Difference Between Emotion and Feeling in Psychology

The concepts of emotion and feeling are often confused very often because they seem to have a great similarity, so much, so that even in psychology they can often be used as if they were synonyms, however, we are talking about two different experiences. The words emotion and feeling have been used throughout our lives to try to describe what we experience internally and that it is a subjective event since each person experiences situations in a different way.

It is important to learn the meaning of both concepts and know how to differentiate them as this can help us to know and understand ourselves better. That is why in this Transkerja.com article we will explain in detail what the difference between emotion and feeling in psychology is.

What is an emotion?

As we have discussed previously, to discover the difference between emotion and feeling in psychology, it is important to know what each one consists of. We start then, defining the emotion.

In neuroscience, it is said that emotion is the chemical reaction that occurs in our brain in response to a new external stimulus and that results in an alteration in our body.

The area of our brain that causes an emotion to occur is the limbic system and this is where the experiences that we are having are memorized or recorded, which is why in most of the cases we are predisposed to react in a specific way before certain stimuli. For example, when we burn our hands when we touch a very hot object or get close to the fire, we learn that doing so will cause us pain and being close to a situation where we risk burning to a greater or lesser degree. This will generate a sense of fear. That is to say, we learn that before certain stimuli in particular we will have a certain physical reaction.

Examples of emotions

Some examples of what emotions are the following:
  • When you have been promoted in your work, you feel very happy at that time and probably in the days or weeks to come but there comes a time when you stabilize again and no longer feel the great emotion of happiness you experienced a few days before.
  • When you are in love, you feel with an unequaled energy, you are on alert at all times thinking about the next encounter with that person, you feel the famous butterflies in your stomach, among other emotions associated with falling in love, however after a while relationship with that person, even years, you no longer feel so many emotional ups and downs and you return to stabilize yourself.
  • You stayed to see you with your best friend to go out for a drink, you have planned this outing in advance since you have a lot of work, you cancel several activities to meet her and at the time of the hour, she tells you that she is not going to be able to go. At first, you will feel annoyed and even sad, but after a few hours or days, that emotion will happen to you.

Examples of feelings

A feeling is an affective state that is generated from an emotion; however, it occurs more consciously because people can choose to maintain that mood for a long period unlike the emotion that has a short duration. This means that a feeling goes from being something more instinctive as it is the emotion and for it to be generated there must be a reasoning caused by a thought that makes the person nourish it and become something lasting. Some examples of everyday life where you can appreciate what a feeling is:
  • A person who has been in a relationship for a while (at first I was in love and felt all kinds of strong emotions to be with that person) however when the stage of falling in love is finally over and the person has stopped feeling all those emotional ups and downs, decide in a less instinctive and more rational way to continue with the relationship because he really loves her. Therefore, despite not feeling all those emotions that caused him falling in love as the butterflies in the stomach, choose to continue with it because it experiences something more durable as is the feeling of unconditional love.
  • When our father or mother asks us to do something and we react at that moment in an irritable and angry way so that anger takes hold of us and we speak badly, then when we are calmer and can think and act less impulsively, we give ourselves mind that we exaggerated and we should not have answered like that. We are left objectively thinking about our actions and a feeling of guilt is generated in us because of the objective analysis of what we did, that is, it was not something that we started to feel instinctively like the emotion of anger and anger.
  • The love we feel for our parents is a feeling that can last a lifetime or when we consciously decide to continue loving our partner for a lifetime or a long period.

Difference between emotion and feeling according to psychology

It is also necessary to mention that both feelings and emotions can be experienced from different levels of intensity and both can be quite intense or just the opposite, depending on how they are lived and on specific situations that the person is going through. However, what is the difference between emotion and feeling? Are they very different concepts?

After having explained the concept of emotion and feeling as well as having given you some examples of what it means to experience each of them, we will know what are the main differences between both concepts according to psychology.
  • Emotions are something instinctive and automatic that come to be generated without becoming aware of the situation, they simply appear and we get to experience more intensely the reactions that they provoke in our body. Unlike feelings that stop being instinctive and go through a kind of mental filter where we can think more rationally, so we value and evaluate the experience.
  • The emotions have a short period of duration, however the feelings can protologize what we want, they can even last for a lifetime.
  • Emotions move us, motivate us to action, and tend to be more intense than feelings.