Is It Time to Talk More About Emotional Lability?

Emotional lability

Emotional lability means rapid, often exaggerated changes in mood,  where strong emotions or feelings occur. Emotional lability occurs when one has low awareness of emotions and poor ability to inhibit or stop emotions coming out. Emotionally labile people experience out of proportion reactions to the situation or environment. They may overreact to people or events about particular topics, movies or stories, or express their emotions in situations where previously they would have been able to stay restrained. Such behaviors may be confusing, embarrassing, and difficult to understand for others. Emotional lability can be also caused by low frustration tolerance, particularly with fatigue and stress.

To manage emotional lability, you can try relaxation and breathing exercises reducing psychological tension and stress, or other cognitive and behavioral strategies discussed with your therapist, such as thought stopping or imagining a peaceful picture. 

Emotional lability feels similar to an emotional rollercoaster. Read more about it and how to deal with this below.

Emotional rollercoaster

A situation or experience that alternates between making one feel excited or happy and causing the feeling of sadness, disappointment, or despair is called an emotional rollercoaster. It usually leaves people feeling wiped out and drained. An emotional rollercoaster may cause individuals to act impulsively without considering the consequences. 

Here is what you can do when experiencing an emotional rollercoaster

Meditate

Meditation is a great way to develop mindfulness, which is vital for emotional regulation. It also helps to think before you act and respond in a more responsible way. 

Consider the bigger picture

Try to look at the situation from different perspectives. This can give you insight that will help you stay calm and maintain good relationships with others. 

Practice focused breathing

Breathing is a simple yet powerful tool that is often underused. Breathing techniques can clear your mind and help you make better choices. 

Change the circumstances

Oftentimes intense emotions are trying to give us a wake-up call. They may show us that we are truly unhappy in a certain situation and it’s time to change it. 

Try journaling

Writing down all your emotional ups and downs throughout the day can be a helpful exercise. Journaling really helps to get them off your chest and give you more peace of mind.

Emotional strength

Emotional strength is the opposite thing to emotional lability since it allows people to be more resistant  to various triggers. Emotionally strong people can deal with the stresses more effectively, and recover more quickly from challenges, crises when they arise, and emotional wounds. They are less discouraged by setbacks, more adaptable to change, and can learn from mistakes or criticism. Emotional strength also means that one is able to recognize and express their needs and see the big picture in a challenging situation.

Emotional strength alongside other social skills can be trained from childhood. One of the most commonly used tools for that is emotional ABCs. Read more about it below.

Emotional ABCs

The mission of emotional ABCs is to teach children valuable skills to manage their emotions. These skills include recognizing emotions, effectively communicating with them, regulating emotional responses, and making good choices in different emotionally-charged situations. 

Emotional ABCs started in 2010 in California by Ross Brodie and Cynthia Sikes who wanted to help parents, caregivers, and teachers that support their child’s or student’s social-emotional learning. 

Developed with psychologists, therapists, and educators, it has grown into the most used Social Emotional Learning program in the USA. Now there is an evidence-based SEL curriculum that follows guidelines outlined by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning and uses careful step-by-step strategies to manage emotions. 

The tools of emotional ABCs include short videos, printables, online games, cards, and engaging interactive activities.

Emotional attachment

The emotional attachment also plays a key role in the way we feel life and react. It refers to the feelings of closeness and affection that help build the connection. The earliest bonds formed with parents and family members can shape the attachments one develops to friends and romantic partners in adult life.

A certain level of attachment is absolutely normal in healthy relationships. But sometimes, one can get too attached. It gets unhealthy if an individual starts defining their worth by how others see them. This way, a sense of self-worth may completely depend on the partner’s regard. It can result in a feeling of emptiness, anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. 

Emotional attachment is especially dangerous with people who have toxic or abusive traits because they can intentionally manipulate their partner’s needs and feelings to control the relationship.

A lost sense of self is a negative consequence of unhealthy emotional attachment. It happens when one believes that they need someone and can’t live without them. So they start doing whatever it takes to secure their partner’s affection and support. Emotionally attached people can modify their habits, interests, and behaviors so they align more with those of their partner.

Unhealthy emotional attachment makes the relationship unbalanced because one person typically looks to another for emotional comfort without offering much in return. While another one may feel drained and resentful because of providing support and not getting what they need. 

After building emotional attachment, people find it extremely difficult to let go when something gets wrong. They are usually unwilling to leave their comfort zone and do things differently. Such individuals avoid making changes because of inner resistance even if they suffer in certain circumstances. Although it may seem strange to keep living in uncomfortable situations, they are afraid to change the conditions they know well. 

In order to get rid of unhealthy emotional attachment, one should consider some potential reasons for it. They might be the fear of being alone, the feeling of emptiness and insecurity when not in a relationship, or a vaguely defined sense of self. Once one has a better idea of attachment triggers, it gets possible to find solutions.

For instance, one can dedicate some time to self-discovery and reconnecting with their personal identity. Another solution could be to do things you enjoy and to strengthen positive relationships with friends and family. And probably, the best way to deal with attachment is to get support from a mental health professional. 

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