Emotional Range

by Rebecca Marcus

As human beings we are wired to experience a full range of emotions. Our emotional state is often fluctuating, similar to the weather and the seasons. No feeling is final; this can be useful to remember when we are experiencing painful emotions and also something to keep in mind during the pleasurable ones.

This perspective can help us to tolerate the ups and downs as we learn to “ride the emotional wave.”

Because some emotions do not always “feel” good, it is not uncommon for one to desire to only feel the positive ones. Although this is understandable, it can actually lead to more disappointment and suffering as it contradicts our humanness.


Our ability to tolerate and experience the uncomfortable feelings allows us to experience the more pleasurable emotions to a greater extent. Different life experiences produce various emotional reactions. If we experience a loss it would be appropriate to feel sad, angry or confused, vs. if we receive 

good news it would be appropriate to feel excited, surprised or pleased.

There are also often many meaningful life experiences that can cause both pleasurable and painful emotions, for example: relationships, parenting, careers, etc. All of these experiences have the potential to produce feelings of joy and love, yet they can also evoke feelings of frustration, disappointment or anxiety. All in all, it is important to remember that happiness does necessarily not mean “feeling good all the time, “ but rather living a meaningful life filled with a full range of emotions. Once we begin to change this definition of “happiness” we can stop fighting the emotional fluctuations in life and start appreciating them for letting us know that we are alive.

Written by, Psychotherapist Rebecca Marcus, LCSW: @rm.pyschotherapy