Many people use the words “feelings” and “emotions” interchangeably, as we do throughout the text, but there are important distinctions and several theories drawn from more than a century and a half of research, beginning with Charles Darwin. To summarize, feelings are cognitive and internal and emotions are “expressed” and are visible.
Paul Ekman has described fifteen distinguishable emotions:1
Pride in achievement
These emotions are all visible and discernable from one another by facial expression and other nonvocal cues.
Feelings are the conscious, subjective experience of emotion, and are more nuanced and numerous. Examples of some feelings are listed on the next pages.
This dichotomous approach to feelings and emotions may be useful to you as a beginning student because it gives you visible sign posts for emotion that you can observe in patients and see yourself exhibit on video recordings. You can then process the feelings your observations trigger in you, thereby increasing your personal awareness and improving your mindful practice.