The difference between feelings and emotions and how they affect you

The Difference Between Feelings and Emotions and How They Affect You

    The words emotions and feelings are closely related. So much so, that we tend to use them interchangeably, even though they are actually different.

    In simple terms, feelings are thoughts and emotions are mental and physical reactions.

    Emotions are, more or less, a lower level natural and instinctive way for us to respond to things that affect us.

    When something happens to us, or when we think about something that happened to us, it triggers our brain to instantly assess the situation, and invoke emotions that release certain chemicals in our body, and brain, which can prompt strong physical and mental reactions. Fear, for example, is the emotional reaction to a threat, and joy is the reaction to a reward. Emotions happen instinctively, and very fast, without us pondering about it.

    If our brain perceives a situation to be dangerous and harmful to us, it activates the "Fight or Flight" physiological response, that prepares our body to either stay and fight, or run away, or in some cases freeze without any movement. The threat doesn't have to be real, as long the brain perceives that the danger is real, and it will react accordingly.

    Feelings on the other hand, happen when we think about how we felt during an emotional situation. Feelings can also be influenced, and shaped by various other factors, including our beliefs and perspectives about something, or our past experiences. People can also influence and manipulate our feelings and moods. In fact, almost anything can affect our feelings and our moods to go in a positive or a negative direction. Our thoughts and feelings are almost always in constant flux. It's, therefore, good practice to quiet the mind whenever possible.

    The length of time is also different between these two things. Emotions are generally a reaction to something and tend to subside soon after the situation passes. Feelings and moods can last for long periods of time. Minutes, hours, or even days, is fairly common, depending on the situation and the person. In fact, some feelings are so strong that they stay with us and never totally dissipate, from the day it happened, to the day that we die.

    Emotions can spark feelings, and feelings can trigger emotional reactions.

    It's also common to attach specific feelings to a certain emotional experience. Thinking about that experience, can automatically trigger those same feelings again. These associated feelings can be so strong, that they affect us as though it is just happening right now. We are capable of reliving the entire experience over and over again, in our mind. For some people, this can become a serious and chronic problem.

    Feelings are always with us, and at times, it may feel as though they control us. Feelings can be subtle, or very powerful, to the point where they can deeply affect us. Feelings can be strong enough to invoke powerful and uncontrollable emotional reactions.

    Feelings are usually a reflection of our thoughts. For example, if a person thinks about good things, their feelings are happy. If the person thinks that they're in danger, they generally feel fear. That's a simplified example. It's actually much more complicated than that.

    A lot depends on how strong or mild the feelings are at that particular moment in time.

    Let's closely group types of feelings and emotions by ranges, such as high, medium, low, and very low. We'll place peacefulness and calmness right in the middle.

    Ranges of emotion include:

    High Emotional Range Level
    happiness, joy, contentment, admiration, amusement, love, satisfaction, appreciation, gratefulness, surprise, relief, positive excitement

    Medium Emotional Range Level
    peacefulness and calmness

    Low Emotional Range Level
    sadness, frustration, disgust, boredom, awkwardness, cravings, sorrow, surprise, confusion, empathic pain, nervousness, and hatred

    Very Low Emotional Range Level
    fear, anger, rage, anxiety, horror, terror, and severe nervousness

    Holding on to and experiencing low level and very low-level feelings and emotions, can, over a long period of time, can be detrimental to the mind and body. It also negatively affects everyone around you, as well as your chances of living a happy, healthy, and successful life.

    We should strive to be at peace and calm whenever possible, and to make this our default emotional level, so that when something happens to affect our level, both emotional highs and lows, we can automatically revert back to our default level, right after the emotion passes.

    Being peaceful and calm, allows you to mentally rest, and be ready for the next emotional episode that comes, regardless of its level. Being in a peaceful and calm state, allows us to be stable, and experience harmony and the beautiful things that are in our lives, which would otherwise go unnoticed. It's our safe and neutral zone, and we should go to it as often as possible. This will allow us to be ready to enjoy the good times, and prepare us for any challenges and bad times that are forthcoming.

    Some people meditate, to achieve, and maintain that middle emotional level, and mindset.

    Identifying our exact feelings and emotions can be difficult, and confusing at times, but it's good to identify and be aware of your emotional level, and know when you've reached the peace and calm level, so that you learn how to get there, and make it your "go to" default level.

    Practice ways, such meditation and prayer, in order to help you get to a place of peacefulness, calmness, and harmony.

    Live well, healthy and happy.


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