Understanding What Feelings and Emotions Are

One of the areas I am learning to master are my feelings. A few years ago, I realised that I preferred to live in my head (it was a coping and defence mechanism for me). Once I realised that, I decided to investigate and start to understand what feelings and emotions were so I could go about learning to master them.

Subsequently, this post I am going to share –

  • What is a Feeling?
  • What is an Emotion?
  • The Difference Between a Feeling and an Emotion
  • A Great Reminder on Feelings.

Let’s get started…


What is a Feeling?

There are many definitions on feelings including –


What is an Emotion?

The Latin word for emotion is ’emotere’, which literally means energy in motion. Emotion definitions are varied, including –

  • “a strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.” ~ Google and Oxford Dictionaries
  • “Emotion is any conscious experience characterized by intense mental activity and a certain degree of pleasure or displeasure. Scientific discourse has drifted to other meanings and there is no consensus on a definition. Emotion is often intertwined with mood, temperament, personality, disposition, and motivation.” ~ Wikipedia
  • “An emotion is a feeling such as happiness, love, fear, anger, or hatred, which can be caused by the situation that you are in or the people you are with.” ~ Collins Dictionary
  • “a conscious mental reaction (such as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body” ~ Merriam-Webster


The Difference Between a Feeling and an Emotion…

Antonio D’Amasio, professor of neuroscience at The University of California indicates that – “Feelings are mental experiences of body states, which arise as the brain interprets emotions, themselves physical states arising from the body’s responses to external stimuli. (The order of such events is: I am threatened, experience fear, and feel horror.)”

Dr Sarah McKay, author of the blog Your Brain Health says –

“Emotions play out in the theater of the body. Feelings play out in the theater of the mind.”

You can read more on the difference here.


A Great Reminder on Feelings –

So knowing the difference between emotions and feelings was useful, however I needed to go deeper and trust the knowledge and turn it in to wisdom. How did I do it? I practiced and will continue to practice. I do this by being with the emotions and feelings instead of ignoring or pushing them away.

Eckhart Tolle refers to this by –

  • “Focus attention on the feeling inside you. Know that it is the pain-body. Accept that it is there. Don’t think about it – don’t let the feeling turn into thinking. Don’t judge or analyze. Don’t make an identity for yourself out of it. Stay present, and continue to be the observer of what is happening inside you. Become aware not only of the emotional pain but also of “the one who observes,” the silent watcher. This is the power of the Now, the power of your own conscious presence. Then see what happens.” ~ Eckhart Tolle: The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment.


Over to You…

I hope this post has given you some insight in to understanding feelings, emotions and the difference between feelings and emotions. If you have any questions or comments, please let them below or on our Facebook page here. Remember –

“Feelings will get you closer to who you really are than thinking.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

If you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and remember you are lovewhy not join our Toolkit?


Reference –

Tolle, E. (1999). The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. Vancouver, Canada: Namaste Publishing.

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