Chukwudi Awaibe Written by Chukwudi Awaibe · 2 min read >

Emotion is a strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others. In the Emotional intelligence class at Lagos Business School, we were taught that there are six basic emotions in the human body.

The Six Basic Emotions


When you are afraid, your body reacts in a certain manner. The circuits in the emotional brain trigger the rush of hormones that puts your body on alert, and you are ready to do two things, either you flee, or you fight. It is the hormones in your body that have been triggered to put you under that alert.

When you are afraid, blood flows into some of your skeletal muscles, especially the legs and the hands, making it easy for you to run, if you want to run. Sometimes, when we are afraid, we run more than we ever thought we could. That’s how the body has been configured to respond to fear.


When you are angry, blood flows into your hands, and it makes it possible to grab a weapon or to set a punch. The kind of punch you can give when you are angry, you might not be able to give it if you are not angry. When you are angry, your heartbeat increases, your adrenalin pumps and you get this energy that you never knew existed. One can kill from anger. One must control his or her anger.


When you are surprised, your eyebrow lifts. It is like you are allowing more light into your retina, so you have a better understanding of what is making you surprised. This allows you to get more information on what is going on and how to act.


When you are happy, something happens to your body. There is a nice increase in the activities in the emotional brain, which quiets or makes you quiet enough so as not to be worried. The hormone that we create at that point replaces the hormone that would have made us worried. This puts us in a relaxed mood, and we are now enthusiastic to do whatever task is ahead.

When someone is happy, the body prepares him or her to be ready to work and to give his or her best. If you are a leader and you can make your people happy all the time, they will always perform for you, they will always deliver. Because this is the way the body has been configured.


When you are sad, the body’s energy drops and with it brings a drop in your enthusiasm. The energy in a happy person rises and makes him enthusiastic. For the sad person, it drops. The dropping is the way the body has been configured to help you to cope with that situation. With that frustration, that mourning, that loss, you find yourself unable to do anything. With time, depending on the individual the energy level gradually returns, helping the person to “Get on with life”.


When disgusted, the upper lip is curled and the nose slightly wrinkled, suggesting an attempt (that dates to the olden days) to close the nose to the “disgusting odour ” or spit out a noxious food. The odour could be physical, or somebody’s activity. But there is an odour you just don’t like. That’s the way our body has been configured.

Of the six basic emotions, Anger has been described as “The most seductive of all emotions” – Goleman

This is because when you are angry, you are seduced, you find every reason to justify your anger and until you have acted out your anger, you will not feel satisfied. But anger is not bad.

According to Aristotle “Anyone can become angry – that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way that is not easy” – Aristotle, The Nichomachean Ethics

Most of the time we are guilty of transferred aggression. At that point, anyone or everyone nearby becomes an enemy because we are transferring anger to the wrong people. One of the things that shows that you are not emotionally intelligent is your inability to manage your anger.


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