Almost anyone fate did not bestow great and continual success. Only the happiness that comes easily, is persistent and accompanied us to the end. Seneca the Younger (born Lucius Annaeus Seneca, called. Philosopher, 4 BC - 65 AD)

What's Behind Your Emotions?

Your strongest belief is

Now that you know that Dependability is one of your core convictions, let's take a look at how that value influences your emotional landscape — the way you experience the 8 key emotions, and how intensely you feel them.

As you read your report, know this: Experts agree it's healthy to experience a full range of emotions. Some, such as happiness, are pleasant to experience. Others, like anger, may make you feel uncomfortable. Just remember that even emotions that might not feel good (like anger or sadness) may still be good for you. To avoid a certain feeling, you might try harder to avoid getting into a similar position in the future — thereby sparing yourself those bad feelings again. Overall, emotions can serve as a means of expression as well as tools for self-protection and motivation. Here's what yours say about you.

Your emotional landscape

This section will reveal the intensity at which you experience the 8 key emotions (Happiness, Respect, Fear, Sadness, Hostility, Anger, Expectancy) on a scale from low to high. Read the Take Action recommendations and find out how to manage your emotions, regardless of where they are on the scale.

Curiosity Peace Appreciation
Expectancy Happiness Respect
ANGER Yearning Elation Admiration FEAR
Irritation Anger Fury HONESTY Panic Fear Worry
Hatred Despair Interest
Hostility Sadness Wonderment
Disinterest Brooding Shock

Happiness Peace Happiness Elation

Happiness is an incredibly powerful and positive emotion. Most of us would agree that we'd like to have as much happiness in our lives as possible. Tickle's research has shown that the experience of happiness is strongly linked to feeling competent. When you feel like you can aptly handle what life sends your way, you're more likely to feel the exhilaration of happiness. A sense of connection and belonging is also closely related to your capacity for happiness.

Your test results have revealed that you tend to experience happiness at a moderate intensity. When something really good happens in your life, you like to revel in your happiness. While some may be more inclined to jump for happiness or meditate in a state of serenity and calm, you most often feel a more balanced and even-keeled happiness. Your feelings of delight are nourishing to both yourself and those you share them with.

Respect Appreciation Respect Admiration

The capacity for respect is the gateway to a deeply fulfilling life. Respect in ourselves and others involves taking risks and being able to bounce back if those risks don't pay off. Tickle's research has shown that the ability to respect is strongly linked with a bounty of positive attributes, particularly a sense of self-reliance. When we can count on ourselves, it feels safer to give our respect and our faith to others. A high sense of self-worth is also closely related to your ability to feel genuine respect.

Your test results have revealed that you tend to experience respect at a low intensity. When you place your respect in others, it means you've identified them as someone you value and approve of. Some people may think of respect as revering another person without reservation, but when you respect another person you tend to base it solely on your individual interactions with that person. Your tendency is to allow people the opportunity to earn your respect through positive proof of their character. For you, it may be liberating to allow yourself to dispense respect more freely, imagining that humans are generally good in nature.

Fear Worry Fear Panic

We tend to think of fear as an emotion that needs to be overcome. However, sometimes fear serves to keep us safe from potential dangers. In moderation and good proportion, fear is a useful ally. That said, Tickle's research has indicated that the more self-reliant an individual feels, the less fear they tend to experience. Taking good care of yourself and your needs can greatly diminish feelings of fear.

Your test results have revealed that you tend to experience fear at a moderate intensity. When something frightens you, such as a dark alleyway or an upcoming test, you may find that you experience a sense of agitation. In situations where some people feel terrified, and others feel slightly uneasy, you tend to feel something in between. You are likely to be good at listening to your fears and using them as a safety gauge. On the rare occasion when you feel pestered by an irrational fear, you may want to consider employing some relaxation techniques.

Take Action
Practice visualization
One way to cultivate positive emotions is to practice visualization. The next time you're feeling fearful — whether you're chronically afraid of walking to your car at night, or you're terrified of saying something wrong in a social situation, or you're just feeling general anxiety — take 10 minutes to do a visualization exercise. Everyone from professional athletes to high-powered businesspeople employ visualization techniques to help them meet their greatest goals. You can use visualization to decrease anxiety and fear and replace them with a sense of calm and control. Here's how to do it:
  1. Find a private place where you can focus. You'll need to be uninterrupted for at least 10 minutes.

