One important part of a healthy personality is being able to express emotions in appropriate ways.  An emotion is a reaction to a situation that involves your mind, body, and behavior.  Research shows that people are born with a few basic, or primary, emotions.  Primary emotions are emotions expressed by people in all cultures.  Happiness, sadness, anger, and fear are examples of primary emotions.

Happiness - People feeling happy for many different reasons and sometimes for no particular reason at all.  Happiness is a normal response to pleasant events in one's life.  Feeling happy helps you feel good about yourself.  Make a list of the things you enjoy.  Then, try to make room in your daily life for these experiences.  If you enjoy skating with friends, for example, make plans with your friends to go skating.  If you like to read books, set aside some time each day for reading.  The good feelings that result will stay with you for the rest of the day.

Sadness - Sadness is a normal response to disappointing events in your life.  A day when nothing goes right, a poor grade in school, or family problems can leave you feeling sad and empty.  When you are sad, you may cry, eat more or less than normal, feel tired, or withdraw from those around you.  If you are sad about the death of a loved one, you will likely experience a period of deep sorrow known as grief.

What can you do to overcome feelings of sadness?  You can share your feelings with a close relative or friend.  if you are sad about a failure, it might help to make a list of your accomplishments or do something nice for yourself.  It is important not to withdraw from other people or isolate yourself.  If you do, your sadness can become overwhelming.

Anger - Feelings of anger can range from mild resentment to intense rage.  You probably experienced the tense muscles, racing heart, and rapid breathing associated with anger.  You may even have gotten red in the face and clenched your fists.  Anger is a normal response to feeling frustrated or helpless. 

Anger can be either a helpful or harmful situation.  Anger is helpful when it provides you with the energy neccessary to try to change things.  Anger can also be destructive.  People who tend to express anger in negative ways may hurt themsselves and others.  They are also at greater risk for developing illnesses such as heart disease.

Fear - Fear is the emotion you feel when you recognize a threat to your security.  You feel fear when the car you are riding in starts to skid, someone threatens to hit you, or the smoke alarm goes off in your home.  As with anger, wen you are afraid, your heart races and your breathing speeds up.  You may also feel cold and sweaty.

Fear can be a helpful emotion because it can lead you to run from life-threatening situations.  Fear can be a harmful emotion when it is not based on a real threat or when it is an overreaction to a perceived threat.  Unrealistic fears can prevent people from living a normal life and doing the things they want to do.  For example, a person who is afraid of elevators may be unable to live or work in a high-rise building.