Why Am I So Emotional? 10 Possible Reasons and How To Manage

why am i so emotional

This post is for people who are curious to know the possible reasons behind their question, "Why am I so emotional?" I'm also sharing some actionable tips to deal with being highly emotional. Read on!

Feeling emotional isn't a bad thing. We are human and that's just normal. But there are times when you might feel like your emotions are more heightened than usual and you can't explain why. 

If you find yourself experiencing intense emotions lately, it can be due to some of these common reasons: 

1. Genetics

Some people may be more emotional than others and the reason could be their genes. From Medline Plus:

Scientists estimate that 20 to 60 percent of temperament is determined by genetics. 

Our genes can make our brains react differently to emotions. A study found that those who have a certain genetic variation perceived positive and negative images more vividly and that they had heightened activity in the part of the brain that's responsible for regulating emotions.

This means that people with this gene might be more emotional than others.

Actionable tips:
If being emotional is influenced by your genes, self-acceptance and finding ways to manage your emotions can be helpful. This may include:

-Being mindful: Practice being in the present moment and handle emotions as they come (Related post: 25 Live in the Moment Quotes Plus Tips On Savoring Each Moment)
-Practicing calming techniques like deep breathing
-Talking about your feelings with someone you trust and avoid bottling up your emotions.
-Using positive outlets such as writing or an enjoyable hobby
-Adopt a healthy lifestyle (Related post: 10 Simple Habits for a Healthy Lifestyle)
-Talk to a therapist or counselor if needed

2. Stress

You may or may not realize it, but your stress levels may be high and that could be causing your strong emotions.

Stress has negative effects on our brain and body. It triggers the release of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline that prepare the body for the flight for fight response that can heighten emotional responses. 

Stress also activates the amygdala, which is the part of the brain that is responsible for processing emotions. Studies suggest that chronic stress can bring about changes in the amygdala's function and shape that can lead to anxiety and depression. 

Actionable tip:
Find a healthy way to manage your stress. Some ways that can help include journaling, enjoying walks in nature, having a conversation with a trusted friend, taking a break, or starting a new hobby. 

While it's inevitable to face stressors in life, especially in this fast-paced world, we can choose to respond to them in a way that won't damage our physical and mental health.

3. Poor Sleeping Habits

Dark undereyes and low energy aren't the only downsides to lack of sleep. Studies suggest that sleep also plays a crucial role in emotional processing. 

When you lack sleep, it can lead to heightened emotional responses, and you feel more irritable, stressed, and prone to mood swings. You may find yourself reacting strongly to situations that might not normally bother you.

Actionable tips:
Maintain good sleeping habits. You can start with small steps like:
-Going to sleep 30 minutes earlier than usual. Try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule 
-Place your phone away from you before going to bed. Our gadgets can be major contributors to our lack of sleep. 
-Engage in calming activities before sleeping such as reading, stretching, deep breathing, or praying.
-Avoid heavy meals, caffeine, and alcohol close to bedtime
-Avoid thinking of work or stress-inducing thoughts when you go to bed

4. Unhealthy eating 

The link between nutrition and mental health has been gaining more attention. Studies suggest that what we eat can impact how we feel. 

For instance, eating lots of processed carbs can affect your mood. Such foods can cause your blood sugar to rise and fall quickly, and trigger hormones that affect your emotions. If your blood sugar drops too low, hormones like cortisol and adrenaline can make you feel more anxious or irritable. 

Actionable tip:
Be mindful of what you eat. A balanced diet will do wonders not just for your physical but also your emotional and mental health. Some healthy foods you can add to your diet include:

-Fruits and veggies
-Whole grains: Brown rice, oats, quinoa
-Lean proteins: Poultry, fish, beans, lentils, tofu
-Healthy fats: Omega-3 found in fatty fish like salmon and trout, walnuts, flaxseeds
-Nuts and seeds
-Greek yogurt
-Dark chocolate
-Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, etc
-Herbal teas: Chamomile, green tea, etc

5. Lack of Physical Activity

When you don't move a car for a long time, it can start to feel sluggish and not work as well as before. Similarly, when you don't do enough physical activity, your body and brain might not function at their best.

Personally, when I find myself asking the question, "why am I so emotional lately?" or "why do I feel down?", this is one of the things that I realize: I haven't been physically active for a while.

Exercise triggers chemicals in the brain that make you feel happier and less stressed. Not getting enough exercise can make you feel more emotional.

Actionable tip:
Exercise regularly. You can start with a few minutes a day or thrice a week. When you start to feel good, I'm sure you'd want to do this more often. Choose a workout that you enjoy or you can start with walking. There are also plenty of home workouts using just your body weight or simple equipment such as exercise bands which I personally like. 