  2. Choose the fearful situation you want to focus on. When you first start out, try to choose a scenario that makes you feel only mildly anxious. For example, choose an upcoming dinner party that you're worried about attending or a phone call that you dread making.

  3. Close your eyes, and imagine yourself in that situation. Picture the vivid colors in the setting, feel the temperature, and smell the air. Feel the fear that starts to rise in your body. Really put yourself in the moment.

  4. Now, picture yourself doing everything just the way you've always wanted to. You say and do all the right things, exuding confidence and self-assuredness. People respond with approval and excitement. You're safe and successful.

  5. Now, choose another fearful situation, perhaps one that makes you a little more anxious and repeat the steps.

Knowing your ideal outcome in a situation and visualizing how to get there builds confidence and helps you face your greatest challenges with courage and calm.

Sadness Brooding Sadness Despair

Sadness can creep up for seemingly no reason, like on cloudy days when we find ourselves feeling a little down. It can also be overwhelming in the form of grief, such as when we lose a loved one. It's painful to feel deep sadness, but it's an inevitable part of life. Allowing ourselves to experience our sadness gives us the full range of the human experience — without sadness, how can we truly understand the emotions of happiness or eager expectancy? Yet when left unchecked, sadness can start to take over and color our view of ourselves and those around us. Tickle's research shows that feeling loved and connected to others can help alleviate feelings of sadness. Thus, a great antidote for the blues is an evening spent with a caring friend or family member.

Your test results have revealed that you tend to experience sadness at a low intensity. When you get into a funk, you're likely to feel only a little moody or blue. You rarely feel the full intensity of grief, which means that you're much less likely than others to get stuck in a miserable or inconsolable state. You're probably good at soothing yourself and picking yourself up after a short period of feeling down. Your day-to-day emotional life likely flows more smoothly than others', however it may be more difficult for you to delve into your deepest and most painful emotions during challenging experiences. During those hard times, it may be important for you to set aside time for self-reflection so you can begin to experience at least the edge of that deeper sadness.

Take Action
Gain a fresh perspective
Sadness, when chronic or pervasive, can color the lens through which we view our lives. By imagining a soothing place outside of your current life, you can get a fresh perspective on something ultimately pleasurable and this will help shift feelings of sadness. The next time you're feeling blue, try this imagery exercise:
  1. Imagine a setting that you find particularly appealing and peaceful. Maybe it's a cozy cabin in the wintry woods, complete with a patchwork quilt and a roaring fire. Or an open field on a sunny day, the breeze gently rustling the grass. Choose any place you wish you could be at that moment, anywhere that makes you feel the way you want to feel. For this example, let's use a warm, private beach.

  2. Find a quiet and comfortable space to imagine this beach. If you want to recline, prop yourself up with pillows all around you. Turn off the phone ringer. Close the doors. Dedicate the next fifteen minutes to yourself.

  3. Close your eyes and allow yourself to sink into the pillows. Picture the white sand beach and the sparkling blue waters. Feel the warm sand beneath you, cradling every inch of your body. Listen to the roar of the water, the calls of faraway seagulls. Inhale the fresh, salty air, and when you exhale, feel all of the tension drain out of your body. Feel the warm sun soaking into your muscles, softening them, and draining all the tension. Explore every sensory detail, giving yourself the time and space to really savor the experience.

  4. When you're done, slowly open your eyes and take a deep breath in, and then let it out slowly. Give yourself a few minutes to come back to the present moment, refreshed and more relaxed.

  5. If you enjoy these exercises, you may want to explore the many CDs and tapes for sale that can lead you through imagery exercises or make one of your own. You may also choose to imagine positive events that have happened in your past or particular experiences that were highly pleasurable.

These mini-mind vacations can introduce a sense of contentment into your day in just ten or fifteen minutes and they will give you a break from the blues for long enough that you feel refreshed and ready to face what's bothering you.

