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Why Am I So Emotional? 8 Reasons Why You Might Be Emotional
Human beings have a variety of feelings. It's normal and healthy to express your feelings when you have them. Not only is it crucial to tell people how you feel, but it is also necessary. If you suppress or repress those emotions, it can lead to other psychological issues. If you're an emotional person, you're not alone; it's part of being human.
Everyone Has Feelings, but Not Everyone Is Overly Emotional
All people have feelings. We react to other people and situations in a variety of ways, depending on the scenario. Maybe you found out that you lost your job. You might be so sad or angry because you used to love your position. Perhaps you are going to visit a friend you haven't seen in a long time, and you feel excited. These are understandable, natural feelings to have. While we all experience a different range of feelings, sometimes, grappling with too many emotions could be a sign that you're dealing with a deeper issue.
One issue that might be at play is a mood disorder. According to NAMI (National Alliance the Mental Illness), one in five people lives with a mental illness. If you have depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or Borderline Personality Disorder, you may have challenges with emotional regulation. Many people with mental illness are in the same position, and many people have successfully learned to manage their emotions and lead productive, fulfilling lives.
Are You More Emotional Than What Feels Like Normal?
Emotions are a part of life. But some people happen to be more sensitive or emotional than others. There is a personality type called a "highly sensitive" person. These individuals feel things on a deep level. If your feelings become "too much" or are overwhelming, you might be extremely sensitive or emotional, and there is nothing wrong with that. Sensitivity is a strength. Approximately 20 percent of the population is highly sensitive. If you are struggling to figure out how to manage your feelings, traditional therapy or online counseling can help.
BetterHelp Supports You Learning to Manage Your Emotional Response
You might be having big feelings and little control over them. If that's the case, don't be discouraged. There are many people in your position, and they've gotten help from the counselors at BetterHelp or with other resources, such as face-to-face therapy. Therapy is an excellent place to work through complicated emotions, figure out the source of them, and find ways to express your emotions without guilt or shame. A counselor is a great person to discuss emotional challenges with, and find ways to cope with your feelings.
How Therapy Can Help You Manage Your Emotions
You don't have to go into therapy knowing how to express your feelings. You may be consumed with anger, sadness, guilt, or exasperation. That's where a therapist can help you. The counselors at BetterHelp are experts at teaching people coping skills and emotional regulation. Before you can learn to regulate your emotions, first, it's crucial to have emotional insight. In online therapy, your counselor at BetterHelp will demonstrate how to look inward, understand your feelings, and learn how to communicate them with others best. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors.
"I really love Dr. Hay. Not only is she responsive, and timely in the responses, she's also extremely knowledgeable and supportive as my counselor. I would highly recommend her if you are looking to work on any emotional disorders. She helps me with my anxiety issues and her quick responses I think are strategic in helping me not panic while I wait to hear from her. Highly recommend."
Extreme or Heightened Stress Levels. Extreme stress levels affect people in different ways. Stress can cause persistent headaches, body aches, lack of appetite, disrupted sleep patterns, anxiety, stress, and anger. In some extreme cases, stress can become so overwhelming that many are unsure of how to properly cope with their emotions. At this point, stress reaches a hazardous level.
How to Address the Stress. The best way to deal with stress is to identify the key stressors in your life. Is it your job? Your family? School? A traumatic experience? A death? A relationship? Spend some time with yourself to figure out what is stressing you out. It could be a combination of things! If so, use a scale of 1 to 10 and rank each stressor as the least stressful and the most stressful. Then, tackle the biggest stressors first.
Can Small, Everyday Changes Can Help You Stabilize Emotions?
A Lack of Sleep. Lack of sleep can also cause you to be so much more emotional, and increase stress levels, which creates a vicious cycle. Staying up late and eating right before bed can impact your sleep habits, which can make it so difficult to focus or stay awake the next day and increases the feeling of being emotional. Lack of sleep can also lead to long-term health issues, such as an increased risk for heart conditions.
Don't Neglect Your Z's! Never underestimate the power of sleep, or take bedtime for granted. Find the best bedtime schedule that works for you and stick to it. Not only will you feel refreshed and fully rested the next day, but you will also find that it is easier to keep your emotions in check.
