The Emotion-Cognition-Behavior Triangle
All emotions have three components that work together, and you can think of them as a triangle:
- At the top of the triangle is cognition. The way you self-talk when angry is different from the way you self-talk when enthusiastic or when disappointed.
- At the bottom left corner is the arousal level of an emotion. Both high performance emotions and swing emotions are high arousal emotions whereas blue emotions dampen arousal. The arousal level allows emotions to act as cues to signal behavior.
- At the right corner is the behavior or reaction to an emotion. Mood management involves using cognition (your thoughts and assessment of a situation) to develop better strategies for reacting to your emotions.
Emotions also have a quality of being contagious. For example, when someone smiles at you, you feel an urge to smile back. When you feel underappreciated, this is a cue that you may not be appreciating yourself. Finding ways to increase your own enthusiasm and confidence makes you appreciate yourself more and this emotional state gets communicated to others.