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Why am I so emotional? Tips and tricks for when you feel overly emotional

Why am I so emotional? Tips and tricks for when you feel overly emotional

When it feels like your emotions are running high, it can be a lot to deal with. However, when emotions heighten, they might be reacting to something in your life, whether you know what it is or not. They could be a sign that something might need your attention.

When you feel intense emotions often, you might be wondering, “Why am I so emotional lately?”, or “Why am I so emotionally sensitive?” In reality, you may just be feeling things more deeply at this moment, and it’s helpful to start kindly asking yourself, “why?”

When people experience frequent emotionality, such as crying a lot or getting easily frustrated, it can be due to a number of factors: stress, loss, hormones, or even genetics. What’s important is that our emotions are trying to tell us something, and if we experience them fully and consider what that is rather than letting them linger and pushing them down, it can help us move through those emotions.

Is It Normal to Be Emotional a Lot?

Getting emotional is a part of life. Emotionality might feel like too much at times, but feeling our emotions and expressing ourselves is something we should all do. Keeping emotions in is often what causes them to linger for longer, which can make us feel emotionally drained without always knowing why. 

Sometimes events, circumstances, and just life can make our emotions feel overwhelming. There are even people that can be classified as “highly sensitive people” (HSP), meaning that they feel more deeply than most and can be prone to heightened emotions. 

However, if it feels like heightened emotions or negative emotions are taking over your judgment, daily functioning, and relationships, then it may be time to get to the root of what is triggering these emotions. Whether the cause is mental or physical, consider reaching out to a therapist or your primary care provider to get to the bottom of this challenge.

What Causes a Person to Be So Emotional? Why Am I So Sensitive? Common Causes for Feeling Emotional

Just like how emotions are nuanced and complex, there are many possible reasons for someone to feel unusually emotional. Some common reasons, both psychological and physical, of why an individual can feel overly emotional include the following:

  • Genetics: Some people inherit their emotional functioning from their family genes, meaning that mental health conditions like mood disorders and anxiety disorders could be affecting your moods. 
  • Hormonal Imbalance: A change in hormone levels or hormonal imbalance can easily affect a person’s emotions. Puberty, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), thyroid difficulties, levels of testosterone, being on steroids or birth control, and menopause are known to cause emotional spikes. If you are concerned about a possible hormonal imbalance, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician and request to have routine labs run to check your nutrient and hormone levels.
  • Poor habits: Habits including lack of sleep, bad hygiene, lack of exercise, and insufficient diet can all cause emotions to elevate or dip. It is vital to remember that the mind and body are connected, and taking care of yourself physically can also help you mentally.
  • Trauma and/or PTSD: Whether a person is currently facing trauma or has a history of trauma, they can have intense emotions in certain situations, often ones that remind them of what they went through, called flashbacks. Emotional abuse including gaslighting and manipulation can also cause emotional disruption.
  • Big life changes: Sometimes, big life changes such as relationship difficulties, divorce, having a baby, death of a loved one, or global events like a pandemic or a world crisis can heighten worry, feelings of anxiety, and strong emotions. It’s also normal for these events to have a certain emotional echo, affecting you at random times after the fact, perhaps when someone or something reminds you of what happened.
  • High stress: Dealing with stress can affect your mood and emotions, especially when that stress is held in rather than expelled. Stress can take a toll, causing you to feel mentally and physically exhausted. This makes it hard to take care of yourself and can lessen your ability to cope well, causing heightened emotions. 

If you feel more emotional than usual, you could be experiencing one or more of these causes, or even something separate. This is why, if you are concerned about your heightened emotions, you should speak with a mental health professional about your symptoms. They will be able to help you identify what’s causing them, then create a treatment plan with you to address them, working to calm your intense emotions.

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Why Am I So Emotional On My Period?

Periods can affect emotions in a variety of ways. Changing hormones are one of the most common reasons for people with periods to experience fluctuating moods and elevated emotions. 

Menstruating people can also have PMDD, which is diagnosed by a medical doctor and can cause severe disturbances in mood, as well as other bodily issues. When these feelings plague you around your period, it’s important to find healthy coping skills and remember that these emotions are not permanent. A great way to establish these coping skills is by talking with a mental health counselor.

Why Am I So Emotional During Pregnancy? Why Am I So Emotional After Having a Baby?

Like with periods, pregnant bodies experience a dramatic shift in hormones during and after pregnancy. During this time, birthing parents can feel anxious, depressed, worried, and stressed—like they’re on a roller coaster of emotions. 

Because of this, many people that are pregnant or have just given birth might feel irregularly emotional, or like they can’t control their fluctuating moods. The lack of sleep that often comes during pregnancy and after the birth can also affect emotions.

How Can I Stop Being So Emotional? Tips for Calming Heightened Emotions

There are many tactics you can use to help calm yourself and soothe your elevated emotions. Some you can do in the moment, and others are practices that are good to do and build on over time. Some examples of these practices are: 

  • Taking better care of your physical self, such as improved sleep schedule, diet, and exercise
  • Seeking care from a medical professional to check your hormones and assess physical issues
  • Seeking professional counseling to help you better cope with thoughts and emotions
  • Practicing healthy coping skills and self-care such as journaling, mindfulness, progressive muscle relaxation, breathing, or meditation
  • Making a conscious effort to accept your emotions as they come, name them, and know that you are in control of how you deal with them. It can be easy not to notice how we are feeling until it’s too much to hold inside any longer, but acknowledging feelings in the moment will help you avoid big emotional flare-ups in the future
  • Practicing accepting your emotions and seeing them as normal
  • Setting self-care boundaries to reduce stress, anxiety, and shifts in mood. For example, say “no” if you can’t or don’t want to do something, practice positive self-talk, and create space to do things that bring you joy
  • Not giving too much brain space or emotional real estate to things you cannot control
  • Leaning on your natural support systems to help calm your emotions

Though all of these tactics might not be for you, one or more of them might help you reconcile with your emotions and help you deal with them in a healthy and productive way. 

When your emotions feel like they are overwhelming you and you don’t know what to do, consider talking to a mental health professional as well as doing these practices. A therapist or psychiatrist will be the most equipped to help you figure out what you’re dealing with and give you the support and assistance you need to get back on your feet.

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Theresa Lupcho, LPCLicensed Professional Counselor
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Theresa Lupcho is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) with a passion for providing the utmost quality of services to individuals and couples struggling with relationship issues, depression, anxiety, abuse, ADHD, stress, family conflict, life transitions, grief, and more.

Christine Ridley, Resident in Counseling in Winston-Salem, NC

Christine Ridley is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who specializes in adolescent and adult anxiety, depression, mood and thought disorders, addictive behaviors, and co-dependency issues.

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Hannah DeWittMental Health Writer

Hannah is a Junior Copywriter at Thriveworks. She received her bachelor’s degree in English: Creative Writing with a minor in Spanish from Seattle Pacific University. Previously, Hannah has worked in copywriting positions in the car insurance and trucking sectors doing blog-style and journalistic writing and editing.

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The information on this page is not intended to replace assistance, diagnosis, or treatment from a clinical or medical professional. Readers are urged to seek professional help if they are struggling with a mental health condition or another health concern.

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