If you continue to struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep try to avoid eating right before your bed, put away your electronics, and shut off the TV before bed. If you need to "wind down" before falling asleep, try reading. Reading relaxes and clears the mind and can make you naturally sleepy. In fact, studies have shown that just six minutes of reading before bed can reduce stress levels by up to 68 percent!
Poor Diet. What you eat or don't eat can have a direct impact on your emotions. For example, you might enjoy eating a bowl of ice cream after dinner while watching TV. This might make you feel happy at the moment, but this is usually a sugar rush, which is temporary. You may even feel guilty afterward. This can leave you feeling angry with yourself. However, this does not mean we should give up ice cream! It's important to remember that a healthy diet is all about balance.
Eat a balanced diet. A healthy diet includes fruits, vegetables, proteins, healthy fats, complex carbs and the occasional bowl of ice cream. Healthy eating is ultimately about detangling thoughts and emotions of guilt and shame from foods, and taking care of your body. You can learn more about this process by looking into intuitive eating.
Happiness and Health. Happiness is controlled by endorphins. When endorphins levels increase, we feel enjoyment, happiness, and pleasure. Exercise naturally increases endorphins. Eating healthy meals throughout the day is a good way to balance emotions. It will keep you feeling full and help you avoid the "hangry" feeling, which some people experience when hungry. Eating the same times each day will also help balance emotions and stabilize moods. All in all, whether you start eating right or exercising, or both, taking care of your body will not only improve your health but will also give you the natural boost of endorphins and help your body find balance.
Your Hormones. Hormone imbalances occur in both men and women and some fluctuation is natural. As the body ages and changes, an imbalance can occur that results in higher emotional responses.
Test Your Testosterone! If you think there is nothing you can do about your hormone levels, you're wrong. You can pay a visit to your doctor's office to have him or her test your hormone levels. If necessary, they may prescribe you a medication to help balance hormones and stabilize emotions. There are also some dietary and herbal supplements you can try.
Depression. Many people develop a mental illness like depression without realizing it. In fact, millions of Americans experience different types of depression. For those that self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, depression may worsen along with intense emotions. Depression can occur due to genetics, a chemical imbalance in the brain, or it could be brought on by a traumatic life event. Although many are embarrassed to admit that they're experiencing depression, trying to "tough it out" will not help.
Be gentle and kind with yourself, and seek care. It is best to seek professional medical help from a doctor, counselor, or therapist to help you combat depression or other emotional disorders.
Arising Anxiety. Anxiety is another mental illness health condition that can cause overwhelming emotions. Most people who are emotional also experience anxiety. However, few people understand what it is and what causes it. Some people with anxiety become overwhelmed with their emotions, which can be triggered by a stressful situation, environment, or even their thoughts.
Untie the Knots. Like depression, anxiety can be treated by seeking professional help from a doctor or therapist who specializes in mental illness. Additionally, simply making lifestyle changes, such as a career change, moving, or getting out of a stressful relationship can help reduce anxiety and emotions and help untie the knots in your stomach.
A Traumatic Life Event. Life is unexpected. Traumatic events can wreak havoc on a person's life and can spark emotions and different feelings that they otherwise may not have experienced. Traumatic life events can include the death of a loved one, sudden job loss, divorce, accident, serious injury, or an illness. People who experience trauma in some form often become more emotional as a result.
Turn the Tables. A traumatic life event might change who you are and how you feel about something. Certain triggers can cause a tidal wave of emotions where you relive or re-experience painful memories for a long period of time, especially if left unresolved. Dealing with them in a healthy manner, such as talking about them with family, friends, or seeking professional help from someone who specializes in emotional and mental illness can help you work through your emotions.
Genetics. As mentioned above, you may be emotional, but this may be just the way you are and how your brain is wired. Some people are simply more sensitive than others, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. This may mean that you are more in tune with your emotions and experience your emotions on a deeper level than others. If you grew up in a family where your parents, siblings, or cousins expressed their emotions freely, that exposure tends to "teach" you to experience them similarly in your adult life. As a result, you are more likely to be more empathetic and openly emotional towards others, especially other emotional people.
