top of page

Feeling the Emotion of Sensation

Quite a few years ago during a training program, I was in the center of a circle where the instructor was asking me what I was feeling. Apparently, all my answers were wrong. He said that I insisted on telling him emotions and not feelings. There are so many misunderstandings around feelings, emotions, and sensations that I thought I'd use the help of AI and put together a quick guide to sorting out the differences and relationships between the three. So here is a comparison of sensations, emotions, and feelings based on definition, duration, awareness, subjectivity, and expression.


  • Definition: Sensations are the raw, immediate, and physiological responses to sensory input, such as temperature, pressure, taste, smell, and sound. They represent the detection of sensory information.

  • Duration: Sensations are typically short-lived and directly linked to the presence of external stimuli. They cease when the stimuli are removed.

  • Awareness: Sensations are generally automatic and do not necessarily involve conscious awareness. They are part of our instinctual sensory processes.

  • Subjectivity: Sensations are relatively objective and universal, as they are experienced similarly by individuals exposed to the same stimuli.

  • Expression: Sensations are not typically expressed behaviorally or verbally, as they are primarily internal experiences.


  • Definition: Emotions are complex, psychological responses to specific stimuli or situations, characterized by a combination of physiological, cognitive, and subjective elements.

  • Duration: Emotions are relatively short-lived and tend to peak in intensity shortly after the triggering event, but they can persist for varying durations.

  • Awareness: Emotions often involve conscious awareness and can be experienced without external stimuli. They are part of our mental and emotional processes.

  • Subjectivity: Emotions are somewhat subjective and can be influenced by individual interpretation and past experiences, but they also have universal elements (e.g., recognizing joy, anger, sadness).

  • Expression: Emotions often lead to observable behavioral and physiological reactions. They can be expressed through facial expressions, body language, and verbal communication.


  • Definition: Feelings are the conscious, subjective experiences and interpretations of emotions. They involve cognitive processing and personal meaning-making.

  • Duration: Feelings can persist for a longer duration compared to the initial emotional response. They can last minutes, hours, or even longer, depending on the individual and context.

  • Awareness: Feelings require conscious awareness and cognitive reflection. They involve thinking about and interpreting emotional experiences.

  • Subjectivity: Feelings are highly subjective and individualized. They can vary greatly from person to person based on their unique perspectives, beliefs, and personal history.

  • Expression: Feelings are not directly observable by others. They may or may not be expressed through verbal or nonverbal communication, depending on an individual's willingness to share their emotional experiences.

In summary, sensations are immediate and physiological responses to sensory input, emotions are complex psychological reactions to stimuli with cognitive and physiological components, and feelings are the conscious, subjective experiences and interpretations of emotions. Each of these experiences differs in terms of duration, awareness, subjectivity, and expression.

To add a little extra understanding here is a helpful but not exhaustive list of sensations, emotions, and feelings.

Sensations: Sensations encompass a wide range of experiences, including not only the five traditional senses but also what are sometimes referred to as additional sensory perceptions.

  1. Sight (Vision): Perception of light and visual stimuli, such as colors, shapes, and movements.

  2. Hearing (Audition): Perception of sound waves and auditory stimuli, including various tones, pitches, and volumes.

  3. Taste (Gustation): Perception of different flavors, such as sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami, through the tongue and taste buds.

  4. Touch (Tactile): Perception of pressure, texture, temperature, and pain through the skin and other body receptors.

  5. Smell (Olfaction): Perception of various odors and scents through the olfactory receptors in the nose.

  6. Proprioception: Perception of the body's position, movement, and orientation in space. It helps us sense the relative positions of our limbs and body parts without visual input.

  7. Vestibular Sense: Perception of balance, spatial orientation, and motion. It involves the inner ear and helps us maintain equilibrium and a sense of where our body is in relation to gravity.

  8. Interoception: Perception of internal bodily sensations, such as hunger, thirst, pain, and visceral sensations like heartbeat and breathing rate.

  9. Nociception: Perception of pain or discomfort, often in response to harmful or potentially damaging stimuli.

  10. Thermoreception: Perception of temperature changes, including the sensation of hot and cold.

  11. Kinesthetic Sense: Perception of the body's movement and position, including muscle tension and joint angles. It helps with tasks like walking, dancing, and playing sports.

  12. Equilibrioception: Perception of balance and equilibrium is often linked to the sense of the body's position in relation to gravity.

  13. Chronoception: Perception of time, including the ability to estimate the duration of events and intervals of time.

  14. Telepathy: Often considered a paranormal or extrasensory perception, telepathy refers to the alleged ability to transmit or receive thoughts or information between individuals without using the five traditional senses.

  15. Clairvoyance: Another paranormal ability, clairvoyance involves perceiving information about objects, people, or events from a distance or through extrasensory means.

Emotions: Emotions are complex and can vary in intensity and duration based on individual experiences and circumstances.

