Emotions, Feelings, & Moods

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.

Now mood,

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






Emotional Intelligence Series: ADAPTABILITY

The older you are, the more difficult it is for you to adapt to new things. Your approaches to life change with experience, age, maturity, and adaptability. As you read this post, think about your personality also defines the way you adapt to things.

In the last couple of years, adaptability has been talked about as an independent cognitive quotient that measures a person’s ability and receptiveness to changes in the workplace. Here, I want to explain adaptability under the umbrella of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence has many definitions. But before we get into it, think about this, everything you do creates a systematic stimulative emotional response by association. For example, you get angry at work, drive home and get more irate on the road because of traffic. You get home, and you are already there.  The truth is that anything will trigger you to get more furious. You will end up fighting with your partner, the kids, your significant other, or anyone, including the cat. That is what emotional responses by association are.

Based on the philosophy of behaviorism, the sources of behavior are external in the environment. The core meaning of emotional intelligence is to help you perceive, understand, and manage your emotions, so you can use the information within your environment to guide your decisions and actions. It doesn’t matter what you do or where you are. All of your actions and inactions will have a systematic ripple effect with intended or unintended consequences toward everyone around you.

That is where the important role of adaptability comes into play. In emotional intelligence, adaptability is the capacity to perceive your environment, ponder upon it, and then make the appropriate responses to change and adapt to new situations. It is your ability to modify, adjust, and regulate your behavior to adapt—even if temporarily—to different circumstances and different people.

Suppose you struggle to adapt to changes, depending on your personality and emotional intelligence abilities. In that case, you go through different stages before succumbing to the dazzling seductresses of adaptability. You might find yourself:

  • Surprised, shocked, or alarmed
  • Resistant, opposing, divergent to comply or follow
  • Refusing profusely, with the unwillingness or disinclination to accept
  • Emotional exhaustion, physical tiredness, or weariness
  • Negotiation, dialogue, debate, or conciliation, and
  • Acceptance

When faced with the uncertainty of changes, it is human nature to first be alarmed by the unknown. Some of the emotions associated with the initial resistance to adapt are shock, dismay, disillusion, perplexing, and confusion. Your body might also react to the resistance to adapt by showing a decrease in body temperature, or an increase in palpitation, triggering a defensive reaction, such as the fight-or-flight response. During the resistance stage, you seek all possibilities—including divine intervention—to explain why this is happening to you. Your resistance might result from emotions such as fear, anxiety, insecurity for the unknown, feeling helpless for the lack of choices, worried, nervous, may be excluded from the decisions and exposed to comply.

Your refusal to accept the changes and unwillingness to even cooperate leave you insolated, vulnerable, maybe depressed, and hurt. Depending on the situation, you might feel powerless and somehow victimized, resentful, and disappointed because you might feel you are being forced into an unwanted and unexpected situation that you feel not ready for.

Then, there is the emotional exhaustion and, with it, the feeling of tiredness and weariness. Here, you start feeling unfocused. You might lose interest because you’re feeling out of control. You might feel rushed, overwhelmed, and stressed, to the point where you feel like giving up. During the exhaustion stage, you might experience emotional breakdowns that could be externalized as either sadness or angriness or any other form of negative emotions.

And then, there is the negotiation stage, where you are doing everything you can to keep everything as it is because of the security and certainty it gives you. During this stage, you argue your motives, trying to convince others to see things from your perspective and viewpoint. Failure to adapt prolongs stressful situations. It causes sleep disturbances, irritability, severe loss of concentration, restlessness, trembling that disturbs motor coordination, fatigue, jumpiness, low startle threshold, vulnerability to anxiety attacks, depressed mood, and crying spells.

Acceptance is the last stage of struggling to adapt to changes and new environments. After accepting the changes and starting your journey through adaptability, other emotional intelligence skills also come into play. You enable yourself to adjust to the new changes and effectively begin seeing the benefits of adjusting efficiently to those changes.

Adaptability is not only for the workplace but also for your personal life. It involves a sense of adjustment, changing your sensory and perceptual visual and mental adaptation system. For example, after breaking up a long-term relationship, you have to readjust your routine and adapt to life on your own without the dependency of the other person. Or, after losing a job where you worked for years, you have to change your routine to include the new changes that might involve something as simple as changing your favorite coffee shop or lunch place. Unfortunately, adaptability also includes deeply emotional situations, like, for example, learning to live with the loss of a loved one. The secret is not to fight it but learn to adapt to it. Fighting it will only create periods of suffering and concurrent activities that threaten your overall mental, physical, and emotional stability.

Keep an open mind. Don’t be too harsh on yourself. The world keeps changing and evolving. It is nearly impossible that you or your environment will not change with it. Don’t force what cannot be. Keep in mind that changes and adaptability are part of your daily life. Allow yourself to try new people, new environments. You don’t have to like it to try it, but you have to adapt to it. Try to enable yourself to meet new challenges and learn new things. Push yourself each day to do one thing that you had never done before. By doing so, you are exposing and training your brain to be receptive to new things and changes. Learn emotional intelligence. Adaptability involves self-awareness, self-management, self-perception, self-expression, interpersonal, stress-management, social-awareness, relationship management, and the ability to control your impulses, all of which are emotional intelligence competencies.

Dr. Iberkis Faltas