Difference Between Mood & Emotion

Mood and emotion are two terms that can often cause confusion, but there is a significant difference between them. Initially, let us define mood and emotion. A mood refers to an emotional state, whereas emotion refers to a psychological state. Unlike a mood, an emotion is typically the result of an external stimulus. One of the main differences between moods and emotions is that moods last for a more extended period, unlike emotions that only last for a short time.

What is Mood?

According to psychologists, a mood can be understood as an emotional state. This emotional state can last for a short or longer period. Sometimes a person can be settled into a particular mood for several weeks. Moods have a direct impact on how we behave. For example, imagine if you were in a depressed mood, the way you react to things, interact with others, and carry on your daily tasks would be entirely different from that of a cheerful mood. This is why it is essential to have a deep understanding of your mood as it can directly influence your perspective and behavior.

Studies show that there is a relationship between moods and personalities. A person who has a very optimistic personality tends to be in a happy mood most of the time. In contrast, a person who is very pessimistic usually is in a depressed mood. Besides our personality, many factors affect our moods, such as lack of sleep, medication, and lifestyle.

In abnormal psychology, psychologists point out various disorders connected to moods. They highlight that people who have difficulty regulating their moods can suffer from major depression, dysthymia, bipolar disorder, and postpartum depression.

What is Emotion?

Emotion refers to a psychological state. This should not be confused with a mood because, unlike moods, emotions are usually caused by something. For example, for your birthday, you receive a beautiful gift from a friend. This makes you feel delighted. This is an emotion. It only lasts for a short period, and it is a reaction to an external stimulus.

In 1972, a psychologist named Paul Eckman identified six basic emotions that are universal. They are happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear, and disgust. Later on, in 1999, other emotions such as satisfaction, pride, contempt, shame, embarrassment, amusement, and excitement were added to the list.

An emotion involves three main components: the subjective experience, a physiological response, and a behavioral or expressive response. The subjective experience refers to how the individual experiences it. This focuses on how each emotion differs from one individual to another, although it falls into a universal category such as happiness or sadness. Secondly, the physiological reaction refers to how the person feels it physiologically, including racing heartbeat, sweating, rapid breathing, etc. The final component of the behavioral or expressive response focuses on how the individual expresses it.

Key Takeaways

  • Mood refers to an emotional state, while emotion refers to a psychological state.
  • Moods last for a more extended period, unlike emotions that only last for a short time.
  • Emotions are the result of an external stimulus, while moods are not necessarily caused by something specific.
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen is a talented writer with a flair for developing captivating content in a range of formats. Her commitment to thorough research and producing top-notch material has contributed to over 4 years of professional writing and editing experience. Outside of work, Maria finds pleasure in solitary activities and immersing herself in nature. Her introspective nature and passion for self-reflection inspire her creativity. She believes that spending time alone and observing the natural world can provide valuable insights and foster personal growth, broadening her perspective as a writer.


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