Some Ways to Deal With Being Emotional Are Simple
Embrace Your Emotions! If you are more in tune with your emotions, then embrace them! Being emotional doesn't have to be a bad thing. If people claim that you are overly emotional and sensitive, then this just means that you aren't afraid to show your emotional side. It also doesn't mean you are any less mature than those who aren't emotional.
The Power of Emotional Intelligence
Most people today see being "too emotional" as a negative thing, especially for men. It is more accepted for a woman to be emotional than a man. However, as we explored above, both men and women can experience emotions and mood swings for different reasons. Men who are emotional may have more frequent fluctuations in testosterone levels than others.
Your emotions may also be unique to you and your situation. After all, everyone has off or "bad" days. You aren't going to feel 100 percent like yourself, 100 percent of the time, and that's okay. It's normal to feel this way from time to time. Being in tune with your body, your mind, and your emotions can help you understand and manage your emotions. This is what is known as "emotional intelligence."
Emotional intelligence can help you understand and manage your emotions.
Being Emotional is Being Human
Remember, it's completely human to experience emotions, so rather than trying to hide them or avoid them, why not feel them? If you're feeling sad, then feel sad or cry. If you're feeling angry, then be angry (without harming yourself or others, of course).
You should never feel like you must apologize for your emotions, or why you feel the way you do. In fact, what you're feeling could be normal. For example, if you are feeling sad or angry because someone passed away, it is completely normal to feel that way. If others choose to hide their emotions, it doesn't mean that you must as well.
If you are constantly asking yourself, "Why am I so emotional?", some of these reasons may have helped you understand a bit more about your emotional states. It never hurts to reach out for help from a professional to evaluate things that may be going on with you, or to get expert help in managing intense emotions.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What causes a person to be so emotional?
Feeling heightened emotions or like you’re unable to control your emotions can come down to diet choices, genetics, substance abuse, stress, or a mental illness personality disorder. It’s important to keep in mind that being overly emotional can also be due to an underlying health condition, such as depression or hormones. A support system is very helpful when dealing with these emotions and issues. Here are some common reasons why you might be so emotional:
- You’re human. Simple as that. We all feel happy, sad, low, exhilarated, or emotional. We’re all human going through life, and it’s so important to always remember that. Emotions are a normal part of who we are as humans. Everyone processes events and emotions differently. Unless your emotions are interfering with your day-to-day life, you may just feel things a bit more than others. A support system or support groups can help. Specifically, a recovery support group would beneficial as well.
- While emotions are normal, being naturally more emotional may actually have a genetic component. Although there are other factors involved, such as environmental and social influences, human emotions are somewhat inherited. And if a family has an affective disorder, such as major depression, you may have a higher risk of experiencing an emotional disorder as well.
- Lack of sleep.Sleep deprivation has several effects on your body, including:
- Trouble thinking and concentrating
- Higher risk for anxiety, depression, or other mental illness
- Weakened immune system
- Poor balance and higher risk of accidents
It can affect your mood, too, especially the longer sleep deprivation occurs. Studies have shown that sleep may be linked to emotional regulation, so if you’re feeling emotional, getting more sleep might help.
- Lack of exercise. We’ve all heard the physical health benefits of exercise, but exercise can also have a big effect on mood and emotions. While exercise, in general, can promote emotional well-being, a lack of exercise can lower it. Aerobic exercise is known to have a therapeutic effect on regulating emotions. So if you’re feeling extra emotional, jumping on a treadmill or going for a jog could help alleviate that.
- Everything you eat affects your body, and a healthy diet can improve your overall well-being, including your mental health and emotions, while a poor diet, including the effects from an eating disorder, can do the opposite. If you’re feeling emotional, it may come down to the foods you’re eating. To keep your emotions in check, try these tips:
- Make sure you’re consuming a nutrient-dense diet.
- Avoid processed, fatty, and fast foods.
- Avoid skipping meals.
- Make sure you’re not lacking vital vitamins and minerals.
