Everyone has off days. You may find yourself giving hostile, clipped answers to simple questions. Or you may find yourself on the verge of tears for no discernible reason. (There’s always a reason, even if you aren’t currently aware.)

It’s important to be in tune with your body, not just physically but emotionally as well. This is referred to as “emotional intelligence.” It’s good to understand what you’re feeling — and why — in order to manage your emotions.

If you’ve been feeling more emotional lately, some likely reasons are below.

1. Stress.

Excess stress can manifest in various ways. Physically it may cause headaches and tense shoulder muscles. Emotional manifestations of stress include anxiety, sadness or anger. You might not be sure how to cope.

First, identify the sources of stress in your life. Are you taking on too much at work? Are the kids a bit more than you can handle? Was there a sudden, unexpected family tragedy? Whatever the cause, it’s important to make sure it doesn’t take over your life. Rank each identified source in order to determine the greater sources of stress.

Once you know the causes, begin looking for healthy ways to manage stress. Studies show regular exercise is a good tool for overcoming stress. Even stopping and taking a breath can help. Avoid stressful situations if you can, and if you can’t, work on taking control of your feelings. The better you work at managing your stress in the long run, the better a handle you’ll have on how you react to whatever comes your way.

2. Hormonal imbalances.

As we age, our bodies go through many changes, including the fluctuation of certain hormones. For instance, women can experience changes in emotional behaviors due to a drop in estrogen. Pregnancy also can result in hormonal fluctuations. The fluctuation of testosterone levels in men can affect their moods. To determine whether or not hormone imbalance is affecting your mood, it may be necessary to get tested.

3. Lack of sleep.

It may be fun to stay up late, but doing it frequently can interfere with the body’s optimal functioning. In addition to difficulty focusing or staying awake, lack of sleep can make you cranky. Sustained lack of sleep can cause serious problems, including a heart attack or stroke.

If you’re not getting enough sleep, the easiest way to remedy this problem is to increase the amount of sleep you’re getting each day. While there’s no specific number for each person, the average recommended amount of sleep for adults is seven to nine hours. If your job requires you to get up early, it may be necessary to plan to be in bed at an hour that will get you a good night’s sleep. This may make you feel like you’re “missing out,” but taking the time to get the necessary amount of sleep can do a great deal to improve your health and your mood.

4. Poor eating habits.

The foods we eat can have a profound effect on our moods. A delicious bite of chocolate cake can result in a rush of not only sugar, but endorphins. The body can reward you through your brain’s pleasure center when you eat foods that make it feel good. Just the same, how you eat can make you feel bad.

Be sure to eat throughout the day – don’t skip breakfast – and aim for well-balanced meals. If you are very busy, it may be necessary to plan ahead or even prepare some meals the night before. Improving your eating habits can do more than improve how food affects you; it can also make you feel good about taking better care of your body.

5. Depression.

Millions of Americans struggle with various forms of depression. It may be possible to be depressed and not know it. According to statistics, around 80 percent of people who suffer from clinical depression do not get any treatment. Some may even try to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol, leading to even more problems.

If you suspect you may be suffering from depression, don’t ignore your symptoms or try to “tough it out.” The best way to know is to get a professional diagnosis, but you can begin by taking this quiz. Once you know, it’s important to actively begin to take steps to treat your depression.