Why Am I So Emotional: 6 Reasons You Feel This Way

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Simply put, feelings can be overwhelming. There are times in life when we feel we are in the throes of emotional turmoil but may not fully understand why. This is completely normal but can feel alienating.

Perhaps you’re feeling angry, fearful, or sad. Maybe you’re feeling happy and optimistic but aren’t sure why. Even positive feelings can be confusing and lead to concern that something is too good to be true.

We can’t always name why we feel the way we do and that is OK. However, sometimes the reasons are right in front of us and it can be powerful to acknowledge the current circumstances in your life.

Read on to learn about six different reasons why you are feeling the way you do and what you can do to cope.

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Good Stress

The idea that stress can bring up big feelings for us may not be groundbreaking news. However, many of us may overlook common sources of stress. For example, it makes sense that a major move, big life transition, or change in career can bring up frustration, excessive worry, and even sadness.

Typically, these sources of stress are often regarded with some source of negativity, so it isn’t a big surprise when challenging feelings come up.

Even 'Good Stress' Can Cause Complex Emotions

Something that is seldom talked about is how good stress can also bring up feelings of frustration, excessive worry, and sadness. You may be wondering what could even be considered good stress—and it's a great question. Positive sources of stress can be a major career moment like a promotion or receiving funding for a project you’re thrilled about.

Getting engaged and planning your dream wedding can be immensely stressful, no matter how good you feel about your upcoming nuptials. Buying a house, a huge indicator of success in our society, can bring up a lot of stress as well. 

It isn’t uncommon for some to downplay their stress when it is tied to something positive. While it is important to acknowledge how privilege plays into incredible life moments, it is equally important to not suppress your feelings.

Speaking to others who relate to the stress success can bring is one way to begin processing your feelings. Exploring ways to soothe stress on a daily basis, like a consistent meditation practice, can contribute to your overall mental health.

Finally, touching base with a licensed mental health professional is always a great option. In psychotherapy, you can process your feelings free of judgment. 

Financial Problems

A study conducted in 2020 states 11.4% of the United States population is living in poverty. Additionally, the stress of the pandemic has led to mass layoffs and some deciding their position is no longer a good fit for them. It is no secret that financial instability is a major source of stress. 

It can be particularly challenging to ease the stress of financial instability since what is needed the most is simply financial security. While it is easy to want to avoid financial decisions when coping with a lack of funds, that can make matters much worse. Assess things you may be able to control, whether that is negotiating payment deferments or applying for state-funded forms of assistance.

You can also try reaching out to a social worker or a non-profit that can help connect you to resources in your community.

Finally, reach out to your community. It can feel taboo to talk about money woes with others, but the reality is many of us have been financially stretched to our limit. There’s power in communal support. 

Relationship Issues

Let’s talk about love. Falling in love and ending a relationship can breed emotional turmoil. While falling in love is often associated with moments of bliss, it can also bring up unwanted emotions. Emotions and emotional experiences are different depending on the person and their unique history.

For instance, for folks who have experienced negative romantic experiences in the past, it can be scary to open up to someone new. Ending a relationship can be deeply painful. Divorce, even when it is something that you want and know will contribute to your overall well-being, is also a highly stressful event. 

In both of these situations, therapy can be of great support. Couples therapy is incredibly helpful, even if the goal is an amicable dissolution of a relationship. If you find that you’re struggling with communication issues, exploring how you can shift your communication style can decrease the severity of painful emotions. Looking into the nonviolent communication method is a great place to start. 

Burnout

Sometimes we’ve just had too much to deal with. Burnout is most commonly understood as extreme fatigue and a complete lack of enthusiasm for one’s job.

This fatigue and lack of enthusiasm can result in feelings of irritability, sadness, and even fear. Since the start of the pandemic and the rise of working from home, burnout has become more prevalent than ever.

Scheduling days off regularly, ensuring you’re doing things that bring you joy, and setting boundaries with your job responsibilities are all ways to combat burnout symptoms. In addition, try identifying the biggest stressors in your life. While it's important to relieve symptoms, you want to make sure you're addressing and healing the root cause of your discomfort as best you can.

Family Turmoil

Family can be one of our earliest sources of challenging feelings. Whether is childhood trauma, a strained relationship with family members, or high expectations from your parents, it is completely normal for your family life to be a source of complicated emotions.

Beginning to understand your triggers is a great place to start. Do you get nervous around the holidays? Is your birthday always a hard day?

Begin planning ahead for the times you know you may be especially emotionally activated. If you’ve experienced childhood trauma, somatic therapy can be especially helpful. 

Sometimes it isn’t about your family of origin and instead is about the creation of your own family. Adjusting to parenthood can be a major trigger of family turmoil. It truly does take a village to feel fully supported in those early days of parenthood.

Reach out to your community, join a support group, and seek out professional mental health support if needed. 

A Word From Verywell

We don’t have to know the cause of every emotion we experience. As humans, we are simply emotional beings and it is a gift to be able to feel into the complexity of life. If your feelings are becoming too overwhelming, it may be time to seek additional help.

6 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Julia Childs Heyl
Julia Childs Heyl, MSW, is a clinical social worker and writer. As a writer, she focuses on mental health disparities and uses critical race theory as her preferred theoretical framework. In her clinical work, she specializes in treating people of color experiencing anxiety, depression, and trauma through depth therapy and EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) trauma therapy.