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What is the difference between emotions and feelings?

William B. Salt II., MD
Gastroenterology
From a neurobiological standpoint, emotions are generated in your body when your limbic system (emotional motor system) generates nerve cell firings and chemical release. When -- and if -- your mind becomes consciously aware of these bodily emotions, they are called feelings. Joseph LeDoux, Ph.D. - a professor at the Center for Neural Science at New York University and author of the book The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life - says, "We come into the world capable of being afraid and capable of being happy, but we must learn which things make us afraid and which make us happy." Your good stress fight-or-flight response generates emotional reactions (sensations) in your body that are designed to protect you, whether your mind is aware of these bodily emotions or not. If you also become aware that you are afraid or anxious, then bodily emotions become mental feelings. Feelings are emotional responses (sensations) in the body that are consciously perceived in the mind.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome & the MindBodySpirit Connection: 7 Steps for Living a Healthy Life with a Functional Bowel Disorder, Crohn's Disease, or Colitis (Mind-Body-Spirit Connection Series.)

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome & the MindBodySpirit Connection: 7 Steps for Living a Healthy Life with a Functional Bowel Disorder, Crohn's Disease, or Colitis (Mind-Body-Spirit Connection Series.)

Fast Facts on IBS: One in five people suffers from the frustrating symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). There is no simple answer--no pill, potion, or quick fix--that will cure IBS. But help...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.