Many of us often confuse our feelings with emotions and this tends to cloud our judgment in many situations. While the feelings vs. emotions debate are endless, the important thing to understand is that they are distinct, generate separate needs and therefore should be addressed differently. Feelings and emotions are like two sides of the same coin.
Above all, once you can differentiate your feelings from your emotions, you are likely to exhibit better emotional control and in most cases, this will help you avoid regrets in your interpersonal relationships. In this article, we will try to understand the difference between feelings and emotions. The idea is to help you identify unhealthy behaviors, eliminate them and lead happier lives.
Emotions are measured objectively and have a very scientific explanation. They are like low-level chemical reactions that alter the physical state of the body. Wondering how you witness this change? Very simply, it is your mood that changes.
For example, when you are happy, you smile! More often than not, you will notice that the basic emotions are hard-wired in our genes. It changes very little from person to person.
So much so, that according to a recent development, there are applications using emotional algorithms to understand what you are thinking. From measuring customer satisfaction to identifying possible cases of depression, these algorithms are causing quite a stir.
On the other hand, feelings are sparked by emotions. When you are experiencing an emotional state of mind, it will evoke a feeling. A striking factor is that the feeling tends to last longer even though the emotion fades away.
For example, feeling sad may be associated with some unhappy memories so even though the emotion associated with this feeling may fade away, the memories will take longer to go.
3 Major Difference Between Feelings and Emotions
Now that we have a brief background, let us focus on understanding the difference between emotions and feelings.
1. Feelings are based on reasoning, emotions are not
What you are feeling is based on certain reasoning that has convinced your brain. But the emotions that you exhibit are more innate and in most cases pre-defined by your genetic make-up.
Have you heard about the limbic system? It is one of the most primitive parts of the brain and this is where your emotions come from. Since emotions are governed by your genetic make-up, there is an upper limit on the number that you can exhibit.
But feelings are associated to the frontal lobe which means there is no upper limit to the number of feelings that a person has. Too further clarify this divide, you can consider feelings to be your response based on your interpretation of the event. On the other hand, emotions are like an automated response of the nervous system response.
2. Emotions are impulsive, feelings are here to stay
Since emotions are linked to the nervous system, they are impulsive. Remnants of emotions are feelings.
Emotions are like an alarm or the body’s first response to a situation. For example, if you are left alone in the jungle and hear the roar of a tiger, the first emotional response will be fear. Gradually, as the mind begins to understand what is happening, the emotions will evolve into feelings. This means that emotions come and go fast.
3. Emotions are intense
An emotion can be intense. There are many instances where people have confessed to taking wrong decisions just because they were blinded by their intense emotions.
The emotional response of the body is to act or stop acting immediately. On the other hand, feelings come over some time and therefore lack the intensity. For instance, anger is an emotion but what you feel when you are angry needs to be heard and addressed separately.
If you avoid doing so, the intensity of your anger will overpower your senses when it comes to making the right decision. Feelings help you take a step back- introspect on what you can do- to stop feeling uncomfortable.
3 Ways to Control Your Feelings and Emotions
Now that you can understand the difference between feelings and emotions, let us look at some simple tips to manage them in a better way. Emotions arise in the physical body and are based on your personal experience.
On the other hand, feelings are more like a hormonal response to the emotional state of the mind. When you can distinguish between your emotions and feelings, you are empowered to make better choices.
Simply put, you can channelize your feelings to achieve your goals and this will improve your mental make-up in a big way. This, in turn, will improve your emotional intelligence quotient as well. Here are three simple tips to do so:
Meditation is a simple technique to help the mind disconnect from the chaos surrounding it. This time-off gives it a breather and therefore a chance to evaluate the experience in a better way.
You can choose your style of meditation just remember that the focus has to be on calming the mind. Also meditating when you are in the midst of the problem is a bad idea. Instead, meditate daily. You can start with five minutes every day and gradually clock in more time.
2. Don’t hesitate to talk
Don’t expect people to guess how you are feeling, even if they are close to you. Feelings are intimate until you don’t talk about it. Emotions are not.
Unlike emotions, you need to talk about your feelings. If you are feeling angry, talk to a loved one and figure out why. Until you don’t figure out why, you will not be able to connect with your inner feelings. Additionally, if you suppress your feelings, you will end up fueling the emotion which in turn can impact your mental health adversely.
3. Shift focus
The ideal flow of events before any action is experiencing an emotion that gives birth to feelings and accordingly you act. But when you start obsessing over a situation, the results can be disastrous.
If there is a situation that is bothering you, the simplest thing to do is disconnect yourself from it by shifting your train of thoughts. Deep down your emotions are driven by how you think the situation is affecting you. If you can change your thoughts, it may not change the situation that you are trying to tackle but it will surely change the way you feel.
Emotions and feelings are not easy to control. It will take practice and conscious efforts to achieve the state of equilibrium where you can identify your emotional triggers, work on them and connect with your true feelings. But the important thing to remember is that you have to put in a genuine effort because this will help you achieve a healthy state of mind.
Feelings vs Emotions FAQs
What is emotion in simple words?
Emotions definition is simple – it is the body’s first response to any circumstance. Since it is the first response, it may not be well-thought. In most cases, emotions are impulsive. Additionally, during extreme stress scenarios, it is normal to experience an outburst of emotions. Once the emotions are out, you experience a certain calm that allows you to act logically.
What do feelings mean?
Feelings are also a response of the body to a situation. In fact, feelings meaning is often confused with that of emotion. The only difference is that feelings are based on some amount of logical reasoning. Simply put, your feelings are based on how you interpret the events and then choose to react to it.
Is love a feeling or an emotion?
Love is an emotion but experiencing being loved by someone is a feeling. For instance, when you are in a romantic relationship, you experience the emotion of love for the other person and enjoy the feeling of being loved by the other person.
Where do feelings and emotions come from?
It is important to understand how are emotions created and how do feelings work, as we try to answer this question. To start with, emotions trigger feelings. However, there is no limit on the number of feelings that you can exhibit because they are governed by the frontal lobe of your brain. Emotions, on the other hand, come from your genetic make-up.
How to measure emotions and feelings?
Measurement of emotions is on the basis of the affective display of the individual. For instance, if you are angry because your hunger, your face will give away the emotion of anger. The feeling of hunger can later be interpreted based on this emotion. To measure feelings is equally challenging because you need to interact with the individual to decode the feeling he or she is experiencing.
A freelancer by profession, Kavita writes on a variety of topics, mental health being one of her favorites. Fond of traveling, socializing and meeting new people, most of her inspiration for writing comes from real-life scenarios as well as experiences. Her motto in life has always been to look for a reason to smile.