6. Hormonal Changes

Shifts in levels of certain hormones in the body can also make you more emotional. Some of the main culprits are:

Estrogen and Progesterone: During your menstrual cycle, these hormones can fluctuate and can lead to mood swings, irritability, and feeling strong emotions, especially in the days leading up to your period.

Testosterone: Changes in testosterone levels, which both men and women have, can impact mood and emotions. 

Cortisol: This is also known as the stress hormone. Cortisol levels can increase in times of stress and anxiety, which can make you more emotionally reactive.

Thyroid: When thyroid hormones are imbalanced, it can lead to mood changes.

Pregnancy and Postpartum: Hormonal shifts during pregnancy and after giving birth can also lead to heightened emotions, as some call "baby blues". 

Actionable tips:
-Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Nutritious foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fats can help balance hormones.
-Exercise regularly: Keeping your body active can help regulate hormones and improve mood
-Manage stress: Practice stress management techniques such as deep breathing. 
-Drink enough water
-Talk to a doctor: If hormonal changes are causing too much emotional distress that affects your daily life, a healthcare professional can assess your condition and guide you on the best steps to take.

7. Mental Health

Certain mental health conditions can affect how the brain processes and regulates emotions. These are just some of them:

In anxiety disorders, the amygdala (also known as the emotional center of the brain) can become overly active, making you feel anxious even in non-threatening situations. 

In depression, brain chemicals that regulate mood, such as serotonin and dopamine, can become imbalanced, which leads to intense feelings of sadness. 

Bipolar disorder involves extreme mood swings with episodes of intense highs and lows, which can lead to heightened emotions.

Those who have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder might experience strong emotional reactions, flashbacks, and intense fear as a result of post-traumatic experiences.

Actionable tip:
If you feel highly emotional and you think that this is caused by a mental health condition, it's important to consult a mental health expert to make an accurate diagnosis. This will help determine the best steps or treatment to take to address your particular condition. Don't worry, there are many ways that will help you take control of your emotions.

8. Big life changes

Life changes, whether positive (like getting a new job, getting married, or having a baby) or negative (like death of a loved one or loss of a job) can trigger a range of emotions because they can be challenging to navigate and also involve a sense of uncertainty. 

They can also disrupt your routines or comfort zones and may require you to adapt mentally and emotionally. 

These can cause your emotions to be more heightened than usual. 

Actionable tips:
You can seek to adjust to big life changes in healthy ways, such as:
-Practicing self care: Taking care of yourself through a healthy diet, an enjoyable hobby, a good sleep routine, etc.
-Being mindful: Do your best to stay in the present moment. Avoid dwelling in the past or worrying about the future. Manage your thoughts and filter out the negative.
-Opening up to someone: Talk to someone about your feelings, hopes, and even fears. Express them and let them out. Don't bottle up your emotions but instead, acknowledge that these emotions are part of the adjustment process and work towards managing them in a healthy way. 

9. Relationship issues

Conflict in the family, marriage issues, and other relationship problems can evoke strong emotions due to deep emotional connections we have with others. 

Relationship issues can lead to stress and emotional turmoil that can impact your mental and physical well-being. These issues might distract you from work or spill over into relationships with other friends and loved ones. 

This can cause a ripple effect that can impact your mood, productivity, and other areas of your life

Actionable tips:
-Identify your emotions: Identify and label what you're feeling exactly. This way, it'll be easier to know how to manage it. 
-Journal: Write down your feelings and thoughts to understand and process your emotions better.
-Communicate your feelings and needs with your partner and aim for a constructive conversation to help you understand each other better
-Establish clear boundaries in your relationships (Related post: 17 Actionable Ways To Protect Your Peace)

10. Suppressing emotions

Sometimes we try to avoid acknowledging and processing, or expressing our emotions thinking that it would be better that way and that it will just pass. 

However, holding in emotions can eventually lead to outbursts where the emotions you've tried to suppress for a long time come in a way that's more intense and uncontrolled.

Suppressing your emotions also prevents you from dealing with them in healthy ways. This hinders your ability to cope with challenges and you're missing out on developing your emotional resilience.

Actionable tips:
-Be kind to yourself and develop self-awareness. Pay attention to your emotions and triggers.Give yourself time to feel emotions without judgment, and to process and understand what you're going through.
-Establish healthy outlets. Make time for physical activities, creative hobbies, or other relaxation techniques to express your emotions. 
-Learn to communicate your feelings to a trusted friend or loved one
-Journal: Writing down your thoughts and feelings will help you release and process your emotions. 

Conclusion

Having emotions is part of being human. When you feel like you're being too emotional and it's impacting your life in negative ways, it's best to discover the root cause so that you can take the necessary steps to address it.

If you're struggling with intense emotions or your health and day-to-day life are being affected, it might be best to consult a healthcare professional who can provide you with guidance and effective strategies.

I hope the tips above will help you in managing your emotions when you ask the question, "Why am I so emotional?". 

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