- You’re highly sensitive. If you’re feeling emotional, a personality trait called sensory processing sensitivity (SPS) might be the culprit. SPS is a quality where someone processes the world more deeply. This includes the moods and feelings of others, as well as pain and loud noises. Studies suggest that it occurs in almost 20 percent of the population, so it’s certainly not a rare thing.
- Personality disorder.Emotional dysregulation, an inability to regulate your emotions, is a common trait of many mental illness personality disorders. If you have a personality disorder, you may feel more emotional than others. Some additional symptoms of personality disorders include:
- Difficulty controlling anger, or getting angry without understanding why
- Frequent mood swings
- Inappropriate emotional responses
- Hypersensitivity to criticism or rejection
Some of the more common mental illness personality disorders include obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and borderline personality disorder. Speak with a physician or licensed therapist to discuss options for your disorder treatment and advice on diagnosis or treatment.
- Substance abuse. Substance abuse has a strong emotional component. In reality, substance abuse treatment must go beyond simply managing the physical symptoms of addiction. It must also include providing the person with the coping skills necessary to address underlying emotional challenges. Helping the person with the substance abuse issue to learn how to properly fill emotional needs and resolve continuing sources of emotional pain lessens their need for substance abuse to dull the senses and blunt emotional blows. Cognitive therapy is a proven method for helping people with substance abuse issues address the root causes of their particular addictions.
- Stress can take a toll on our bodies. If you’re feeling stressed or burnt out, you’re likely going to feel a little emotional. While stress is normal, and everyone experiences it, chronic excess stress can have a lasting effect on your mental and physical health. If you’re feeling especially stressed, your emotions may be running high. You may be likely to cry more easily or be unsure why you’re crying in the first place. If you’re experiencing prolonged stress, a recovery support system could be beneficial for you.
- Big life changes. When major life events or big changes occur, you’re inevitably going to feel the stress no matter how well you plan for it. Some of the most stressful changes involve:
- Divorce or marriage
- Consistent confrontation with friends or family
- Getting a new job or being fired
- Having a baby
Figure Out What’s Causing You to Be So Emotional
It doesn’t have to be a huge, life-altering change, necessarily, to make you feel emotional. Any shake-up is going to have an effect on your emotional well-being, even if it’s only stressing you out under the surface.
- Grieving the loss of someone is one of the hardest things that we all universally go through. So, if you’re feeling emotional, not feeling yourself, or your emotions don’t feel the same, that’s normal. Grief doesn’t have to just be about losing a loved one. You can grieve for your past self, a child you never had, discord with family, or even a breakup.
- Trauma is a response to experiencing a terrible event that causes physical, emotional, or psychological harm. It can bring about strong, negative emotions including fear, shame, guilt, anger, and sadness, both during and after the experience. In one study, researchers found that the type of traumatic event, such as a car accident, sexual violence, injury, or physical assault, could change which emotions were especially heightened. In instances of trauma, a recovery support group might be very helpful in dealing with any mental illness.
Hormones have both physical and psychological effects on the body
Any hormonal imbalance or extra sensitivity to hormonal changes can cause a change in your emotions. Below are some potential causes of an imbalance or extra sensitivity to hormonal changes:
- Thyroid issues. An imbalance of your thyroid hormones can affect your emotions, raising your risk of developing anxiety and depression.
- Menopause occurs when you stop menstruating and can no longer become pregnant. Mood swings are a common symptom of menopause as hormones fluctuate, and there’s a higher risk for developing depression or anxiety, or another emotional disorder.
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can cause a number of emotional and physical symptoms. Female hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, can influence emotions as they fluctuate throughout the month before and during your menstrual cycle. Estrogen, for instance, can affect the intensity of emotions. Around 75 percent of menstruating women report premenstrual mood changes.
- Premenstrual dysmorphic disorder (PMDD) is similar to PMS, but it includes more severe symptoms, particularly emotional ones. Some potential symptoms include excessive crying, anger, irritability, and sadness.
- People with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) produce higher levels of male hormones, disrupting normal hormone levels. Research has shown that people with PCOS have higher levels of distress than those without the condition.
