Emotions remind me of quantum mechanics. Despite my limited understanding of both things, I can say with some certainty that the act of observing emotions change the emotions themselves.
We can try to recreate stimuli, hoping it’ll recreate the energy levels or mood we experienced some time ago. It’ll never work – not just because perfect recreation is impossible but also because we, ourselves, have changed. Initial state matters a lot. Imagine pressing a bunch of buttons in MS Word and expecting it to operate like Adobe photoshop. Resetting our state is a lot harder than resetting a computer or booting up a new program.
And once we’re conscious of things, that also changes our emotional response. Over-examination can lead to self-doubt.
I have suffered from performance anxiety. When I am even conscious of the possibility, the fact that it’s bringing doubt into my mind about my ability to perform starts a self-fulfilling prophecy. I have enjoyed sex in the past but only when not worrying about it. But worry isn’t an easy emotion to dispel and trying to stop thinking about something can start a vicious cycle.
Ultimately, it can be the same for particular emotions. Despite what some folk may think (I’ll happily sing or dance in front of a crowd or make a fool out of myself) I do sometimes get anxious and whilst logic can help to actually just go through the motions, the emotional state only changes when any worries are forgotten – when there’s enough other stimulus.
I guess that’s one way of overcoming anxiety/worry – just fill yourself with stimuli. Podcasts at double speed. Music. Lectures in a screen whilst I’m multitasking. The Animator’s Handbook may recommend against this but I feel the need.
I don’t have the answers but I do know that the scientific process can only go so far and has its own limits. Logic and planning are useful, but sometimes you just gotta do what feels right.