Differences between an emotion and a feeling

The differences between an emotion and a feeling are often difficult to determine, taking into account that these two psychological constructs are often used as synonyms. But they are different concepts from each other.

In this article we are going to review what is an emotion and what is a feeling, and then see a list of the differences between the two. Emotions refer to intense and passing states triggered by external or internal stimuli, while a feeling involves cognitive processes subjective and longer lasting.

Difference between emotion and feeling

As we mentioned, emotions are intense responses to stimuli that we receive from the outside or from our thoughts. It is generally transient and does not depend on any higher process of cognition. Anger, shame, guilt, joy, sadness and surprise are some.

As for feelings, these they are about the union between emotions and higher functions of thought. That is, for it to appear we must first feel an intense emotion. It is the reasoning of emotions that gives rise to feelings. They exist in positive and negative form.

Negative feelings are the jealousy, hopelessness, guilt, anger, frustration, hostility, fear, and sadness. While the positives are humor, happiness, hope, gratitude and love.

We can establish, then, that the main difference between emotions and feelings is reasoning. While emotion comes on abruptly and is often difficult to handle, feeling is more elaborate.

Anger is an emotion that appears temporarily. Its elaboration in the form of anger will be a feeling.

Read: Discover the importance of expressing your emotions on time

8 concrete differences between emotion and feeling

Reasoning is only the main difference between these two constructs. Next we will see a list of other inequalities. As we learn to differentiate emotions from feelings, we will improve mental health. Go for it.

1. Origin

Emotions come from the most primitive part of the brain: the limbic system. It is for this reason that we feel them so intensely and, many times, we even have accompanying physical reactions.

The origin of feelings takes place in the most evolved structure of the human brain: the prefrontal cortex. So they are capable of evolving and lasting a long time in people's lives.

2. Order of appearance

Emotions always come before feelings, because they do not require any type of analysis. You just have to see, hear or feel something to get excited. The feeling takes a little longer to come; the person will need to think and analyze what they feel or felt at some point.

3. Duration time

While the emotion does not last long, the feeling can last indefinitely. In fact, it could be said that people are able to choose how long to keep their feelings in force.

The emotional intelligence It is important to avoid this prolongation beyond what is healthy, since certain negative aspects affect all organic and social functioning.

4. Thought implication

The thought process in emotions is absent. As we have seen, they are immediate responses to some stimulus. Once the analytical function begins, the emotions dissipate and little by little they could give rise to feelings.

5. Universality

This difference refers to the ease with which emotions and feelings can be experienced. While the former are universal in nature (human beings in normal conditions come to experience all emotions), the latter are more complex and are not available to everyone.

6. Intensity level

Both emotions and feelings can become intense. But by nature emotions present great intensity from the moment they originate until they dissipate. Instead, feelings can diminish without ceasing to exist, remaining latent.

Discover: Distance prevents hugs, but not feelings

7. Consequences

Our behavior is guided, to a great extent, by emotions and feelings. The consequences of acting under the influence of an emotion are often unpredictable; we could regret or rejoice.

In the same vein, the consequences of feelings are more evaluated and more predictable. The logical thinking that is present in feelings serves as a dam for the most primitive impulses to be channeled adaptively.

The further elaboration of the feelings causes them to be dormant for a time.

8. Level of expressiveness

While feelings can be well disguised, to the point that it is necessary to express them so that others know about them, emotions are easily detectable with the naked eye. A frown and clenched fists, for example, are clear indicators of anger in people.

Importance of emotions and feelings for mental health

Emotions and feelings are part of everyone's life; we cannot avoid any emotion, nor can we experience all feelings.

The healthiest thing is to accept those emotions that arise and try, as far as possible, not to act on the first impulse.

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