We’re giving you clarity on questions like: What does it mean when you cry for no reason? Why am I so emotional all of a sudden?

Man staring at the ceiling in bed, feeling more emotional than usual and wondering whyShare on Pinterest
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Emotions are what make us different from robots, so it’s OK when they phase from happy, to content, to sad sometimes.

Women cry 30 to 64 times per year, and men cry 5 to 17 times per year. No matter how resilient you are, you’re bound to shed a few tears here and there. Crying, having moments of insecurity, or feeling suddenly sentimental or angry doesn’t mean you’re weak. Our bodies are hard-wired to cope with different situations.

Occasionally, you might not even know why you’re feeling emotional. If this is the case, one of the following factors could be at play.

Heightened emotions can spring from external or internal motivators.

Stress

Stress has a way of creeping into every part of our lives. A 2017 national survey found that millennials have the highest stress levels of any other generation. Women were also reported as being slightly more stressed than men. Black and Hispanic people also experienced more stress than white people.

Not all stress is bad for you. Stress evolved as a response by our body to cope with unpleasant situations. But chronic stress can take a toll on your body. Too much stress increases your risk of depression and anxiety.

Gut-brain connection

If you’ve ever had an upset stomach while feeling emotionally taxed, there’s more to it than some bad takeout. Your gut is in constant communication with the brain, and research shows that bacteria in the gut can influence your emotional well-being.

Poor eating habits

Eating junk food every time you’re stressed or sad is an unhealthy coping mechanism.

Research shows our brains are wired to crave foods high in fat and sugar. In the short term, they may feel beneficial to anxiety and depressive symptoms. But in the long run, emotional eating increases your risk of obesity, which is linked to cognitive issues and mood disorders.

Lack of sleep

We can’t live without sleep. Yet many people have trouble getting at least 7 hours of it. One study found that 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep.

The longer you go without sleep, the more likely you’ll be to have trouble thinking correctly and keeping your emotions in check. In fact, research suggests getting enough sleep can help with stabilizing mood and reducing the risk of depression.

Hormonal imbalances

Both men and women can experience elevated or depleted hormone levels. Slight changes in hormones such as cortisol levels can affect your stress levels, how you sleep, and your eating habits.

Depression

If you’re feeling extra emotional and it’s leaning toward helplessness, despair, or thoughts of ending your life, you might reach out to a health professional to see if you have depression. You wouldn’t be alone. Depression affects about 264 million people worldwide. If left untreated, it can distort your emotions.

If you know your emotional fluctuation stems from previously diagnosed clinical depression, it might be time to contact your psychiatrist and see about adjusting your medications.

Grief

Grief is a natural response to loss. And it doesn’t follow our timeline. You might’ve received condolences and felt OK at the time, then the reality of your loss could’ve sunk in when you weren’t expecting it.

With the current coronavirus pandemic, many are grieving the loss of loved ones but also the loss of our old normal. Others might be mourning the loss of a job or missing out on special events like the birth of a grandchild.

Trauma

Going through a traumatic event is physically and emotionally exhausting. And with the current trauma of the coronavirus pandemic, everyone is in need of some psychological first aid.

Just like a first aid kit, you can fill your arsenal with evidence-based coping strategies to treat your unexpected emotional wounds when they surface.

Sadness, anger, and sentimentality are natural responses to dealing with stuff that’s going on in life. But if you find yourself crying all the time for no reason and it goes on for more than 2 weeks, it could be a red flag for depression.

Taking care of yourself is priority number one. If feeling generally “down” continues for more than 2 weeks or you experience other depressive symptoms, you might want to speak with a doctor about getting examined for possible depression. With the right help, you can start to feel relief.

Life has its ups and downs, and emotions, within reason, can help cope with these moments. If you feel overly emotional or you’re crying for no reason, it could be a sign that something’s affecting your health.

For now, being aware of the possible reasons for newfound feelings and being open to seeking professional help is a solid start. You can listen to your body and give it what it needs, even if it’s just a good cry.