Difference Between Feelings and Emotions

Every person can experience feelings and emotions. This is what makes us living beings.

Whatever happens in life, we have a reaction to it and this directly impacts our decisions in life. One thing to notice is that these feelings and emotions also make our life colourful.

Without them, we would be like robots and life would be so boring. Anger, sadness, joy, excitement, hope and fear, they all add spice in our lives and influence our behaviour.

The words emotion and feeling are sometimes used in the same context and are used interchangeably. It is common to get confused between these terms but in reality, they are a little different.

Feelings vs Emotions

The main difference between feelings and emotions is that emotion is the chemical released in the brain in response to some trigger while the feeling is something in response to the absorbed emotion.

Feelings vs Emotions

When a human being is subjected to physical and neurological changes, certain chemicals are released in the brain which compels humans to go in a state called emotion. When those chemicals are processed in the body, we experience a state of feeling.

It could be a physical sensation or an experience in regards to that emotion.


Comparison Table Between Feelings and Emotions (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonFeelingsEmotions
DefinitionFeeling is a state of physical sensation or emotional response.Emotion is a state due to the release of chemicals in the brain.
ConsciousnessA feeling may be conscious.An emotion may be conscious or subconscious.
Active Brain PartFeelings originate in the frontal lobe of the brain.Emotions originate in the limbic system of the brain.
TimeFeelings can last for a longer period of time.Emotions last for a few seconds.
DealingFeelings need to be listened.Emotions need to be disconnected.
ExamplesHappiness, pain, hunger, love.Joy, fear, anger, sadness, surprise.


What are Feelings?

Feelings are generated as a result of some emotional response. When we try to interpret our emotions, it gives rise to feelings.

Feelings arise from the frontal lobe of the brain. This part of the brain controls the emotional expression, problem-solving and judgment.

Feelings can stay with a person for a long time and can even change the personality of a person. So they impact the psychology of a person and can represent the inner state of a person.

For example, if you see an injured cat on the street, it might induce feelings of compassion and you will try to help that cat. In the long run, if the response gets stronger, you might even make an animal organization and aware people about animal rights.

Feelings are also said to be physical sensations like touch or warmth. The most efficient way to manage feelings is for them to be listened to.

You can talk to the person who is responsible for those feelings in you or you can talk to the person who you trust and can guide you. All of these ways will make you choose your direction and sort out your life.


What are Emotions?

Emotions are made as a result of the release of chemicals in the brain. There are some stages that the body undergoes when those chemicals are released and those emotions are experienced.

Our brain constantly monitors us to keep us alive and well. It keeps track of all the experiences, both inner and outer to provide the necessary treatment to it.

For example, you are walking alone in some deserted area and hear the rustling of leaves on the tree. Immediately, your brain starts predicting and making scenarios.

You might think it might be some strange animal or a snake and your brain stimulates the emotion of ‘fear’. Based on your past experiences, your brain knows these types of situations require you to be protected in case it really is some dangerous animal.

So your heart rate increases and your brain prepares you to run. So, our brain gives meaning to all the experiences and predictions through stimuli called emotions.

Emotions are generated in the limbic system, which is composed of many parts of the brain. Learning to manage emotions is important so we can continue our life in a healthy way.

When our emotions increase to a high level, it requires us to disconnect from them so we do not lose control of ourselves.


Main Differences Between Feelings and Emotions

Here is a list of some features that differentiate between feelings and emotions:

  1. The Feeling is a state of physical sensation or emotional response. Emotion is a state due to the release of certain chemicals in response to stimuli.
  2. A feeling is conscious but emotion may be conscious or unconscious.
  3. Feelings originate in the frontal lobe of the brain while emotions originate in the limbic system of the brain.
  4. Feelings can last for a longer period of time whereas emotions can last for a few seconds only.
  5. Feelings need to be listened to while emotions need to be disconnected to manage them.
  6. Examples of feelings include happiness, bitterness, love and worry. Examples of emotion include joy, anger, attraction and fear.
Difference Between Feelings and Emotions



The science of feelings and emotions serve a wide variety of purposes to us. They tell us how culture affects emotions, how behaviour affects feelings and what role do traumatic experiences play in our personality.

Sometimes, it can affect us negatively but learning how to manage them plays a key role in our overall well-being. But sometimes, a strong emotional drive like motivation can also help us achieve our goals.

Emotions and feelings also help us build a meaningful bond with our friends and family. They give us the resources to socially interact with people and handle various situations.

Charles Darwin was one of the earliest researchers to work on the science of emotions and feelings. Similarly, all psychologists, neurosurgeons scientifically study emotions to better work in their fields.

Key Differences Between Feelings and Emotions (PDF Format)

Download the key differences in .PDF format, to read or print them later:

Difference Between Feelings and Emotions



  1. https://www.noldus.com/blog/how-emotions-are-made
  2. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/feeling-our-emotions/
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