Feelings vs. Emotions: 6 Reasons Why it Can be Helpful to Differentiate Them [2023]

Article At Glance:

  • It helps in Identifying root causes and triggers.
  • It increases self-awareness and control of reactions.
  • It improves communication and relating to others.
  • It allows better coping strategies and decision-making.
Feelings Vs Emotions

Feelings vs. Emotions: What’s the Difference?

What are emotions, and where do emotions come from? It might seem simple, but the answer is complex, especially once you realize feelings and emotions differ.

What is the difference between feelings vs. emotions? The primary difference between feelings and emotions is whether they are conscious or subconscious.

Emotions: Subconscious and Universal

Emotions are the mostly unconscious psychological responses to the stimuli around us. For example, when we smell rotten meat, it evokes the emotion of disgust. There are eight basic human emotions:

  • Joy: our response to something positive
  • Sadness: our response to loss
  • Anger: our response to violated expectations
  • Fear: our response to danger
  • Happiness: our response to safety, security, and satisfaction
  • Disgust: our response to unpleasant things
  • Trust: our response to acceptance and admiration of others
  • Anticipation: our response to curiosity and awareness

Additional: Emotional Wheel: Unleashing Self-Awareness

Feelings: Conscious Reactions to Physical and Emotional Experiences

The definition of feelings is conscious expressions as you react to physical sensations or emotional experiences. Different feelings can arise from the same emotion. For example, if you fear interacting with your family, you might feel like yelling at them, or you may avoid seeing them.

Therapy For Work Anxiety

The Importance of Emotions and Feelings 

Life is all about emotions and feelings. Whether or not we acknowledge them, every day is filled with them!

Why Are Emotions Important?

Understanding your emotions is essential to understand yourself. When we lack control over our emotions, we react impulsively or contrary to our best interests. Emotions impact our behavior, though not always directly.

Why Are Feelings Important?

Feelings are important because they are the part of our response we can control. Feelings are a learned response to our emotions. Learning to control our emotions in a way that benefits us and those around us means we can live a more positive, productive life.

Why Do I Need to Acknowledge Feelings and Emotions?

Why is it important to identify one’s feelings and emotions? Learning to acknowledge them gives you power over your emotions, feelings, and behaviors.

When you ignore your feelings, you develop toxic behaviors and poor mental health to cope with the repression. Emotional counseling can help you identify and understand your feelings and emotions better.

Woman Feeling Tensed

6 Reasons Why Differentiating Feelings and Emotions Can Be Helpful

Below are six benefits of understanding the difference between feelings vs. emotions.
Sadness completely broke down The Tree

1. Understanding of the Root Cause

When you understand where your emotions and feelings come from, you can learn to avoid certain triggers. For example, with awareness, you can realize that a certain person always makes you feel anxious. You can then determine why and address it or avoid placing yourself in that situation.

2. Improved Self-Awareness

The greater your self-awareness, the greater your control over emotions and feelings. Because feelings are a learned response to an emotional or physical sensation, you can train yourself to react differently to both positive and negative experiences.

When you practice self-awareness, you empower yourself to understand your inner life and the world around you.

3. More Effective Communication

Ignored and suppressed emotions cause poor communication. When we can’t address our feelings, we can’t understand the source of our anger. That anger gets directed at an innocent person, ruining that relationship.

When we understand ourselves, we can clearly express our problems, boundaries, desires, and needs so others can address them.

4. Better Coping Strategies

Coping strategies are methods we use to manage and overcome stress in our life. They’re necessary for living a happy and healthy life because stress stops us in our tracks if we don’t deal with it.

When we understand, acknowledge, and accept the cause of our emotions, we can manage our triggers. Identifying learned feelings is the first step in developing methods to change our reactions.

5. Improved Relationships

Being aware of your feelings allows you to be genuine and vulnerable with other people. Sharing your inner life builds intimacy and stronger bonds with people. You’ll feel the difference in your relationships when you’re aware of your emotions.

Additional Read: Family Problems: How to Overcome Most Common Family Issues

6. Improved Decision-Making

Unacknowledged feelings influence our decisions even when we don’t realize them. For example, you may ignore the fact that another person always angers you. Thus, you find yourself acting in ways you otherwise wouldn’t just to anger this person back.

When you acknowledge and accept the source of your anger, you can choose not to let it control you. You can make decisions despite your feelings, not because of them.

Start Understanding Your Feeling and Emotions Today with the Best Therapies

Different Mindset Of Different People

Now that you understand the difference between feelings vs. emotions, you are better prepared to identify them and your life. At Best Therapies, we want to help you on your journey of awareness and growth.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment with a therapist to delve into your emotions and feelings.

6 Responses

  1. This was really helpful and so clearly articulated. I have a hard time identifying the sensations in my body tied to feelings and emotions. I will definitely refer back to this sensation list.

    1. Hi Abby, Thanks so much for your feedback! The sensation lists can be so helpful as it is not a common part of our culture to practice describing our inner sensations!

  2. What a profound piece of writing! This provides such a clear breakdown of both separating feelings and emotions as well as, weaving them. The ability to self track and explore the sensation prior to categorizing it and placing it somewhere gives yourself the opportunity to experience the feelings leading up to identifying the emotion.
    All so important! Such a great read!

  3. I am deeply moved by your ability to translate this in a way that feels accessible. As some one who does not do well with Western education I felt like I could take this in. Thank you for your sharing of this medicine! I am proud of you!

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