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  • Judith Pearmain

Tangle - A confused or complicated state; a muddle

Updated: Jan 19, 2022

Emotions, thoughts, and feelings can often tangle together and it’s difficult to separate them. We are driven by our emotions, but we don’t always know why. Ever thought to yourself ‘I feel like an emotional wreck” when life is difficult, and everything just feels like too much to cope with?

Feeling overwhelmed
Moods, feelings and emotions are sometimes overwhelming

Emotions, unlike feelings, are an unconscious reaction. They are reactions that are produced in your body, and they can be triggered by experiences that you’re having, as well as by your thoughts and memories. Although research has identified 27 different emotions, we tend to be familiar with 6:

Happiness, surprise, fear, disgust, anger, and sadness

Feelings are conscious, they happen in our minds. They are driven by our emotions and are based on our perception of the events and situations that are happening around us. Some feelings we may experience include being:

Joyful, sad, adventurous, anxious, calm, and isolated

It’s the connection between our emotions and feelings that determine why an event that may not impact on one person, can profoundly impact on another. It’s impossible to compare your reaction with someone else as you are different people, your emotions will affect your feelings in a different way because you have had different experiences to other people. And it’s OK to be the person that’s been affected, there is no shame in it. It’s always worth remembering that some people try to bury their emotions and hide their feelings, they put on that façade that they are ‘OK’ when underneath they are feeling low – could that be you?

Emotions and feelings drive one another, like strands woven together so they aren’t easy to separate; we don’t notice them individually, for example, anxiety is an emotion that can lead to feelings such as tension, worry, and fear and so can lead to low mood. Whereas an emotion of happiness can lead to feelings of joy, contentment and fulfilment which can leave you feeling in a good mood. We do not experience things in isolation, it comes back to the word tangle again.

Our moods, which are a mixture of emotions and feelings, tend to last longer than emotions and feelings. When we are in a good mood, life looks brighter, we can handle situations in a more positive way to when we are in a low mood, even the difficult stuff. Low moods can make life difficult and exhausting. They can be triggered by past experiences and form a negative thought pattern which can be difficult to break free from, resulting in a vicious cycle between emotions, feelings and moods, for example: we can feel low and that impacts our energy,

  • because we have no energy we eat badly and don’t want to see people,

  • because we now feel isolated we feel bad about ourselves,·

  • and that feeds into our low mood

You can’t be happy all the time, but you can learn not to be at the mercy of your emotions. I can recommend a book by Dr Julie Smith, “Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before” which has more information and some great tools for improving your moods.

Counselling For You can help you untangle your strands and identify your triggers. As you become more aware of what makes you tick, you will gain better control over your emotions and start understanding how your negative thought pattern affects your feelings. With that understanding you are more able to deal with whatever life throws your way. Call us now to take that first step.


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