What is the difference between feelings and emotions

Emotions and feelings - what's the difference?

Everyone knows emotions and feelings, but not everyone knows what the difference is. How do emotions and feelings interact and what does that mean for a person's emotional life? The easiest way to explain the difference between emotions and feelings is with the example of an iceberg. With this iceberg, the emotions are what is under the surface of the water, they lie in the subconscious. The feelings, on the other hand, are the visible part of the iceberg, they are in consciousness.

The base

All emotions are so-called basic emotions, this includes sadness and disgust as well as anger, joy, fear or surprise. They are primal instincts and cannot simply be suppressed. Emotions always come out like effects. They are tied to physical, but above all to mental processes and are responsible for all actions that people carry out. From the emotions you can see relatively quickly whether someone means it honestly or whether he is just pretending to be something. Real and false emotions can easily be recognized through facial expressions. In contrast to feelings, emotions are extremely difficult to control. Put simply, the difference between emotions and feelings is that emotions arise from an external stimulus. The feelings, on the other hand, are the body's reaction that it has to process.

What exactly are feelings?

Only all emotions that reach the cerebral cortex can be perceived as a conscious feeling. Feelings are spontaneous movements such as breathing, walking, or crying. Therefore, humans can only influence them insofar as they can influence their breathing or their gait. We breathe involuntarily and it is the same with our feelings. Unlike emotions, feelings are always there, sometimes strong and sometimes weaker, sometimes present and sometimes rather inconspicuous. But what tasks do emotions and feelings have? With the feelings, the person creates his memories, which he then saves as experiences. The feelings help to evaluate the experience correctly, and this is what makes it possible to regulate relationships with others in the first place. It is the feelings that help make decisions.

Can emotions be controlled?

Can emotions and feelings be controlled? It works for the emotions, but it takes a bit of work. To do this, the first thing people have to do is learn to understand their feelings correctly. This can be achieved through positive thinking or through positive feelings. It is more important to change the emotions, because only then do the feelings change as a result. It is practically impossible to live without feelings at all, even people who are considered “callous” have emotions and feelings. But they are particularly good at managing their emotions and hiding their true feelings.


95 percent of what are known as emotions lie deep in the subconscious of every person in the so-called limbic system. These emotions are anchored in the genes, humanity has carried them for millions of years. Feelings make up only five percent, with them the emotions practically get a face. However, the emotions play the bigger role, the feelings are only the form of expression. The subconscious has hardly been explored, perhaps because it is so difficult to get to.

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