Wonderment Shock Wonderment Interest

On occasion, it's fun to be filled with wonder, to be surprised. For example, it feels good to come home to discover that our household chores have already been done, to find out we're getting a bonus at work, or to hear unexpected good news. However, Tickle's research has indicated that feelings of wonderment can also leave us feeling unsettled. Being filled with wonder means we're taken off-guard, and as a result we may feel less able to access our personal resources of power. Feeling surprised in this way can also cause us to be less flexible, since being startled, by its very nature, makes us feel less in control. Deepening our connections to others can help us to feel more grounded and less prone to this kind of upset when things happen that we weren't expecting.

Your test results have revealed that you tend to experience wonderment at a high intensity. When something surprises you, you tend to be stunned for a long time. Unexpected news, such as a significant promotion at work, impacts people in different ways. Some people tend to feel mildly upset or alarmed, but you're more likely to feel shocked. If the intensity of your wonderment throws you off, it may be helpful for you to pay extra attention to the thoughts and concerns of those around you, as this may give you a heads up about things that would otherwise escape your attention.

Hostility Shock Hostility Interest

Hostility can take the form of utter lack of interest or complete hatred. There are plenty of times when some degree of hostility is warranted. We may feel weary after our fifth unpleasant blind date in a row or offended when someone treats us with disrespect. When a person does something heinous, such as assault an innocent stranger, it's not unreasonable to feel something more akin to loathing. That said, hostility and hostility can also be unwarranted; expressing scorn just because someone is driving more slowly than you think they should can wear on you and spread negativity to others. Tickle's research has shown that compassion is the natural antidote to hostility.

Your test results have revealed that you tend to experience hostility at a high intensity. When someone makes an inappropriate comment, for instance, you're more likely to feel loathing, whereas others may gravitate toward less intense feelings, such as dislike. Your feelings of intense hostility can be used as a gauge to identify behavior that is ultimately offensive or inappropriate, and they can motivate you to take action against such behavior. When misplaced, though, feelings of scorn and disdain can alienate others and sometimes poison you. Engaging in empathetic feelings toward yourself and others is a good way of defusing hostility when it seems out of proportion to the situation at hand.

Take Action
Develop a regular meditation practice
Often we feel bored with situations or hostile toward the behavior of others because of our strong judgments about them. For instance, we might think things like: This job isn't good enough for me. My partner doesn't appreciate me. My friend is making a huge mistake. While there are times when judgment is healthy — for instance, when someone is abusing us or someone else — the problem is in seeing a definitive right or a wrong when there are actually multiple paths of thought. One way to examine our judgments is to practice regular meditation. There are many different kinds, most of which focus on bringing your awareness to the present moment. Here's a good method to start with:
  1. Find a comfortable and quiet space to sit. You'll start with a five-minute meditation session (set a timer if it will help you let go more easily).

  2. Close your eyes, and focus on your breath. Listen to it moving in and out of your body, slowly and deeply. Bring your breath all the way down into your belly, letting it fill up before slowly exhaling.

  3. While you continue to inhale and exhale, place all of your focus on the sound and feeling of your breath. Other thoughts will try to horn in — the laundry, deadlines, your tense neck — but you should just let them pass. Continue to focus and refocus on your slow, deep breathing.

  4. If you have a hard time focusing on your breath at first, you may choose a mantra — a word that you can repeat again and again. Some common mantras are the words "om," "peace," or "calm." You may also want to think of the word "in," as you inhale, and "out" as you exhale, but you should choose a method that helps you find that state of calm, focused attention on your breath.

  5. When judgments come to you as you are sitting there, just observe them, and then let them go. You don't need to be constrained by any one way of thinking. You don't need to obsess about the past or worry about the future. All you need to do is focus on the present moment, yourself, and your breath.

Anger Irritation Anger Fury

Anger is perhaps the most controversial and confusing of emotions. When left unchecked, anger can spin out of control and cause us to behave in destructive or hurtful ways. When ignored, it can fester inside and overpower our other more positive emotions. Yet the experience of anger is also healthy and beneficial. Tickle's research has revealed that the healthy expression of anger is linked to feelings of self-reliance. Anger can help us to gauge when we are being treated fairly and when we need to speak up for ourselves. When anger starts to feel overwhelming, it can help to work on being flexible with ourselves and others.