  1. Happiness: A sense of joy, contentment, or well-being.

  2. Love: Deep affection and attachment toward someone or something.

  3. Joy: Intense happiness and delight.

  4. Excitement: Eager anticipation and enthusiasm.

  5. Contentment: Satisfaction and peace with one's current state.

  6. Satisfaction: Fulfillment and gratification from achieving a goal or desire.

  7. Gratitude: A sense of thankfulness and appreciation.

  8. Hope: Optimism and expectation for positive outcomes.

  9. Awe: Profound wonder, amazement, or reverence.

  10. Elation: An intense and euphoric sense of happiness and well-being.

  11. Optimism: A positive outlook on future events.

  12. Sadness: A feeling of unhappiness, sorrow, or grief.

  13. Anger: Strong displeasure and irritation often in response to a perceived injustice.

  14. Fear: A response to perceived danger, often involving anxiety and avoidance.

  15. Disgust: A strong aversion or revulsion to something unpleasant.

  16. Guilt: A sense of remorse or responsibility for wrongdoing.

  17. Shame: Painful embarrassment or disgrace.

  18. Jealousy: Envy or resentment toward someone else's advantages.

  19. Envy: A desire for what others have, often accompanied by resentment.

  20. Anxiety: Uneasiness or worry, often related to uncertainty or future events.

  21. Stress: Emotional and physical tension in response to challenging situations.

  22. Regret: A feeling of sadness or disappointment about past actions or decisions.

  23. Frustration: Annoyance or irritation when goals are hindered or unattainable.

  24. Loneliness: Feeling isolated or emotionally disconnected from others.

  25. Confusion: A state of bewilderment or lack of clarity in understanding a situation.

  26. Mixed Emotions: Experiencing conflicting feelings simultaneously.

  27. Ambivalence: Feeling both positive and negative emotions about something.

  28. Compassion: Deep sympathy and concern for the suffering of others.

  29. Empathy: Understanding and sharing the feelings of another.

  30. Overwhelm: Feeling unable to cope with a situation due to its intensity or complexity.

  31. Relief: A sensation of comfort and ease after the alleviation of stress or discomfort.

  32. Resilience: The ability to bounce back from adversity and maintain emotional strength.

  33. Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

  34. Sympathy: Feeling concern or support for the distress of others.

  35. Pity: A feeling of sorrow or compassion for someone in distress.

  36. Pride: Satisfaction and self-esteem in one's achievements or qualities.

  37. Shame: Painful embarrassment or disgrace, often linked to perceived failures.

  38. Guilt: A sense of responsibility and remorse for wrongdoing.

  39. Anticipation: Excitement and eagerness about something expected in the future.

  40. Impatience: Restlessness or frustration when waiting for something.

  41. Boredom: Restlessness or lack of interest in one's current activities.

  42. Contempt: Disdain or disrespect for something or someone considered inferior.

  43. Irritation: Mild anger or annoyance often in response to minor irritants.

  44. Grief: Deep and prolonged sadness and mourning, often related to loss.

  45. Trust: Belief in the reliability and honesty of others.

  46. Doubt: Uncertainty or skepticism about something.

  47. Curiosity: A desire to explore, learn, or understand something new or unknown.

  48. Skepticism: Doubt or suspicion about the truth or validity of something.

  49. Eagerness: A strong desire and enthusiasm for something.

  50. Disappointment: A sense of letdown or dissatisfaction when expectations are not met.

Feelings: Feelings can be complex and may vary in intensity and duration.

  1. Fulfillment: A deep sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

  2. Joy: Intense happiness and delight.

  3. Contentment: A state of inner peace and satisfaction with one's circumstances.

  4. Serenity: A feeling of tranquility and calmness.

  5. Elation: An overwhelming sense of happiness and well-being.

  6. Gratitude: A profound appreciation for something or someone.

  7. Love: Deep affection, attachment, and care for someone or something.

  8. Affection: A warm and tender feeling of fondness and care.

  9. Admiration: A strong respect and approval for someone's qualities or achievements.

  10. Tenderness: A gentle and affectionate emotional response.

  11. Compassion: A deep sympathy and concern for the suffering of others.

  12. Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

  13. Warmth: A sense of comfort and coziness.

  14. Caring: A genuine concern for the well-being of others.

  15. Security: A feeling of safety and protection.

  16. Trust: A belief in the reliability and honesty of others.

  17. Hope: Optimism and positive anticipation for the future.

  18. Optimism: A positive outlook on life and events.

  19. Confidence: A strong belief in one's abilities and self-worth.

  20. Courage: The strength to face fear or adversity.

  21. Determination: A firm resolve to achieve a goal or overcome obstacles.

  22. Pride: Satisfaction and self-esteem in one's achievements or qualities.

  23. Self-assuredness: A sense of self-confidence and self-reliance.

  24. Independence: A feeling of self-sufficiency and autonomy.

  25. Accomplishment: The satisfaction of achieving a goal or completing a task.

  26. Fulfillment: A sense of completeness and purpose.

  27. Inspiration: A feeling of motivation and enthusiasm.

  28. Eagerness: A strong desire and enthusiasm for something.

  29. Amazement: A feeling of wonder and astonishment.

  30. Curiosity: A desire to explore, learn, or discover.

  31. Inquisitiveness: A strong urge to seek knowledge and understanding.

  32. Awe: Profound reverence and admiration for something grand or extraordinary.

  33. Interest: A genuine desire to engage with a subject or activity.

  34. Enthusiasm: A high level of excitement and energy.

  35. Anticipation: Eager expectation and enthusiasm for something to come.

  36. Satisfaction: A sense of contentment and gratification.

  37. Relief: A feeling of comfort and ease after stress or discomfort.

  38. Peace: A state of inner calm and tranquility.

  39. Tranquility: A feeling of serenity and peacefulness.

  40. Comfort: A sense of physical or emotional ease and relaxation.

  41. Acceptance: Embracing a situation or oneself without resistance.

  42. Forgiveness: Letting go of resentment and granting pardon.

  43. Understanding: Gaining insight and comprehension of a situation or person.

  44. Clarity: A sense of mental clearness and understanding.

  45. Fascination: An intense interest and attraction to something.

  46. Appreciation: Recognizing and valuing the qualities or efforts of others.

  47. Nostalgia: Fondness and longing for past experiences or times.

  48. Reflection: Thoughtful contemplation and introspection.

  49. Melancholy: A bittersweet feeling of sadness and pensiveness.

  50. Sentimentality: An emotional attachment to sentimental or nostalgic items or memories.



Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page