- Certain stress hormones, such as oxytocin or cortisol, can affect mood, like increasing anger or emotional sensitivity.
- Birth control. There’s some evidence that using hormonal contraceptives can affect your emotions. Emotions such as depression, anxiety, and anger were all found to be higher in people taking hormonal birth control.
Imbalances in the adrenal gland or your insulin levels may also affect your emotions and mood. As with all of these hormonal issues, seeking out a peer support group can be beneficial to helping you heal.
- People with mental illness conditions like depression typically experience higher levels of negative emotions, lower levels of positive emotions, and may have trouble regulating their moods. While most people think of sadness when they think of depression, other emotional symptoms include feeling empty, hopeless, or anxious. You may also experience anger or irritability.
- As opposed to depression, where people typically experience bouts of malaise, when you’re anxious, your body goes into hyper-sensitive fight-or-flight mode; and staying in this state for a long time can increase tension, irritability, physical symptoms, and your ability to regulate your emotions. Nevertheless, any mental illness conditions like anxiety or depression can affect your emotional well-being.
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental illness condition typically characterized by hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. While difficulty focusing and trouble sitting still are the most well-known symptoms of ADHD, the disorder can also magnify your emotions.
How do I stop being so emotional?
Feeling heightened emotions or similar health conditions can down to diet choices, genetics, or stress. It can also be due to an underlying health condition, such as depression or hormones. But, it’s important to not shame yourself for being so emotional. It is not a bad thing to be emotional, but finding the reasons why, especially if it’s affecting your day-to-day activities, can help. To stop being so emotional may not necessarily be the answer, especially if it’s not affecting your day-to-day activities. Seek out a support system or support groups to help you when your emotions get overwhelming.
Why do I cry easily all of a sudden?
There are many reasons why you might cry easily all of a sudden, including:
- Crying in pregnancy
- Crying spells with anxiety and stress
- Depression crying spells
- Bipolar crying spells
- Sudden uncontrollable crying can also be a symptom of a mental illness condition called pseudobulbar affect (PBA). PBA is an involuntary neurological state related to an injury or disturbance in parts of your brain that control your emotions.
Is crying a symptom of anxiety?
People with anxiety are more likely to say that crying feels helpful but uncontrollable. If you have anxiety, you might cry often or uncontrollably. Feeling emotional and having negative feelings are not bad, and there is nothing to be ashamed about. Seeking out a peer support group when you’re experiencing symptoms of anxiety can be helpful.
Is being emotional a weakness?
No. Just the opposite, in fact. Unfortunately, we have a cultural averseness toward being emotional. We dislike even appearing to be emotional. We’re taught as children that that this a weakness, and that emotion should cause shame. But in all actuality, it’s a strength. Furthermore, people who are more emotional are experiencing life more than those who aren’t. They feel a more personal connection with their reality. They are, quite literally, living more.
Why do I take everything so personal?
In the simplest terms, personalization is the tendency to assume personal responsibility for events over which we have little or no control. When we personalize, we see the world happening not just around us but to us, and not just to us, but because of us. We internalize the events we encounter, including words, actions, developments, emotions, and problems, and magnify our role in them. We take on not just the event itself, but the causality of that event, often believing that we are emotionally responsible for how it went down, especially when that event is negative. When we’re dealing with emotional issues such as crying and taking things too personal, it’s important to be kind to yourself. A support system can greatly help as well.
How do I know if I’m highly sensitive?
People with a highly sensitive personality have certain traits that stand apart from someone who may have temporary bouts of sensitivity and feeling more emotional. Some of the common traits are the following:
- You literary feel everything so emotionally
- You have an ability to guess the mood in a room
- You can always tell when something is wrong emotionally
- You easily pick up on the subtleties of someone’s emotions
- You are easily moved by art
- You love doing things solo
- You have a heightened intuition
- You’re a people pleaser
- It’s difficult for you to say no
- When you fall in love, you fall hard
- You have a powerful imagination
Is it OK to cry for no reason?
