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PodcastDistinguishing Emotions From Feelings: A Mindful Exploration

Distinguishing Emotions From Feelings: A Mindful Exploration

Delving into the nuances between emotions and feelings, we uncover the role of mindfulness in navigating our internal world.

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Better mental health starts with Headspace. Unrivaled expertise to make life feel a little easier, using guided meditations, mindfulness tips, focus tools, sleep support, and dedicated programs.

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Better mental health starts with Headspace

(air whooshing) (gentle upbeat music) Headspace Studios. (soft music) Hello and welcome to Radio Headspace. It's Eve here with you, and it's a brand new week. Today, I wanted to spend a little time talking about feelings and emotions and, more specifically, how they differ from each other. Because when we know how these things work, it's easier to work with them. (gentle upbeat music) So let's look at emotions first. Emotions are an automatic and natural response to different situations, events, or people that we encounter in our lives, both internally and externally. These arise naturally in the brain, almost always without us even realizing. For example, when you see a friend, you might automatically feel joy. Emotions are essential as they help us make decisions, navigate social engagements, detect threats, and make connections with others. It's our emotions that help us to empathize with others and understand their experiences. When we see someone expressing joy, sadness, or frustration, we can relate to those emotions based on our own past experiences. It's through this shared understanding that we're able to develop empathy for others and connect with them emotionally. We can't always control an emotional response in the body, and that's actually a good thing as it can keep us safe when we're in danger. We might experience fear or perhaps anger. And our sympathetic nervous system is activated, triggering the release of stress hormones, preparing the body to either fight, flee, or freeze. So let's move on to feelings. Feelings are the way we experience and interpret our emotions. They are the physical and emotional sensations that we feel when we experience emotions. If I was to watch a scary movie, the main emotion might be fear, but I would start to feel my heart racing, and then I'd start to feel a little uneasy and jumpy. I might then go to bed, but still feel a little scared, which means I can't get to sleep. On the flip side, when we're happy, we might feel a warm sensation in our chest and at the same time, feel excited or even nervous. A good example of this could be going on a date. The person you like asks you out and you feel a rush of emotion, like happiness. But that happy feeling may not last as you start to feel nervous, worrying that when you go on the date, it will turn into a disaster. So our thoughts can deeply influence our emotions and feelings, often intensifying them, which can then lead to more negative feelings and emotions. And this can then greatly impact our mood, our behavior, and our overall mental health. Practicing mindfulness can really help us to understand and name our feelings and emotions, and it can be really helpful to label them as either pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. And when you do this, it not only creates some space between yourself and the emotion or the feeling, but it also helps you to...


Duration5 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

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  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

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  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

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  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

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