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Feelings and Emotions: The Difference Between Two

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Feelings and Emotions: The Difference Between Two

Feelings and Emotions

All humans share identical feelings and emotions and emotional and psychological makeup. Emotions are “internal subjective experiences, facial expressions, and physiological reactions,” as stated in an article published in Psychology Today. Mental health experts are crucial in helping patients identify and understand their emotions and experiences.

A master’s degree in counseling is joint among those who want to learn more about the mind, human behavior, and practical strategies for assisting people with mental health issues.

Other areas of study may also be of interest. This training is essential to distinguish between sentiments and emotions from a therapeutic standpoint. Let’s examine that distinction and how emotions affect people’s day-to-day lives.

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Feelings and Emotions

Although not synonymous, “feeling” and “emotion” are often used interchangeably. Feelings and emotions are very different, although sharing some commonalities.

Expressions of emotion. According to Psychology Today, in addition to emotional experiences, physical sensations like hunger or discomfort can also trigger feelings. While the text explains that not all conscious experiences, like seeing or believing, are feelings, it does say that feelings are a conscious experience.

The feeling. It is through emotional experiences that emotion is felt rather than discovered through related thoughts, beliefs, desires, or behaviors, as stated in Psychology Today. Feelings take shape in the subconscious rather than the conscious consciousness. Through continuing psychotherapy, these feelings can be brought to the forefront of awareness.

One key distinction between emotions and feelings is that emotions can be experienced consciously or subconsciously, whereas feelings are experienced consciously. Some people may never fully comprehend the intensity of their feelings, even after living with them for an extended period.

A Lot of People Confuse “Feelings” With “Emotions”

Feelings and Emotions

Questioning someone’s emotional reaction is the most clichéd aspect of psychology. However, I’ve noticed that other therapists struggle to differentiate between “feelings” and “emotions,” and even my colleagues.

To the average person, the terms “feelings” and “emotions” are practically interchangeable; they convey essentially the same idea. In response to my question, “How does that make you feel?” most people will probably make generalizations about their present situation.

Unexpectedly, most individuals will reply with a concept rather than an emotional response.

“How did you feel when your husband did that?” is one reasonable example.

“It gives the impression that he would prefer to engage in fantasy football activities rather than spend time with me.”

It is still possible to sympathize with someone based on what they say. Some people may feel devalued, unimportant, disappointed, irritated, upset, and dejected if they prefer to play a video game rather than spend meaningful time with others. While it is possible to get emotions from ideas, these two concepts are very different.

Feeling “saddened” and being “angered” are pretty different emotions.

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Is a Two-Year-Old More Emotionally Intelligent Than You?

Two years old is my niece. “Her stomach hurts” is a common complaint from her. Since lactose intolerance runs in her family, her parents make sure of this. On closer examination, though, we see that my young niece uses this emotional term for various things.

In addition to describing feelings of hunger, fullness, and stomachaches, she also mentions that her stomach “hurts” when eating. She has a vague and general idea of what it means for her stomach to suffer, saying things like, “Any discomfort in my tummy means that my stomach hurts.” Determining the significance of that pain requires further investigation and analysis.

My two-year-old niece appears to be developing correctly in this area. Still, it turns out that many people have trouble putting their feelings into words.

Words like “stressed,” “overwhelmed,” and “upset” are as vaguely defined as the vague “stomach hurting” that my niece uses.

A lack of emotional intelligence manifests itself in this way. Like my niece, many of us with low emotional intelligence struggle to meet our own needs because we are unable to differentiate between our various emotions. Are we to feed my niece, cease feeding her, or take her to the doctor when she complains of “stomach hurt”?

Similarly, what does it imply when someone says they are “stressed”? Most people don’t know intuitively, which is a shame. (I mean, isn’t that why some people seek out therapy?)

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Grasping Emotions

Feelings and Emotions

Emotions encompass a wide range of subjective experiences. Emotional shifts are not triggered by the majority of feelings. Hundreds, if not thousands, of little, imperceptible shifts in your mood occur daily.

Typically, valence and arousal are the two quantifiable aspects of emotions. Valence refers to our perception of the desirability of the emotion. In contrast to negative valence, which is unsavory, positive valence is something you want to do.

Our perception of how much energy an emotion adds or takes away from us is called arousal. Our vitality, alertness, and motivation are all enhanced by positive arousal, whereas these qualities are diminished by negative arousal.

