* surprise | [ ser-prahyz, suh- ]
Surprise is one of the seven basic emotions identified by Dr. Paul Ekman, arising when we encounter the unexpected. Lasting only a few seconds before we decide whether the unexpected is good or bad and move onto another feeling, it is the briefest of the basic emotions.
Its function is to focus our attention on determining what is happening and whether or not it is dangerous. In that moment it is neither pleasant nor unpleasant but could be seen to be good or bad depending on our response.
When we are surprised our eyes open wide, we raise our eyebrows and often drop our jaw. And sometimes this could be accompanied by an audible gasp.
Some other ways that surprise it described is feeling: amazed, astonished, astounded, baffled, bewildered, curious, disillusioned, dumbfounded, flabbergasted, flummoxed, nonplussed, shocked, startled or stupefied.
The emotion that surprise triggers – that feeling immediately after a surprise – determines whether a surprise is a negative or positive for you.
Think about toddlers who cry and cover their ears at loud noises, the result of the surprise being fear. And those kids you see on Facebook who are surprised with a new puppy and cry tears of joy. Or maybe you know someone who had a surprise birthday party and got a bit annoyed.
Generally speaking, people who don’t like surprises might be triggered to fear or anger and those who do like surprises are made happy.
If surprises trigger a negative response for you and you find it concerning, explore why. Both Personal Life Coaching and Rapid Transformational Therapy are paths to achieving this.