Emotions vs Feelings – What's the Difference?

Emotions vs Feelings – What’s the Difference?

21 July 2022 • Words by Nanette Botha 2 mins

Emotions and feelings are terms that are often used interchangeably. We have become accustomed to how we use these terms to the extent that we tend to be under the impression that they mean the same thing.

Dr. Rachel Allyn (2022) explains the difference between emotions vs feelings in a simple yet powerful way. She writes that emotions have their origin as “sensations” in the body while feelings are, in fact, produced in our thoughts. Emotions, therefore, influence our feelings. In essence, emotions are our body’s reaction to different situations. Feelings have more to do with the stories and ideas we create—almost like a response to the emotion we experience.

Emotions vs Feelings

Is it essential to be aware that there is a difference?

We can’t prevent our emotions. Our body may react in different ways when we experience various emotions, which could result in our heartbeat speeding up, breathing pattern changing, muscles feeling jittery, etc. All these physical reactions can be dealt with by implementing coping strategies that work best for us.

Feelings, on the other hand, can be changed and shaped to give us a better understanding of what we are going through and how we can cope. The danger is when our feelings take over. This can often lead to an increase in anxiety if we don’t realize that we can be in control of them.

How can understanding this difference benefit our children?

We should teach our kids, even from a young age, that there are certain things we have no control over, but there are other things we can control, and those are the things we should focus on. It is no use worrying about things we cannot change, but empowering our children to change the things they have control over, including their feelings, will help them develop healthy coping strategies.

How do I help my child find practical coping skills?

It is essential to ensure that the coping skills our kids use work well for them. You can suggest various coping strategies to your child and let them decide which they’d like to try. It might work well to start a visual chart or diary with your child where you help them track which activity or exercise enabled them to feel better when they experienced certain feelings. The chart can then become a visual reminder of what to do when they go through a similar experience again.

During the Moshi Meditation Magical Moshlight Body Scan, SleepyPaws uses imagination to envision a ball of light that radiates relaxing energy. This meditation helps kids to visualize their bodies from head to toe, bringing a sense of calm to both mind and body.

As much as we want our children to understand that they have control over certain things, we want to empower them at the same time by helping them learn how to cope (and thrive) in everyday life.

Allyn R. (2022). The Important Difference Between Emotions and Feelings. Psychology Today.

Nanette Botha

Educational specialist & mother of 3 young children Co-founder: AIMS Global & Leadership at: Augmental