Emotions versus Feelings, is there a difference?

You might be familiar with the phrase “I’m feeling a bit emotional today”. This could be something you are thinking in your head or, you may have heard a friend or family member say it out loud. Breaking down that phrase a little further might help you understand what the difference is between emotions and feelings. Albeit subtle, they are quite distinctive.

Emotions versus Feelings

From the research that exists an emotion is a primal biomechanical physical response from the body when one experiences something. This could be from what Robert Plutchik describes as eight basic kinds of emotions that are considered to be instinctual and unconscious:

  • Joy

  • Sadness

  • Anger

  • Fear

  • Trust

  • Distrust

  • Surprise

  • Anticipation

Emotions can be measured; to be more precise the biomechanical reaction to an emotion can be quantitatively measured such as, assessing heart rate, brain activity, pupil dilation and micro-facial expressions.






Figure 1: Plutchiks' 8 basic kinds of emotions.





Feelings versus Emotions

Conversely, a feeling is a secondary reaction and is the brain understanding and aligning meaning to the emotion. A feeling on the other hand cannot be measured as accurately as measurements are more qualitative via surveys and questionnaires.

The following can be considered examples of feelings and is certainly not an exhaustive list:

  • Wonderful

  • Free

  • Ecstatic

  • Content

  • Helpless

  • Lonely

  • Weary

  • Anxious

  • Scared

  • Worked-up

  • Excited

  • Happy

  • Sad

  • Worried

Feelings are triggered by emotions. Memories, thoughts, images, sounds and smells are some elements that contribute to linking a vivid feeling to an emotion.


In summary, emotions are more connected to a physical bodily reaction, whereas feelings are considered to be related to the mind. Only when you connect the body and mind in a positive way can you overcome negative emotions and manage the feelings associated with them.


By combining Time Line TherapyTM, Hypnosis and Neurolinguistic (NLP) techniques you can change your mindset develop coping techniques.


At Mind Evolution Company, our fully trained coaches can help you to overcome your negative emotions. Following a free, no obligation consultation, we work with you to put together a bespoke, 1-2-1 personal development plan of anywhere between 4 to 8 sessions, plus personal challenges to help you manage your emotions and feelings. Get in touch today for details.

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