Greek Mythology class. Pandora was a very naughty goddess who unleashed many ills on the world. Things like spite, envy, greed, and revenge.

Emotions in Ancient Medicine

Ancient doctors believed that various organs in the body caused reactions in human behavior. If you were a happy person then you had a good heart. If you were mad or angry then your liver was most likely the culprit. If you were afraid then your kidneys would take over. That last one I believe.

Some ancient scholars like René Descartes believed that there were valves throughout the body. These valves would open and close allowing bile and phlegm to flow causing anger or sadness.

Emotion in Advertising

We don’t buy products or services for what they have; we buy them for how they make us feel. If I can make feel some emotion about my product I am well over halfway to the goal of you purchasing that product.

Did you hear anyone mention the Budweiser dog and horse ad that aired during the Super Bowl this past Sunday? That emotional trigger made you remember that ad over many others you might have seen.

We’ve all seen negative ads in political campaigns. Why do they use those kinds of ads? — because they work on an emotional level. Negative emotions have shown to be more contagious than natural or positive emotional ads. An ad that shows how good you are will probably lose to an ad that says how bad you are from your opponent.

Some Final Thoughts

There is nothing wrong with having emotions and reacting to them. We are at the top of the food chain because of our emotions. We fear and try to remove ourselves from dangerous situations. We smell and taste small samples of unfamiliar foods or drink. We anger when provoked. Fight or Flight has kept our species evolving for millions of years.

Pay attention to that “gut” feeling. Think twice, count to ten, take a deep breath, look before you leap, are all emotions that keep us going.

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