Have you ever wondered to yourself, “Why am I so emotional?” Emotions are part and parcel of our daily life. Yet, they can feel overwhelming at times. This article covers 13 common reasons why you might be feeling more emotional lately, and some suggestions on what you can do about it.
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13 Common Reasons Why You Feel More Emotional Lately and What You Can Do
1. Lack of Sleep
This one may seem obvious now, but perhaps less so when we are deprived of sleep. When we lack sleep, we may feel more irritable, grumpy, cranky, or angry. It may even feel as though our emotions are being magnified, or that we have a “shorter fuse” when faced with the challenges of the day. In the long term, insufficient sleep can be detrimental to a person’s physical and mental health.
It is no surprise that getting enough sleep helps us to feel well-rested and awake. Depending on your age group, there are different recommendations on how many hours you should sleep a night. For adults, try to get at least seven hours of sleep each night.
To improve the quality of your sleep, practise good sleep hygiene habits. For instance:
- have a regular bedtime routine and stick to it;
- avoid using screens (that includes your laptop, TV, and mobile phone) while in bed;
- ensure that your bedroom is dark and quiet;
- adjust the room temperature such that it is cool enough for you; and
- avoid naps in the daytime.
2. Lack of Exercise
When we exercise, our body releases endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that elicit positive feelings. They help to block pain and relieve stress, thereby improving our wellbeing.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that adults aged 18 to 64 years should do minimally 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity per week, or at least 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity per week.
Most of us are no stranger to that daily cup (or cups) of caffeine. It is nothing new that caffeine increases emotional arousal and helps us to feel more alert and energetic. However, coffee may also exacerbate anxiety or irritability. On the whole, whether caffeine influences our emotions more positively or negatively remains unclear in the literature.
As the effects of caffeine may vary from individual to individual, you may wish to take note of how caffeine might be influencing your emotions. Might your caffeine intake be contributing to why you might be feeling so sensitive emotionally?
4. Side Effects of Medications
Medications can have various side effects, some of which may affect your mood. If you are worried about mood changes being a potential side effect of the medication you are taking, discuss it with your medical doctor.
5. Hormonal Reasons
There are various conditions that may affect your hormones, which can in turn affect your mood. These include puberty, thyroid issues, premenstrual syndrome or PMS, pregnancy, and menopause. Sometimes, being aware of the conditions that might be affecting our mood can in itself be helpful.
6. Underlying Mental Health Conditions
Emotional changes may also be a symptom of an underlying mental health condition, such as a mood disorder, an anxiety disorder, or a personality disorder. It is important to note that diagnosis of mental health conditions should only be done by a qualified professional such as a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist. If you have concerns regarding possible mental health conditions, seek medical help.
Have you ever looked back on hindsight at your reaction to an event and thought to yourself, “Why was I so emotional about that?” Perhaps you noticed that you were more emotional than you had expected to be, or more emotional than you would usually have been in such a situation, which caught you by surprise. Stress can intensify our emotions.
You can start by asking yourself where the stress is coming from. What is stressing you out? Have there been other stressors in your life lately? What else could be affecting you, that you might not have realised? Have you been getting enough rest, good quality sleep and eating a well-balanced diet, for instance? Checking in with our loved ones who know us well may also provide us with insightful information.
When a person goes through burnout, it can affect them physically and mentally. They may feel detached and empty, and experience exhaustion and denial. They may also withdraw from others socially and neglect their own needs.
If a person is burnt out, it can be hard for them to realise or acknowledge that they are experiencing burnout. This is where building up our awareness of our emotions as well as how we manage them can be helpful. We can also then explore different ways to regulate our emotions better.
Trauma is an emotional and/or physical response to an intensely stressful event. It can arise from events such as the loss of a loved one, an attack on one’s person, or accidents.
Trauma may also be prolonged, such as when a person is a victim of interpersonal abuse over an extended time. Emotional symptoms of trauma may include shock, disbelief, guilt, shame, fear, anger, irritability, confusion, sadness, or numbness. This might contribute to why a person might be feeling emotional all the time. Different people respond to trauma differently.
The aim of grounding techniques is to help you to “come back to” and connect with the present moment. Some things that you can do are deep breathing exercises, feeling the physical connection between your feet and the ground or floor, noticing the sights, sounds, and scents around you, and moving your body or exercising. Keep in mind that a grounding technique that works for one person may not work for another. You may need to try out and practise a few different techniques to see what works best for you.
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10. Grief and Loss
Grief is our response to loss. Societal norms may have us think that grief is what happens when a loved one passes away. While that is true, grief can also occur when we face any type of loss; not just death. Examples of losses include the loss of one’s childhood home, the loss of a friendship or romantic relationship, the loss of a pet, the loss of good health, the loss of a treasured possession, the loss of a job or financial security, and so on. Grief may also be hidden, such as when a person loses a secret relationship.
Grief can affect our emotions in many ways. When we encounter a loss, we may experience shock, disbelief, sadness, anger, bitterness, numbness, loneliness, or guilt, among others. Many people seek therapy after a loss to work on coping better and healing. There can also be feelings of helplessness or hopelessness. If you or someone you know feels overwhelmed and has had thoughts of suicide, call your local crisis hotline for immediate support.
11. Relationship Difficulties
At some point, you may have wondered why you might have been so emotional in a relationship. Romantic relationships take us through all kinds of emotional highs and lows. While disagreements in a relationship are normal, they can sometimes make us feel frustrated, baffled, annoyed, and alone. If these emotions remain unaddressed or if we bottle these emotions up, tension may build over time, making it harder for us to cope.
