Emotions: A Periodic Table


21 September 2005

Edited: 13 July 2006 

Update: 18 April 2011




When I was in college, I took the class Psychology 101 and one section of the textbook dealt with emotions. I think the purpose of the section, chapter, was simply to inform the student that people have emotions and listed some major emotions and I remember thinking at the time, as I read a description of some of the emotions, I really did not know how a particular emotion actually felt or could not put a label on an identified emotion I had felt from time to time.  I thought at the time, that perhaps I was like the tin man in "The Wizard of OZ" and did not have a heart.


For a very long time, I have lived my life rather robotically with a very minimal emotional life but then a severe depression in 2001 was like someone did a cannonball into the pool of my emotions and I have been feeling the ripples and looking at all the splash every since trying to make sense of it all.


Would love to be able to make a periodic table of emotions, where heavier emotions are at the bottom of the chart and reside next to some of it components or perhaps a three dimensional model, like is used for the double helix of DNA but so far I have not been able to come up with the proper structure. 


Was thinking the other day, that perhaps the reason I have not been able to conceptualize a good 3 dimensional model of all emotions or a Venn diagram or a periodic table is that I have not identified all the emotions I have felt or am otherwise aware of and their makeup or components and so here, I am going to start a list, which eventually may lead me to make some sort of visual model.


Emotions I am aware of or have personally felt include (confused as to what is an emotion and what is some sort of “state of mind” and thus could be listing “states of mind” when not really emotions):


          -   Abandonment


-    Agony: a fucking terrible one to feel.

-         Anger: lighter than hatred.

-         Anguish: confusion + annoyance?

-         Anxiety: worry about ourselves?

-         Annoyance: anger + some frustration?


-    Apathy


-    Apprehension

-    Arrogance

-    Betrayal

-         Blessed

-         Blah

-         Boredom


-    Cheated


-    Compassion

-    Confidence

-         Confusion


-    Cowardly


-    Crave


-     Disconnected


-         Desire

-    Despair

-    Despondent

-    Disgust: heavier form of annoyance but not hate.

-         Dread: same as anxiety?

-         Envy:  same as jealousy or desire?

-         Fear: heavier than anxiety.

-         Forgiveness

-         Frustration

-         Greed: similar to lust?

-         Guilt: angry at one's self + sadness at one's failings?


-    Grief


-         Happiness: combination of peace, tranquility, + ??

-         Hatred:  combination of heavy anger and frustration?

-         Horror

-         Hurt: combination of sadness, anger and ???

-         Infatuation: fantasy form of love?

-         Inferiority

-         Jealousy: combination of anger and envy?

-         Joy: some variation of happiness.


-    Liberation


-         Loathing: in the vein of hate but not as heavy as ???

-         Loneliness: combination of abandonment and boredom?

-         Longing

-         Love: combination of happiness and ????

-         Loyalty

-         Lust: emotion or state of mind?

-         Manic: is manic an emotion or simply a state of mind??

-         Peace

-         Pride: combination of happiness and self-esteem and ??

-         Obsession

-    Panic

-    Pity

-         Regret: sorrow + guilt??


-    Rejection


-         Remorse: variation of regret?

-    Revulsion

-         Reverent

-         Sadness

-    Self Pity

-         Sentimental:  a combination of sadness over something lost\ gone & happiness?

-         Sorrow


-    Suppression


-    Temptation


-         Tenderness

-         Tense

-         Tight

-         Tired

-         Tranquility

-         Uptight

-   Vanity: heavy form of self confidence.  Perhaps some fantasy involved?

-   Worthlessness

-   Worry: anxiety about another person?


Emotions? What are they? According to what I have read, what we think is basically the results of our brains doing some sort of dance through all our memories of a particular subject and coming out with some conclusion we can either make a decision on or act on. Emotions? I think these are higher brain functions of some type. 


If the earth is our brain and our normal thoughts, then emotions are the clouds passing by, bathing us in light, or casting shadows. Like our thinkings, our emotions must be based upon our experiences and teachings but then there must be some other component to their appearance into the awareness of our mind? What is it? If the situation is intense enough, does the excess energy of all those neurons firing, trigger some hyper state of mind, resulting in emotions?


For me, emotions: can’t live with them and can’t live without them and still wonder if I have heart.



For more Ron Stultz writings, click here.