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Creating Emotional Arousal


Explanations > Motivation > Creating Emotional Arousal

Possession | Care | Achievement | Loss | Empathy | So what?


A number of emotions lead to a state of arousal, which is a major reason we have them. On the other hand, sadness and depression are non-aroused states. Boredom and lethargy are also flat. Here are ways to stimulate emotions.

Possession: Desire/envy/jealousy

Desire is strongly arousing as it motivates acquisition and possession. Envy is desire to possess something that another person has. Once something is possessed, it is jealously guarded (think of a jealous husband).

To create the desire to possess, show benefit, including usage and social status. Amplify this with scarcity. To invoke envy, indicate status gained by others through possession. To provoke jealousy, imply others want to take existing possessions.

Care: Love/liking

Pure love and friendly affection does not seek possession but will lead the person to want to help and protect the cared-for other. Love is the emotion of attachment and bonding, but, unlike possession, is other-based rather than self-based.

To create love or liking (including for yourself), bring the people together and have the other show care and concern for the person in question. This includes showing interest in their views, admiration for their actions and seeking to help and protect them. Love of a third party or thing can then be evoked by directing your affection towards it (which should be followed by others who love or like you).

In brief, the best way to create love is to love.

Achievement: Joy/excitement/happiness

Joy is the emotion of achievement, when a goal is reached or a something wanted is received. It is the culmination and satisfaction of desire, and intensifies when the achievement was gained through much effort or long patience.

Joy is very pleasant, but is not a long-lasting state as we tend to revert to our natural temperamental level of happiness. With persistence, joy can however be extended and perhaps used to raise longer-term happiness.

To create joy, build desire and action towards a goal. Talk about anticipated joy, how happy they will be when they achieve the goal. Then celebrate the event when it occurs, prolonging the celebration for as long as possible. Afterwards invoke recalled joy by making regular reference to the event.

Loss: Fear/Anger

Fear is the emotion of anticipated loss, including loss of possessions, status, health and even life. Anger is the emotion of non-achievement, of not reaching goals and of losing possessions. Anger and fear create the fight-or-flight reaction.

To create fear, show how something possessed may be lost or how a goal may not be achieved. To invoke anger talk about current or past loss or non-achievement. Amplify this by showing unfairness or that escape is impossible.

Fear and anger are hazardous emotions as one can lead to the other and the exact action generated may be difficult to predict. Anger in particular may be directed at you or other innocent parties.

Empathy: Feeling the emotions of others

When you feel and display an emotion then others who are empathetic (and we mostly are) will feel that emotion too. So if you show passion, others will get passionate too. If you are sad, others will become more depressed.

So what?

Create emotional arousal with the methods above. Be careful with this, especially when creating negative emotions as these may be turned against you. Remember that an emotional person is seldom a rational one.

See also

Emotional Arousal


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