The stimulating effects of caffeine are felt first thing in the morning after drinking a cup of coffee. The valence is favorable for many people who drink coffee first thing in the morning, but it harms others who find it gives them too much energy.

The majority of our emotional experiences do not involve feelings. Things that you “feel” but aren’t emotions include hunger, thirst, the need to use the restroom, an itch, an ache or pain, a state of awareness, a state of exhaustion, and many more.

Once again, shifts in mood during the day are usually so minute that they go unnoticed. When we feel something, it’s usually because our bodies and brains undergo even more subtle (and usually unconscious) physiological changes, both in response to internal and external stimuli.

Our emotions are most accessible to notice when they shift unexpectedly or in a short amount of time.

At what point does an emotional and valence experience negatively become “Sadness”? The situational circumstances dictate that.

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Interpretation: Distinguishing Emotions from Feelings

The Theory of Constructed Emotions states that meaning distinguishes between emotions and mere feelings. “What does the implication of my emotions be?”

We don’t necessarily have an emotional experience if we realize that being hungry only indicates we need food.

A charmingly named “Hangry” mood can set up if we’re hungry and know we should eat, but we don’t see a way to satisfy that hunger anytime soon.

There is much room for interpretation when our feelings are not clearly articulated. Is it sad to feel something like “negative valence and negative arousal” while we’re alone? Do you feel lonely? Feeling bored? Is it simply exhaustion after a long day?

This emotion could be “Grief” if we had just experienced the loss of anything significant in our lives.

Feelings and Emotions

What follows from a low-definition state of being “stressed”? In most cases, stress has a negative valence, and arousal is good. Stress is energizing, but in a way that most people find uncomfortable. “Taking out” our “stress” on loved ones is something many of us have done.

It is easy to blame our partner’s presence when we are anxious, and they enter the room. When we try to make sense of anything stressful, the feeling of “annoyed” could surface, even if that thing isn’t what first set us off.

A person’s ability to make sense of their experiences is severely impaired if they cannot distinguish between feelings and emotions. Low emotional intelligence makes us vulnerable to reacting ineffectively and inconsistently across situations because various feelings and emotions trigger diverse behaviors.

People who have trouble putting their feelings into words also struggle to cope regularly when they experience negative emotions.

For some people, “stress” can take the form of melancholy, while for others, it can take the form of anxiety or even rage. Suppose you “can’t tell the difference” between your anger and grief coping mechanisms. In that case, you risk inadvertently attempting to manage one emotion in the other.

To begin, ask yourself these three questions frequently if you, like many people, have trouble differentiating between your feelings and your emotions:

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 How Significant is My Emotional State?

Tell me what’s happening that’s influencing your mood. How driven are you to act?

Also, it’s very reasonable that your feelings don’t matter. To reiterate, physiological and environmental changes cause our emotions to fluctuate naturally throughout the day. The first thing to do when you’re feeling depressed is to take care of yourself—get some sleep, eat, etc.—before you jump to conclusions about what’s wrong.

But there are instances when the meaning of your sentiments is more readily apparent. When that happens, you may pay closer attention to your sensations more effectively. Get in touch with a buddy if you’re lonely; do something you enjoy if you’re bored; find a way to relax if you’re upset or anxious; etc.

More importantly, keeping tabs on our emotional states allows us to evaluate better our feelings’ significance (or lack thereof). Feelings of unease, unhappiness, and stress are bound to surface during the day. Despite their ordinariness and lack of significance, these sentiments are often nonetheless discernible.

To put it more simply, the question “Is this a feeling or is it an emotion?” should be asked more often. If we keep asking ourselves this, we’ll get better at telling them apart.

Emotional Spectrum

Feelings and Emotions

People go through a wide range of emotions. Various factors influence this spectrum of emotions, including their actions, cultural background, and traumatic events.

The Influence of Emotions on Actions

Emotions are a “feedback system whose influence on behavior is indirect,” Even though the conduct is supposedly driven by “pursue (or avoid) anticipated emotional outcomes,” the PSPR study notes that it also “Reflective feedback promotes learning and guides future behavior.”

The Impact of Culture on Emotions

A study by Stanford University’s APS Fellow Jeanne Tsai reveals that most individuals would like to “feel more positive than negative,” as stated in an APS article. Nonetheless, the APS article demonstrates that the emotions leading to a happy encounter differ among cultures.

