Why Am I So Emotional? 8 Reasons Why...
By Sarah Fader
Updated April 30, 2020
Reviewer Whitney White, MS. CMHC, NCC., LPC
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 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 are in the same position, and many people have successfully learned to manage their emotions and lead productive, fulfilling lives.
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 Emotions
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 feelings without guilt or shame. A counselor is a great person to discuss emotional challenges with, and find ways to cope with your feelings.
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."
"Jennifer is a pleasure to talk to. She listens intently and offers solutions that are easily applied to make a huge difference in life. The way she explains the psychology and biological process behind our reactions and emotions allows a person to really recognize and overcome anything."
Here Are Some Reasons Why You May Be Asking, "Why Am I so Emotional?"
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.
A Lack of Sleep. Lack of sleep can also cause you to be 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 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 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, he or she may prescribe you a medication to help balance hormones. There are also some dietary and herbal supplements you can try.
Depression. Many people suffer from depression without realizing it. In fact, millions of Americans suffer from 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 suffer from 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.
Arising Anxiety. Anxiety is another mental health condition that can cause overwhelming emotions. Most people who are emotional also suffer from 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. 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 the rest of your life, especially if left unresolved. Dealing with them in a healthy manner, such as talking about them with family, friends, or seeking professional help 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 towards others, especially other emotional people.
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."
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 how you feel 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.