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The 16 types of feelings and their psychological function

The 16 types of feelings and their psychological function

July 18, 2024

Human beings experience a multitude of feelings almost without realizing it: I feel happy, bored or confident are some examples. The term feeling can be confused with emotion, and although these are related, they are not exactly the same.

In this article we will talk about what feelings are and how we can recognize them .

  • Related article: "103 phrases of feelings and emotions (of love and passion)"

Difference between emotions and feelings

Some of you may have wondered what makes an emotion different from a feeling. Well, to understand this difference we can extract a fragment of the book "The error of Descartes" by Antonio Damasio. The author is a researcher who has given great importance to emotions and feelings in social behavior and even in reasoning.


For Damasio: "When you experience an emotion, for example the emotion of fear, there is a stimulus that has the ability to trigger an automatic reaction. And this reaction, of course, starts in the brain, but then it happens to be reflected in the body, either in the real body or in our internal simulation of the body. And then we have the possibility of projecting that concrete reaction with various ideas that relate to those reactions and to the object that the reaction has caused. When we perceive all that is when we have a feeling. "

So, the feelings are the way in which we relate to that emotional side of our mind, the narratives we establish about it and the way in which we respond to these experiential situations.


In a theoretical way, then, feelings and emotions are differentiated from each other by the different relationships they both have with consciousness and higher psychological processes: the feelings start from the abstract ideas and consciously directed thinking, while emotions do not.

  • Related article: "Differences between emotions and feelings"

An example about emotions and feelings

In short, emotion would be the first reaction we experience against a stimulus and that has to do with the limbic system. And the feeling would be the result of an emotion, and it has its origin in the neocortex, specifically in the frontal lobe. The response to a feeling can be physical and / or mental, and is mediated by neurotransmitters such as dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin. Likewise, feelings last longer than emotion, because their duration proportional to the time we think of them .


In our daily life, feelings are manifested all the time, for example: We are at work, our boss comes and tells us to accompany him to the office. There, he tells us that from the management they do not like our work and they dismiss us. Almost constantly fear seizes us, what emotion would be.

Right after, we analyzed the situation and we asked ourselves a series of questions: "Why me? What have I done wrong? "And we began to experience sadness and pity for having to leave the workplace, anger, inferiority, uncertainty about the future, etc. This second reaction, modified by our conscious thoughts, would be a feeling.

  • Related article: "10 amazing psychological facts about feelings and emotions"

The components of emotion

It should be said, but that the debate between feeling and emotion comes from far and has been a controversial issue, because they are terms that are often confused and used interchangeably. One of the first authors who spoke about emotions and feelings was Richard S. Lazarus, who said that these two concepts are interrelated. The feeling would be part of the emotion, because it is its subjective component, that is, cognitive .

Emotions, which originate in the limbic system of the brain, are complex states in which different components intervene:

  • Physiological : Involuntary processes, the first reaction: increase muscle tone, breathing, hormonal changes ...
  • Cognitive : Information is processed, both consciously and unconsciously, which influences our subjective experience.
  • Behavioral: Body movements, tone of voice, face ...

For Carlson and Hatfield. The feeling is the subjective experience of the emotion. That is to say, the feeling would be the combination of the instinctive and brief emotion, together with the thought that we obtain in a rational way of that emotion.

16 feelings that we experience

There are many feelings that human beings experience. Here is a list of 16 very common feelings:

Positive feelings

These feelings lead to more positive behavior:

1. Euphoria : This feeling makes us feel rush and our perception of life is magnificent.

2. Admiration : when we contemplate something or someone in a positive way.

3. Affected : It is a pleasant sensation when connecting with someone.

4. Optimism : We perceive life in a positive way and without fear of facing it.

5. Gratitude : We feel grateful for someone.

6. Satisfaction : A feeling of well-being for something that has happened.

7. Love : A complex feeling that expresses the best of ourselves.

8. Liking : Something makes us taste.

Negative feelings

These are feelings that we experience in an unpleasant way:

9. Anger : It is a feeling of dislike or unwillingness towards someone or something

10. Hate : A strong feeling of rejection towards a person

11. Sadness: A negative state that causes discomfort with a tendency to cry

12. Indignation : Upset about something that is considered unfair

13. Impatience : Feeling of needing something now.

14. Envy : Feeling that occurs when you want something that you do not have and that another person has.

15. Revenge : You want to make revenge, but you do not necessarily have to carry it out.

16. Jealousy: feeling that arises when you think that you will lose someone you love.

The importance of managing feelings for emotional health

Emotional intelligence is one of the most important topics in psychology today. . Although emotions are usually talked about, feelings are actually referenced. The correct management of feelings, ie, for example, self-knowledge or regulation provide many benefits for people both in their mental well-being and in their performance, be it work, education or sports.

  • If you want to know the benefits of this practice, you can consult our post: "The 10 benefits of emotional intelligence"

Feeling All the Feels: Crash Course Psychology #25 (July 2024).


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