If similar issues constantly surface between your partner and yourself, couples counselling is a good place to start. Couples counselling can help you to gain insight into the dynamics of your relationship, address recurring causes of conflict, communicate openly, reconnect with your partner, and gain a more in-depth understanding of your partner’s emotional needs.
When a breakup happens, a person may experience many emotions at the same time. There may be shock, relief, confusion, regret, longing, or a fear of being alone, to name a few. Of course, each individual’s experience may differ. Some might also struggle emotionally with missing their ex.
On the other hand, an abusive relationship is a different thing altogether. While signs of physical abuse are more commonly known and easier to spot, there are many other types of abuse that can affect our emotions or our sense of self. Examples include financial abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional or mental abuse. Being at the receiving end of abuse can be a very scary and isolating experience, and reaching out for help takes immense courage. If you are a victim of abuse, seek help from a social worker or your local organisation that specialises in working with survivors of abuse.
12. Family Difficulties
Difficult emotions arising from family challenges can be hard to pinpoint, as there might be a large mix of feelings involved, and potentially over a long time. What can be helpful here is building up your self-awareness. Who tends to affect you more when it comes to family? How do they affect you? Is there a time period where you tend to be more emotionally affected, or is it linked to something that they say or do? How do you normally respond when emotionally affected? Ideally, how would you like to respond to them?
13. Financial Difficulties
Having financial difficulties such as being in debt can be extremely stressful. A person may experience shock, distress, anxiety about the future, insomnia, hopelessness, helplessness, powerlessness, and frustration, among others. Finding out more about the resources in your community or seeing a social worker can often be a good place to start.
Conclusion: Why Am I So Emotional? Common Reasons and What You Can Do
At one point or another, we have probably asked ourselves, “Why am I so emotional?” There are various possible reasons why a person may be feeling more emotional lately, than they normally would. These reasons may be external factors linked to our situation, or they may be internal factors relating to our physical or mental health. Knowing the possible reasons that make us feel more emotional puts us in a better position to choose how to cope with our emotions. Ultimately, emotions are a very normal part of life, and it is never too early (or too late) to reach out for support.
When to Seek Help
There are many different ways to seek support when you feel more emotional than usual. Examples of informal support include confiding in close friends or family members, or anyone else in your social network. On the other hand, formal support involves seeing a professional such as a general practitioner, psychiatrist, a Therapist (ie a psychologist or professional counsellor), social worker, and so on.
People sometimes compare their situation with that of others, and mistakenly believe that their own situation does not deserve help or support, despite it affecting them greatly. As a result, they might refrain from seeking support, or wait for the problem to worsen until it is “major enough” to warrant support. The reality is that no one should have to struggle alone.
People seek professional support for all sorts of reasons. It is never too early to seek help. Working on emotional issues is as normal and healthy as working out one’s body in the gym. You do not need to wait for a situation to become worse before you try and start making it better. If you are considering therapy for the first time, online counselling may be a convenient way to try this.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why am I so emotional lately? Why do I feel so sensitive? What causes a person to be so emotional?
There could be many possibilities as to why you might be feeling more emotional. Some examples include lack of sleep, insufficient exercise, excessive caffeine, side effects of medications, hormonal changes, possible mental health conditions, stress, burnout, trauma, grief and loss, relationship challenges, family issues, and financial difficulties.
What is a reason why you might feel like the most emotional person in the room?
Each person is different. Some of us may be more expressive in general, and some less so. People sometimes assume that they are the only ones struggling emotionally, which can feel very isolating. At the same time, you never know what someone else might be going through, that they are not necessarily stating openly. Different people may choose to share (or not share) different aspects of their life with others. Silence does not necessarily equate to a lack of emotions.
How do I stop being so emotional?
Emotions are normal; we all have them. However, if you feel that you have been
There are many ways to manage your emotions. Some examples include getting enough sleep and exercise, monitoring the effects of your caffeine intake, discussing any potential side effects of medications with your doctor, building up your awareness of your stressors, and grounding techniques. It may take some trial and error before finding out what works best for you.
You may also seek informal support from your loved ones, or formal support from a professional such as a general practitioner, psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, professional counsellor, or social worker.
Is being very emotional normal?
One person’s definition of “very emotional” may differ from that of another. What matters more is how much it interferes with your daily life. If being emotional makes it hard for you to cope with your daily life, you may wish to seek external support to help you better manage them.
What to say instead of "stop crying"?
Instead of saying, “stop crying”, you may offer a listening ear. Allow them to air their thoughts and feelings without interrupting them. It can be helpful to imagine what you would feel if you were in their shoes. You may also wish to take note of these four common listening mistakes. If additional support is needed, you can bridge the gap by referring them to formal support such as a professional therapist, social worker, school counsellors, or any relevant organisation.
Benefits of crying: why do we cry, and when to seek support?
Crying is normal and it is typically triggered by strong emotions such as joy, sadness, anger, surprise. It can also be cathartic. However, excessive crying may a cause for concern. If you are not sure why you are crying, or are crying to the extent that it interferes with your daily activities, you may wish to raise it up with your general practitioner, who will assess you and make the necessary referrals, if any.
What is emotional overload?
Emotional overload occurs when you experience more emotions than you can process, and coping becomes difficult. Take note that feelings are not right or wrong; all feelings are valid. Feelings are merely your body’s way of trying to tell you something. Instead of avoiding your feelings (they will still be there), try tuning in to your feelings to gain insight into your situation, and learn more about yourself.