Thoughts and feelings are two mental associations that are very close to our lives. Both occur in our minds and have a direct impact on our lives. Generally, we tend to use these two words as synonyms, but there is a slight difference between the two words, thoughts and feelings.
Key Areas Covered
Feelings, Thoughts, Emotions, Sensations
What are Feelings
Feelings are mental associations. They can be our reactions to emotions, sensations, or other things around us. Feelings can involve reactions to both physical and mental sensations – physical sensations like cold, warmth, and pain and mental sensations like anxiety, comfort, happiness, fear, etc.
According to Dr. Antonio D’Amasio, “Feelings are mental experiences of body states, which arise as the brain interprets emotions, themselves physical states arising from the body’s responses to external stimuli. (The order of such events is: I am threatened, experience fear, and feel horror.).”
Within a single day, we can experience numerous feelings. Moreover, our personal experiences, beliefs, and memories often influence our feelings. Therefore, two people facing the same situation may experience different types of feelings. It’s because of feelings and emotions that we experience happiness and sadness in life. Suppression or denial of feelings for a long term can have severe consequences like anxiety, depression, anger management issues, eating disorders, and addictions.
What are Thoughts
Thoughts are ideas, perceptions, or opinions produced by thinking, or occurring suddenly in the mind. It’s through thoughts that we perceive the world around us. In general, thoughts can happen independently of sensory stimulation. Some thoughts are fleeting, while some thoughts are log-lived. These long-lived thoughts eventually make up our attitudes towards certain things. These attitudes can be either negative or positive. Moreover, thoughts can vary from simple to very complex. In fact, all of the technological advancements in the world today are a result of people’s thoughts.
Many factors can influence our thoughts. These include family, education, genetics, and experiences in life. But we can usually keep our thoughts under conscious control. If you are well aware of your thoughts, you can make an effort to change them. In brief, it’s thoughts that make us feel and behave in a certain way and determine our personality and attitude.
Difference Between Thoughts and Feelings
Thoughts are ideas, perceptions, or opinions produced by thinking, or occurring suddenly in the mind, whereas feelings are emotions or reactions to physical or mental sensations.
Moreover, thoughts are our ideas, perceptions, or opinions about the world around us, whereas feelings are our reactions to emotions or sensations.
Feelings come first. For example, newborn babies have feelings, but they may not have thoughts. Therefore, we may experience feelings first and thoughts later as we grow up and gain more experiences.
Feelings tend to be simpler than thoughts.
Thoughts and feelings are two mental associations that are very close to our lives. Generally, we tend to use these two words as synonyms, but there is a slight difference between the two. The main difference between thoughts and feelings is that thoughts are our ideas, perceptions, or opinions about the world around us, whereas feelings are our reactions to emotions or sensations.