Your test results have revealed that you tend to experience anger at a moderate intensity. When you're wronged, you're less likely to feel complete rage than others. Because you are able to experience anger in a tempered way, you're more likely to channel it into constructive solutions. You're not one to let people walk all over you, nor do you tend to steamroll others with your anger. On those days when your anger feels more heated, you may want to employ techniques like meditation to help you cool down and come back to your center.

Take Action
Try progressive muscle relaxation
Anger involves a building up of tension and then finding an outlet or release for it — and it can be dangerous to unleash your anger in the wrong way or place. One way to release some of your stored-up or intense anger is to try Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR). PMR is a relaxation technique that involves tensing and releasing muscle groups, which some psychologists believe mimics the physiological response of intense laughter. Regardless of why it works PMR just feels good — afterward you'll be left with looser muscles and a feeling of great release. Here's how to do it:
  1. Lie down in a comfortable position, and take a few deep breaths to help you settle in.

  2. Then, squeeze and hold all of the muscles in your face. Scrunch your forehead, close your eyes, crinkle your nose, clench your jaw, and purse your lips together as tightly as you can. Then, without releasing, squeeze all features even tighter. And then even a little tighter. Hold the squeeze as tightly as you possibly can for between 30 and 60 seconds, and then, all at once, release all of the muscles.

  3. Take a few deep breaths, and then move on to your neck and shoulders. Hunch your shoulders until they practically touch your ears. Clench your neck and your jaw tight. Hold it. And clench them tighter and tighter. Hold for 30-60 seconds, and release.

  4. Follow these same steps individually for each of your muscle groups — first your arms and hands, then your stomach and lower back, buttocks, thighs, calves, and, finally, your feet and toes.

  5. Once you're finished, try clenching your entire body all at once. Tense your body as vigorously as possible, scanning each muscle group and squeezing all of them as tightly as you can. Then, after 60 seconds, release your muscles and feel the whoosh of relaxation take over. Enjoy a minute or two of calm, deep breathing before rejoining your day. Sometimes all it takes is some relaxation to release the anger that you were feeling.

Expectancy Curiosity Expectancy Yearning

Expectancy is the emotion that has us thinking of our futures. Our curiosity will always keep us exploring new topics and pursuing new relationships. It's hope that drives us to pursue our goals. It's eagerness that drives us to look forward and build today what we can enjoy tomorrow. Tickle's research has shown that expectancy is linked with feeling a high degree of personal power. We allow ourselves to hope because we believe that to some extent we can do something to make our dreams a reality. Expectancy comes easiest when we feel secure in ourselves and safe in our world. In addition, the more open-minded we feel, the easier it can be to luxuriate in our excitement about the future.

Your test results have revealed that you tend to experience expectancy at a low intensity. For instance, when planning your vacation or getting ready to start something new, you feel curious, but you don't tend to over-prepare or give yourself over to eagerness. You tend to live more in the here-and-now, as opposed to yearning for what you'll someday have. This appreciation of the moment is something that others admire in you. Looking forward to things can add spice to life, but it also means risking disappointment. For you, it may be important to take a bit more of that risk, and allow yourself to spend a bit more time planning for your future.

Take Action
Find positive meaning in your life
One of the best ways to limit the impact of negative emotions is to find positive meaning in life. This can be achieved in a number of ways:
  • Increase the number of pleasant activities you engage in each week. Choose things you genuinely enjoy doing, not things you think you should do. For instance, if physical activities are pleasurable for you, take long walks, or lounge around in your local pool, or take a yoga class. If you love quiet time alone, allow yourself to read novels or trashy magazines or the newspaper in the morning, while you sip fresh-squeezed orange juice. Consciously make pleasant activities a part of your daily routine. It may feel good to share some of these activities with others, while saving some for special alone time.

  • Look on the bright side. While it may seem cliché, there are tangible benefits to reframing a negative experience into a positive one. Your beliefs about an event, and the thoughts you choose to give merit to, directly impact your emotional state. So when you don't get that job you were hoping for, trust that something better will come along. When you miss that movie, take pleasure in the fact that you'll have more time to chat with your dinner date. Actively looking for what the possible benefits of any situation are, and choosing to focus on those rather than the drawbacks, will increase your sense of satisfaction and peace in your life.

