Did you know that emotions and feelings are not the same?
Yes, it is kind of confusing because when you look it up in a dictionary, the definitions are so close that your brain takes a shortcut and register both as being the same.
But the reality is that emotions and feelings are not the same.
Did you also know that mood is not the same as emotions or feelings?
I know it sounds all crossbreed and hybrid, but the truth is that emotions, feelings, and moods are three different biological states within your brain, mind, and body.
Emotions start in your brain.
“Emotions come from the arousal of the nervous system. Millions of chemical reactions take place in the brain at any given time. Chemical reactions occur because of synapses. Synapses are parts of the nervous system, and it is through these that neurons are able to transmit messages using neurotransmitters.”
Uncontrolled emotions can dramatically affect your body’s biochemistry and behavior, and that biochemistry is what keeps your body working normally.
I will not talk about the emotional hormones that balance your body because my Ph.D. is in behavioral science. What I can tell you is that unmanaged emotions will negatively affect your overall body functions, and yes, the stress caused by unmanaged emotions will kill you.
So, now that we know emotions start in the brain, let talk about feelings.
When the emotional hormones are released in your body, it triggers a specific behavior. For example, suppose we are in danger. In that case, our brain releases stress hormones that can initiate fight or flight reactions by flooding certain regions with the neurotransmitter adrenaline, or serotonin and endorphins are associated with positive mood states, or Dopamine that triggers focus, attention, memory, drive, muscle control, or glutamic that reduces fear, anxiety, and panic.
It takes your brain less than a second to identify your emotions and release the hormones that will make your body react to those emotions, which will then trigger your response and behavior.
So, remember, emotions start in your brain and become feelings when the hormones produced by those emotions take over your body.
Moods are general conditions of the mind and body. They are not triggered by any specific emotion, but by a combination of your all, including your internal and external environment, meaning, the weather, what you eat or drink, physical activities, like for example, exercising, hiking, or the beach, and of course, your state of mind, more specifically, your brain. For example, a change in mood can be trigger by a sudden change in the weather, or it can be triggered by something more serious, as a hormonal imbalance in your brain.
What I want you to take from this today is that emotions are in everything you do. Even when you think that you are doing something not emotional whatsoever, emotions are involved. There are more than 3000 words to describe every single state of emotion. We are just cultured not to associate emotion with almost anything, especially in the workplace, because culturally, emotions are a sign of weakness, and in the workplace, lousy performance. But emotional intelligence facilitators and practitioners are here to change that perception.
Michael Miller wrote, and I agree with him, “Emotions continuously regulate every living cell to adapt to emerging threats and opportunities. They provide raw data about the world around us that is essential to our functioning.” Feelings are there to keep you safe by paying attention to your environment and knowing when you should stay or go. And moods, your mood is here to push your awareness to the limits and make you question your emotions and feelings by staying toon with the things happening inside of you with those going in your environment.
Learning how to balance those emotions is up to you for your own health, and sanity is up to you. And honestly, I think you should because when your emotions are out of control, everyone around you is miserable and out of control emotions only leads to failure and loneliness, professionally as well as personally, and you don’t want that. You really don’t.
Dr. Iberkis Faltas