Understanding Feelings, Thoughts, and Emotions: Key Differences

Understanding Feelings, Thoughts, and Emotions: Key Differences


The feeling is when you are living in the moment. A thought is something that you are thinking about. Your emotions are your subconscious approaches in life.

Feelings and emotions are the terms used quite often interchangeably. Though feelings and emotions emerge from the mind and go hand in hand, you need to primarily understand that they both are different.

Listed below are the explanations in length that differentiate the three aspects – feelings, thoughts, and emotions.


When you spend a considerable amount of your time thinking about something or someone, you tend to feel a lot about that instance or about that person. You try to connect yourselves personally. You feel all the positive and negative effects of the same. You cherish your past experiences. You are bound to strengthen your feelings. You will have your own reservations, associations, and memories.

Understand that when you begin to feel a lot, it turns into emotions that you exhibit most of the time. And when you get emotional, your mind causes you to feel, feel from the heart, either good or bad. Therefore, feelings and emotions are two different aspects falling in the same vicious circle, and you get to see them quite often alternatively.

Feelings are temporary in life. Feelings just knock at the door of your mind and go away. It is ok that you carry that feeling because ultimately it is a known human tendency. Feelings can best be outlined as your perceptions in handling someone or something.

The cause of a feeling in you can be because of you or because of others. You feel either because of recalling the memories from your past, or you feel because of some external factors. Apart from these, when your five sense organs – eyes, ears, nose, skin, and tongue sense something, it also causes you a feeling.

Feelings generally play in your head. Feelings are your mental associations and reactions to situations that are usually personal to you and acquired through experience. The English language is understood to have a list of over 4,000 feelings.


Thoughts are all the entire set of thinking activities you do in your mind. Basically, thoughts act like a bridge between your feelings and emotions.

Your thoughts represent your philosophies in life, your personal set of beliefs, ideas, and opinions. Thoughts are the true reflections of your attitude. Therefore, thought is your process or style of thinking. Thoughts can arise suddenly in the mind, or can arise based on the influence others have on you.

When you are thinking about something, it means you are actually aiming at something. You really feel and envision your results. You make your thought process result-oriented.

When a group of people addresses a situation, your thoughts and opinions made not sync with others. You are unique and have unique thoughts just like most other individuals.


Emotions are your physical responsiveness to a situation. You usually get emotional based on an external influencing factor that triggers you to react. However the good thing about emotions is, they are generally quantifiable. In this sense, you can measure and record your emotions because of the innovative and technologically advanced world we live in.

Emotions can be your reflex actions or the non-reflex reactions that are mostly influenced and impacted by external forces.

Therefore, emotions are the strong responses that you exhibit based on a circumstance, mood, or relationship you face in life. Emotions are also the results of your intuitions and sentiments in life. You feel so empathetic at times that you have no reason or knowledge as to why you express that kind of emotion.

By showcasing your emotions, you are in a way giving rise to alternate means of communicating yourself without having to utter a word. Anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise are the top renowned emotions popularly known across the world. You might exhibit the same emotion as another person, just that the name tag you give it might differ from that given by the other person.

The general purpose of your emotions is to generate a specific response to a stimulus. Usually, emotions are considered unreasonable, illogical, and irrational. Emotion is your instant reaction most of the time.

Finally, what you think (thoughts) is what you do. What you do (emotions) is what you feel. And what you actually feel (feelings) is what you really are. Understand that if you are happy, then that’s your feeling. However, if you express joy, then it is your emotion. All the thought process you do during the transition, are your set of thoughts.

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