How Do Emotions Motivate Us? — Effects of Motivation and Emotion on Behavior

how do emotions motivate us from find it health professional authors

Did you know emotions directly influence motivation? The research found by FinditHealth concludes that emotions can play an essential role in how you think and behave.

Emotions we feel every day compel us to take action and influence decisions in our lives, both small and big. Emotions also affect how you are motivated. Keep reading to learn more about how emotions motivate you daily.

how do emotions motivate us from find it health professional authors

Effects of Motivation and Emotion on Behavior

how do emotions motivate us including the relationship between motivation and emotion

We are all neurobiologically wired, and to learn anything, we must be focused on our minds. Emotions are our thinking, problem-solving, and focused attention, and they need to be balanced. This balance allows us to connect all new information to what we already know. Emotions can be short-lived or long-lasting as they can influence intrinsic motivation in us. They range from a flash of annoyance at a traffic light to enduring grief over the loss of a loved one.

But how exactly do we experience emotions, and how do they motivate our behavior?

Expressions of emotions directly influence the limbic system in your brain which are cognitive processes. The limbic system is a network of interconnected structures in the brain that play a pivotal role in emotions and behavioral responses. Each emotion has three components that help decipher the action behind it. 

Understanding the three critical components of emotion is essential to comprehending emotions. Each of these elements plays a role in the purpose and the role in the function of the emotional responses. The first element is how you experience the feeling as it is occurring. The second is how your body reacts to this particular emotion. The third is how you behave in response to this emotion.

When you simplify it, the behavioral response aspect of the emotional response is the true expression of the emotion. Behavioral responses can include a smile, a grimace, a laugh, a sigh, and many other reactions depending on societal norms and personality. Speaking of behavior, emotions could be influenced by your aura as this is how you perceive the world.

Relationship Between Motivation and Emotion

how do emotions motivate us with effects of motivation and emotion on behavior

Emotions also increase our sensations or feelings, cause us to have feelings towards other people and objects, and produce an approach or avoidance response. Emotions serve as sensations that signal important events, such as when we need to be motivated to achieve a specific objective. 

It creates a level of motivation that we require to push ourselves to achieve our goals.

We use our emotions to drive us as the catalyst for our endeavors.

Without feelings, we would not have the drive and motivation to exceed our ambitions. We would be in a stagnant state with no productivity or enhancements towards our goals. It is why it is essential to learn how emotions motivate us, so we can use them as a guide. This is better than letting intense emotions control you.

Motivation can come from both positive and negative emotions. We tend to take specific actions to experience positive emotions and not have any feelings of negative emotions. For positive emotions, you might seek out hobbies or passions that you enjoy. These can be anything that provides you with a sense of happiness, excitement, and relaxation. 

Emotions play a vital role in our behavior as they cause us to act. When you are angry, you are more likely to act out, and when you are happy, you are more likely to be calm and at peace.

The effects of emotions can be very broad and completely different for everyone as it is a subjective experience.

However, we may also experience negative emotions that motivate us. For example, we may feel anxious before a big meeting because we understand that the outcome significantly affects us and our livelihood. 

Thus, due to the anxiety we experience, we might be more likely to prepare more for this meeting. Motivation comes as a direct result of the emotions that we share. We feel the need to take action because of the anxiety we face and improve our chances of a positive outcome. We tend to be motivated to perform specific actions to experience positive emotions and minimize the possibility of feeling negative emotions.

Remember that your motivation comes as a direct result of your emotions. Whatever emotions you experience will likely result in a particular form of inspiration. Be mindful of these and only allow your feelings to guide your motivation if it is something you feel is worthwhile. For example if you are dealing with a challenging spouse, or having trouble in your relationship your emotions might be sad and of grief. This could motivate you to seek out therapy or communicate to your partner that you are sad.

Often, we can also have misguided motivations in that we aim to please others rather than please ourselves. We do so because we feel a sense of insecurity and negative feelings and thus look to overcompensate by conforming to people’s expectations of us. A thought to consider is that the next time you feel motivated, try to figure out the source. Is it a desire or a want in your life? How will this motivation benefit you, and are you truly doing it for yourself? It’s the reality of finding motivated behavior that encourages you towards your goals.

Emotions Help You Avoid Danger

Emotions are adaptations that allow both animals and humans to reproduce and survive. When you think about it, emotional displays play an important role in safety and survival. If a giant bear is snaring toward you, it indicates the bear is angry and defensive. This leads you to back off and avoid getting hurt by the bear.

Emotions are what prepare the body to take action against potential threats.

They affect the amygdala portion of the brain according to our research.

This is responsible for releasing emotional responses that allow your body to handle things like anger and fear. This also influences the body’s fight-or-flight response which signals the body to either face the danger or flee to safety. Emotions allow us to act quickly and take actions that maximize our chances of success and survival.

Emotions Help You Make Decisions

Your emotions significantly influence your decisions, from deciding what to make for dinner and if you want to move to Germany for a year. Even when we are in situations where we think our decisions are guided by logic, expressions of emotions still play a crucial role. It’s emotional intelligence specifically that plays an essential role in decision-making. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage emotions based on individual differences.

By understanding our emotions, and prioritizing our emotional intelligence, we can use this to the best of our ability with making decisions. For example, if you need to make a big decision at work, try not to do it from an anxious or angry state. Go outside, take a short walk, or even try a meditation session to clear your mind. It can be any form of self-care activity that calms and centers you. Self-care is the act of doing things to relax and support your mental and physical mind. When your mind is calm and happy, it will be easier to make decisions that feel more in alignment with your life. Making decisions from a place of anxiety and stress are decisions made as a quick thought. These decisions are never a good idea because they gear more towards reactive thinking.

People tend to use two main styles of thought known as reflective and reactive thinking. They can vary from social aspects in your work and thought patterns in emotions and even everyday situations. A reflective thinker takes their time and thinks slowly about a subject. They develop ideas gradually and tend to ponder the thoughts or decisions in their unconscious mind. This is the best kind of decision making because you take your time to determine all outcomes. Whereas a reactive thinker decides in the moment based on their current feelings or emotions. They will leap to decisions quickly, which, while can be helpful, often the answers are not the best.

Conclusion – Research by

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As you have learned, our emotions serve a wide variety of purposes. They can be fleeting, powerful, life-changing, but also sad. They can motivate us to act in particular ways and give us the tools and resources to interact meaningfully in our social worlds.

We hope this article provided you with tips on using your emotions to motivate you in life. 

Find It Health Editor in Chief Luz Chacon Health and Wellness Coach Giving You Advice

Luz Chacon

Luz Chacon is a Health Educator, Wellness Coach, and EFT Tapping Practitioner with 30+ years in health advocacy. Specializing in stress management, wellbeing, and holistic health, she created a 40% stress reduction employee program. Luz is dedicated to helping busy individuals prioritize self-care, break patterns, and reach goals. She offers programs for organizations and individuals. Luz is passionate about sharing her health research and guiding informed choices!

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Luz Chacon Health Coaches at Find It Health and Stress Management and Natural Holistic Health Coaches