Chinese inhabitants “preferred calm and relaxation more” compared to “European Americans typically preferred [were] excitement and elation” when it came to good emotions.

This distinction is most clearly illustrated in advertising and other forms of mass communication that play on people’s positive experiences and emotions to amplify their messages.

A Look at the Emotional Effects of Traumatic Events

Feelings are affected by traumatic events in the here and now and in the future. “Regardless of the cause, trauma permanently alters brain structure,” states Psychology Today.

An example would be a study that linked heightened activity in regions of the brain responsible for processing fear to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as reported in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews.

Psychology Today reports that traumatic experiences have an effect on our emotions, leading to heightened dread, anxiety, wrath, depression, and guilt, as well as PTSD flashbacks and nightmares.

What Comes Next on the Road to Mental Health

Anyone working in mental health should prioritize educating themselves on the distinction between emotions and feelings.

Continuing education programs, like the Online Master of Science in Counseling at Wake Forest University, are created to provide working professionals with the skills they need to thrive in their chosen fields. Figure out if getting a master’s degree in counseling is the best move for you right now.

Anger, fear, loneliness, shame, and concern are all normal human emotions. No one should ever feel wrong about being emotionally vulnerable.

The Way Your Body is Feeling Triggers Your Feelings.

For example, your body tries to tell you something when you’re terrified; for instance, you might scream or try to escape. Your human form is brilliant!

Body rage is a real thing. You could feel like yelling or hitting someone. Not every situation calls for this. Here, it could help to pause and consider the source of your anger and the person(s) you hold in high esteem. As you describe your emotions, take a moment to breathe deeply.

We may all work on expressing ourselves in ways that benefit both ourselves and those around us rather than in ways that harm us.

Why Do You Experience These Emotions?

Here are the reasons behind the changes in your body:

A summary of your life’s events, both past and present. This might have happened recently or a long time ago. It could be the separation of a family or the loss of a loved one. For example, you may need help fitting in socially or performing poorly on a test.

Feelings and Emotions

The way you perceive yourself. Is your life filled with misery, or do you have a generally positive outlook? The effect on your emotions and sentiments can be substantial. Optimism and friendliness are hallmarks of a happy person. In all likelihood, you will be well-liked and have many friends.

When you’re unhappy most of the time, it shows in your behavior. You could be rude, furious, and irritable. Friends will not seek you out in this way. The other kids might be too scared to approach you, so they won’t ask you to play.

Strategies for Managing Your Feelings.

Talking to a trustworthy buddy can be helpful at times. Having a conversation about how you’re feeling could be a great relief.

As the caption for the image suggests, confide in an adult you trust, such as a parent or teacher, if you are uncomfortable telling a friend.

If you want to talk to someone, you may want to talk to someone. Let your emotions flow through your drawings. You may feel better after writing it down.

Another helpful tool is to write it down. A lot of people record their feelings in a journal.

Talking to a trustworthy buddy can sometimes be helpful. Having a conversation about how you’re feeling could be a great relief.

Gallery images conclude.

Dealing With Intense Feelings is Something You’re Good At.

You have complete control over your physical and emotional selves. Reactions are under your control. You need to take action if you are experiencing negative emotions like anger, sadness, unloved, loneliness, or exclusion.

You need to confide in someone about your emotions and their reasons. If you need someone to talk to about your problems, try talking to a trusted adult, such as a parent or teacher.

Get a different adult to listen if the first one doesn’t. Everyone deserves to hear you out. Instead of bottling up your emotions, try putting them on paper (or drawing, if you like). One way to start offloading a problem is to talk about it.

In What State of Mind Am I Right Now?

Am I in a good mood? Am I guilty? Do I fall somewhere on the spectrum? Does my mood change either way if I’m feeling neutral?

How Am I Feeling Right Now in Terms of Energy?

Feeling awake, aware, and energized, am I? Does that mean I’m engaged? Alternately, do I feel more drowsy or exhausted? Does my energy rise or fall if I’m in the middle?

As a reader, I am incredibly grateful to you. If you want to read my next posts, which combine ideas from psychology, social issues, education, business, biographies, women, leadership, tourism, climate change, and many more, you should follow me. You may sign up for my email list if you want to receive notifications whenever I post a new article.

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