The Difference Between Moods and Emotions

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by Kelly Lingen

Do you ever use the word moody to describe how you’re feeling? If not moody, maybe you might say something like, “I’ve been feeling overly emotional lately…” or something to that effect. The words mood and emotion are often used interchangeably, and while they are similar, it’s important to note that they actually have slightly different meanings.

For starters, a mood lasts longer than an emotion, sometimes as long as several days or even weeks. Emotions are brought on quickly, caused by someone or something. An emotion can be sparked by a memory, a song, a surprise, a loved one – anything that causes happiness, sadness, fear, worry, joy, anger – you name it.

While emotions are brought on by people, places, memories, – things of that nature, moods are often instigated by situations. Stress, fatigue, and hard times can easily put someone in a slump. When things are going well, positive moods settle in and take up residence.

In addition, moods and emotions occur at the same time. You might wake up feeling happy and still experience an emotion at work or school because you were triggered, and that emotion might be gone as quickly as it arrived. It happens all the time. Emotions come and go, moods can be more stubborn. Moods are often harder to shake – especially those bad ones.

Moods and emotions can be difficult to understand sometimes, and it’s not uncommon to feel like you’re on a roller coaster filled with twists, turns, and upside-down loopity-loops when it comes to them. If you want to get a better understanding of your own moods and emotions, pay close attention. If you start to notice a negative shift or something you want to change, look for ways to lift yourself up. Having some awareness can make all the difference.

Copyright © 2015 Kelly Lingen

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