Some people easily cry more than others, and sometimes for no reason, and it is absolutely fine. Some would say that crying is a negative emotion; but, in fact, crying is good as it is a natural stress reliever. So, someone who cries more often may actually be better off emotionally compared to someone who does not. Sometimes you may not know why you’re crying or why you can’t stop crying. Other times, you might not realize how upset you are until you step back and notice how you’ve been crying so much lately. If you’re crying constantly and without safely being able to control it, there may be an underlying mental illness issue, and reaching out to a support system could be beneficial. As mentioned before, some reasons may be:
- Crying in pregnancy
- Crying spells with anxiety and stress
- Depression crying spells
- Bipolar crying spells
- Pseudobulbar Affect (PBA)
Why do I cry a lot?
If you have symptoms of depression or anxiety, or emotional responses that don’t feel right, don’t try to tough it out alone. Build a support system of safe and emotionally positive people who can help you walk your journey. Mood disorders can have a negative impact on every part of your life. This includes your relationships, work, or school. They also make you more vulnerable to physical illnesses.
Talk with your doctor about what you’re experiencing, and they may provide medical treatment for a possible mental illness condition. Your doctor may refer you to a psychiatrist or therapist who specializes in working with people who have mood disorders to provide anxiety treatment, depression treatment, or another disorder treatment.
Substance abuse may appear to alleviate emotional symptoms in the short term, but one of the effects of substance abuse is making emotional health worse, including crying a lot. When there is substance abuse over a long period of time, the brain actually changes the way it functions. This is because the drugs with substance abuse have taken the place of naturally occurring chemicals in the body that affect brain functions, including emotions.
Substance abuse can also negatively affect mental health issues, which can cause emotional episodes. Substance abuse treatment is effective. Speak with a licensed professional therapist for options.
How do I stop letting things bother me?
- Identify what you are feeling emotionally
- Ask yourself why you’re feeling this way
- Consider the truth
- Don’t let a 10 second (or minute) ordeal ruin your whole day
- Find your confidence
- Resist the urge to complain – this may cause you to spend more time thinking about an upsetting instance than it deserves
- Find perspective. When you feel yourself getting upset or emotional, pause for a moment; turn your attention to what’s bothering you and try to frame it in its simplest form.
Is being too sensitive a bad thing?
There’s nothing wrong with being too sensitive. Again, it’s important to remember that, although some in the world may believe differently, being sensitive is not a bad thing. In fact, there are many benefits to being sensitive or emotionally aware. For example, emotional people have a depth of experience and feeling, strong self-awareness, increased empathy, are intuitive (emotionally and otherwise), they have great self-care, the appreciate the small things, they can find the beauty in all emotions from sadness to joy, and they have a great ability to form strong, close bonds. Find a support system or support groups to encourage you and be there when you need them.
- Emotional Well-Being: Why Respect Is Important – https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/self-esteem/emotional-well-being-why-respect-is-important/
- I Need Help Knowing How to Stop Being So Emotional – https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/how-to/i-need-help-knowing-how-to-stop-being-so-emotional/
- Are You Suffering From Emotional Exhaustion? – https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/stress/are-you-suffering-from-emotional-exhaustion/
- What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why It Matters – https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/general/what-is-emotional-intelligence-and-why-it-matters/
- My Heart Hurts Emotionally: How to Grow From the Pain – https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/how-to/my-heart-hurts-emotionally-how-to-grow-from-the-pain/
- Recognizing Emotional Nuance: Having Feelings for Someone – https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/relations/recognizing-emotional-nuance-having-feelings-for-someone/
- What Is Gaslighting: A Sneaky Kind of Emotional Abuse – https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/relations/gaslighting-a-sneaky-kind-of-emotional-abuse/
- What Is Emotional Regulation – https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/general/what-is-emotional-regulation/
- Can I Change My Emotional Intelligence? Psychology Definition and Suggestions – https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/general/can-i-change-my-emotional-intelligence-psychology-definition-and-suggestions/
- What Is Emotional Distress? An Overview – https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/grief/what-is-emotional-distress-an-overview/
You may also find helpful information at the National Alliance on Mental Illness’s Facebook, or by calling the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357.