Why am I so emotional? 9 reasons you may feel this way

A woman being too emotional

Feeling happy, thrilled, or sad are a part of life. The emotions remain the same, but we all process them differently. There may be times you may feel more emotional than your family members or friends. There is nothing wrong with being too emotional, as sometimes it may also be due to your genes. But the causes of being too emotional go beyond that. Your hormones or childhood experiences may play a role in the way you respond to things or people. It may also be due to a health condition, so knowing the cause is very important.

What does being too emotional mean?

Feeling “too emotional” can be like being caught in a whirlwind, where every feeling is intense and overwhelming. It is a constant struggle to regulate emotions, leaving people feeling powerless. Impulsivity becomes a companion, urging them to act without thinking, and they easily become overwhelmed by the flood of emotions, says clinical psychologist Dr Rituparna Ghosh.

Frequent crying spells is a sign of being too emotional. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What are the signs of being too emotional?

Signs of being too emotional may include:

  • Frequent mood swings
  • Difficulty controlling emotions Heightened sensitivity to criticism or rejection
  • Impulsivity
  • Frequent crying spells
  • Irritability
  • Feeling overwhelmed by emotions
  • Experiencing physical symptoms such as headaches or stomach-aches in response to stress.

What are the causes of a person being too emotional?

There are many factors that can make you too emotional.

1. Biological factors

Genetic predispositions: You can inherit a tendency to be more emotionally sensitive. Genetics can help to determine 20 to 60 percent of your temperament, according to the US’ National Library of Medicine. This is because the genes you get from your parents can influence the chemicals in your brain, like serotonin and dopamine, which help manage your mood.
Hormonal imbalances: Many women go through a rollercoaster of emotions during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause. These hormonal changes can make you feel more anxious or reactive than usual. For example, high levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, can make you feel more on edge.

2. Childhood experiences

Trauma: If you faced trauma as a child, such as abuse or witnessed violence, it can be like carrying the weight of emotional stress into adulthood. This can make you more alert to danger and more reactive to stress, even when it is not necessary, says the expert.
Neglect: Growing up without enough emotional or physical care can make it hard to feel safe and secure. Without this foundation, managing your emotions and forming healthy relationships can become challenging.
Inconsistent parenting styles: If you lived in a home where the rules and responses changed unpredictably, it can leave you feeling unstable and unsure about how to handle your emotions or trust others.

3. Personality traits

High sensitivity: If you are highly sensitive, you might feel like you experience everything more deeply than others do. Both joys and sorrows can feel overwhelming, making everyday situations more emotionally charged.
Neuroticism: This personality trait means you might often feel anxious, moody, or insecure. These feelings can make you react more strongly to stress and negative events.

4. Stressful life events

Major life changes: Big changes like losing a job, going through a divorce, or losing a loved one can have a major impact on your emotional world. These events can disrupt your sense of normalcy and make you more sensitive to stress.
Ongoing stressors: Continuous pressures, like financial troubles or ongoing relationship issues, can wear you down over time. This chronic stress can make your emotional reactions more intense.

5. Mental health disorders

Anxiety disorders: If you live with an anxiety disorder, constant worry and fear can make everyday situations feel more overwhelming, heightening your emotional responses.
Depression: Living with depression means you might often feel deep sadness, hopelessness, or irritability. These feelings can make it hard to manage your emotions, leading to more intense reactions.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD): It is characterised by intense, often uncontrollable emotions. Mood swings and unstable relationships can make emotional regulation particularly challenging, says the expert.

6. Environmental influences

Cultural norms: The culture you grow up in can shape how you express and manage emotions. Some cultures value emotional restraint, while others encourage open expression, which can influence your emotional reactions.
Societal pressures: Expectations to succeed or maintain a certain image can add extra stress. This pressure can make managing your emotions even harder.
Peer influences: The people around you can greatly impact your emotional health. Positive relationships can support you, while negative influences can increase emotional instability.

7. Relationship dynamics

Unhealthy relationships: Being in relationships filled with conflict, manipulation, or abuse can heighten emotional reactivity, making it harder to stay emotionally stable.
Conflicts: Frequent arguments with loved ones can create a tense environment, making it difficult to keep your emotions in check.
Co-dependency: In a co-dependent relationship, relying too much on someone else for emotional support can lead to turmoil, making it tough to manage emotions on your own.

8. Substance abuse

Using substances like alcohol or drugs to cope with stress can mess with your brain’s ability to regulate emotions, says Dr Ghosh. This can lead to mood swings and more intense emotional reactions.

9. Neurological conditions

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: ADHD can make managing emotions tough. Impulsivity and difficulty focusing can lead to more reactive emotional responses.
Autism Spectrum Disorders: If you are on the autism spectrum, you might experience emotions very intensely and find it hard to understand and express them, contributing to emotional sensitivity.

A woman being too emotional
Being too emotional all the time can affect your work life. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

How to stop being too emotional?

Overly emotional individuals tend to experience challenges like difficulty maintaining stable relationships, impaired decision-making abilities, problems at work or school, increased risk of mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression, and social isolation, says the expert.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Understand your feelings

By understanding your thoughts, feelings, and actions, you can pave the way toward emotional balance. Mindfulness can guide you by teaching you to observe without judgment, empowering you to control escalating emotions before they overwhelm you.

2. Try simple practices

In moments of turmoil, simple practices like deep breathing or journaling can really help. They can soothe your nerves, and calm you down, says the expert.

3. Seek help from your loved ones

Reach out to your friends, and family so that you are not alone in this journey. Their support can become an anchor, helping you weather the storms with comfort.

4. Focus on self-care

You should have self-care rituals to nurture your soul. Prioritising your well-being is very important. You can relax by listening to your favourite music, get a head massage or do whatever makes you happy.

5. Therapy

If the weight of your emotions becomes too heavy to bear, seek professional help. Through tailored interventions, therapists can guide you toward resilience and a brighter tomorrow.

Sometimes, emotions can become too heavy. They might weigh you down, strain your relationships, or affect your well-being. So, find out the reason behind you being too emotional, and take help if needed.

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