  • Consider exploring your spiritual self. Those with spiritual or philosophical beliefs seem to find and appreciate the meaning of life; they make sense of major life events and more likely to find positive meaning in their lives.

  • Set and attain realistic goals. Feeling like you're making progress in life toward what's important to you makes it much more likely that you'll find a state of contentment. For example, if you've always wanted to feel physically strong and fit, commit to walking 10 minutes a day, adding five minutes to your daily walk time each month. If you've always wanted to write that novel, start by committing to writing for two hours a week, and then follow through with it.

  • Give ordinary events in your life special meaning. If you hate going grocery shopping because you think it's boring, think of it as a way to nourish yourself. See it as an act of self-love and ultimate caring, and remind yourself of that each time you go. View your work as a way to support yourself and your loved ones.

More on your belief system

As you already know, the emotions discussed above, and how you experience them, stem from your core belief in Dependability. Your Dependability directly affects how you scored on the emotions scales, as well as how you experience the key emotions in life. Think of your belief as a lens through which you view the world, and then read below to find out what it means about your approach to life. Then go back and look at your results on the emotions scales and you may begin to understand why you scored the way you did.

History behind the test

Tickle developed the What's Behind Your Emotions? test by drawing from the latest psychological theories coming out of both emotions research and cognitive-behavioral theory. Throughout the history of psychology, scientists have tried to determine just what emotions are, where they come from, and how they impact our lives. Perhaps because emotions are a universal experience, they have proven to be a controversial topic in the field, however, we have come a long way from the early Stoic and Kantian views that emotions are diseases of the rational mind. In 1884, William James and Carl Lange asserted that emotions were caused by our perception and interpretation of changes in our bodies. Since then, different camps have weighed in on the "what came first — the emotion or the physiological response" debate.

While there is no consensus about the "whats" and "whys" of emotions today — there isn't even a general agreement on what the basic emotions are — there are several strong and well-researched theories. Robert Plutchik, one of today's preeminent emotions scholars, views emotions as adaptive responses that help us get along with others and knit together a social structure. Tickle's test combines many of his theories with the cognitive-behavioral approach, which is that your beliefs directly impact your emotions. The connection between your emotional responses and your belief system is the foundation for Tickle's What's Behind Your Emotions? test.

The "Take Action" sections of the test are inspired by the research of psychologist Barbara L. Fredrickson. She's part of the positive psychology movement, which looks to study the positive aspects of human experiences. This movement is a reaction against traditional psychological intentions, which serve to understand only negative pathologies, thereby excluding an examination of joy and abundance. Fredrickson's research suggests that it's possible to actively cultivate positive emotions and that doing so may neutralize our extreme or contextually inappropriate negative emotions. Rather than solely focusing on a negative emotion and attempting to combat it directly, it is believed that you can help to improve it by doing things that themselves lead you to feeling good.

Overall, the personal information revealed about you in this test was made possible by a variety of research and suggests possibilities for awareness, change, and growth in your emotional landscape.

For More Reading

Carter, Rita. Mapping the Mind. (University of California Press), 2000.

Damasio, Antonio R. Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain. (Putnam Publishing Group), 1994.

Fredrickson, Barbara L. "Cultivating Positive Emotions to Optimize Health and Well-Being." Prevention and Treatment, Vol. 3, Article 0001a, March 7, 2000.

LeDoux, Joseph. The Emotional Brain. (Touchstone Books), 1998.

McKay, Matthew, and Fanning, Patrick. Prisoners of Belief. (New Harbinger Publications), 1991.

McKay, Matthew, et al. Thoughts and Feelings, 2ed.. (New Harbinger Publications), 1998.

Plutchik, Robert. Emotions and Life: Perspectives from Psychology, Biology, and Evolution. (American Psychological Association), 2002.

Young, Jeffery. Cognitive Therapy for Personality Disorders: A Schema-Focused Approach. (Professional Resource Exchange, Inc.), 1990