You score the winning goal in your soccer game. You learn your best friend is moving away. You hear creaky noises in your attic when you’re trying to fall asleep.
These moments might make you feel happy, sad, or afraid. When you have a strong emotion, your brain activates body systems that spark changes you can feel. Your stomach churns. Your heart races. You shed tears of sadness—or joy.
Not all emotions are fun, but even painful ones help us survive. “Emotions give us information about the world that helps us know how to react,” says Jamie Howard. She’s a psychologist at the Child Mind Institute in New York City. She works with kids to help them manage their emotions.
The more you know about emotions, the easier they are to handle, says Howard. Here’s a closer look at five common emotions you might feel.