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What are the seven universal emotions?

The seven universal emotions are anger, contempt, disgust, enjoyment, fear, sadness, and surprise. They each have different emotional feelings and are considered universal because they are emotions that nearly everyone will experience throughout their lives.

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The word "universal" tells us that these seven emotions are ones that we will all experience at some point during our lives. Hopefully, we will experience the positive ones more than the negative ones. The seven emotions are:

  1. Anger
  2. Contempt
  3. Disgust
  4. Enjoyment
  5. Fear
  6. Sadness
  7. Surprise

Anger is the name given to the emotion that feels as though there's a red-hot poker burning inside you. An example of when it is likely to feel angry would be if someone was driving recklessly and accidentally hit your car.

Contempt is that feeling you get when you look upon what someone else has done with derision. For example, if you witnessed the above-mentioned car accident, you may feel contempt for the driver who caused the damage.

Disgust is the feeling of revulsion you experience when something is unpleasant or offensive. For example, if your neighbor ate fish last week and only put the trash out today, the resulting smell is likely to make you feel disgusted.

Enjoyment of something makes you feel happy. Things like spending time with a friend, watching your favorite series and eating your favorite food are likely to bring on feelings of enjoyment.

Fear can have various forms, and there are various things in life that can make us feel immediate fear, such as that feeling when you are walking alone at night and realize you are being followed. Other types of fear include the long-term anxiety that many people are currently experiencing thanks to the outbreak of Covid-19.

It would be lovely to go through life never experiencing sadness, but it's not possible. Sadness is the feeling you get when you lose a loved one, miss out on an opportunity that you really wanted, or realize that a situation you loved is over for good.

The word "surprise" has a positive or neutral connotation to it—a negative surprise would be called a shock. Getting a job offer after you thought you blew the interview would give you a surprise, as would running into a friend who you thought was in a different city.

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