Emotional stability is the ability to maintain your emotional state under different circumstances. But how many people can say that they stay calm and happy in most situations? Very few.
Your emotions are ruled by chemicals in the brain. Various factors can throw your emotional stability off balance, but if someone is perpetually either really euphoric, really depressed, or switches quickly between the two, that may be a sign of something more than just being highly sensitive.
11 factors that determine emotional stability
It is difficult to be in a relationship with someone who is emotionally unstable, especially if they don’t know it. Trying to navigate their moods can leave you feeling like you are walking on egg shells, and your life in continual upheaval.
Sometimes the only way to fix a problem is to identify it. These are several reasons that you may be seeing the extreme highs and lows in yourself or someone else you know.
Several factors can lead to emotional instability both inside of and outside of relationships. So, it is important to know what is the driving force behind you or your loved one’s ability to not healthily deal with life.
#1 A chemical imbalance. There are specific chemicals in the brain that regulate mood. They can make people experience different emotions such as sadness, anxiety, fear, and depression. A lack of serotonin can make someone feel perpetually sad – and without cause. [Read: Emotions you shouldn’t feel in a healthy relationship]
#2 Your gut. Research is just beginning to understand how mood is determined by a balance of good and bad bacteria in the intestine. Too much bad bacteria can affect your mood and make it hard for you to stabilize your mood.
Your dietary habits may have more to do with your mood stabilization than you realize. If you are finding yourself being unable to control your emotions, you may want to take a look at your diet.
#3 Destructive relationships. There are times when destructive relationships can lead to throwing off your emotional stability. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to put the pieces of a puzzle together that don’t fit.
If you continually try to reach your partner and they aren’t reciprocal, or worse, they set you down a course of feeling lonely or hopeless, that can make it difficult to know whether you are coming or going.
Feeling in a constant state of flux, it is hard to know whether you are supposed to feel sad about a love lost, hopeful that you are working it out, or happy because you are finally getting along. One of the biggest emotional stability killers is a destructive and unhappy relationship. [Read: 18 critical signs of an unhealthy relationship]
#4 Stress. When people are put under highly stressful conditions, or chronically stressed, their body can only handle so much outpouring of emotions. There are times when being chronically stressed – either in social situations or at work – can lead to emotional stability *or instability*.
We only have so much coping juice, and if you are always juiced up on stress, something will give. Chronic stress can break even the most stable personality.
#5 Hormones. Your mood is directly related to your hormones. During different times of the month, your hormones change. If they are out of balance, it may have you on an emotional rollercoaster making it difficult for you to find emotional stability. It isn’t just hormones like serotonin that control mood, but so do things like testosterone and estrogen. [Read: Why are women so fickle in love?]
#6 Learned behaviors. There are times when outbursts and mood instability can result from poor modeling while growing up. If your boyfriend or girlfriend appears to have extreme shifts in moods, or have triggers that make them fly off the handle, that may be less about mood disorders and more about the behaviors that their parents modeled growing up.
You learn certain patterns of behavior from your parents, and if your significant other had an abusive parent or one that had a mood disorder, it is not unlikely that they learned poor coping behaviors early on. [Read: Only child syndrome – The good and the bad of dating an only child]
#7 Lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation is one of the most destructive things for mood stabilization. It is recommended that an adult get at least seven hours of sleep at night and not more than ten for the best health mental and physical outcomes.
If your partner has been working overtime or long hours, it may be affecting their ability to deal with the challenges of life. [Read: Ways volunteer work can help heal depression]
#8 Underlying illness. There are certain diseases and illnesses that can cause someone to be less apt to stabilize their mood. Things such Epstein-Barr Virus and Hypoglycemia, or even Mitral Valve Prolapse, can lead to symptoms of emotional instability.
Although not as likely, there are instances when being very up or very down can be caused by an underlying condition.
#9 Aspartame side-effects. Some people react differently to artificial sweeteners such as aspartame. If you are dating a diet soda freak, there is a potential that their symptoms of emotional instability may be related to a side effect of a widely used chemical called aspartame. [Read: Dating someone with depression – Is it ever worth it?]
#10 Dieting or not eating enough. Women are notorious for trying to starve themselves to fit into a size that doesn’t fit them. Continual food deprivation, anorexia, bulimia, or severe reduction in calories, can lead to severe mood swings.
If you have noticed that someone is losing a lot of weight or they are dieting and trying too aggressively to drop pounds, it may be showing up in their behavior as extreme mood swings or the inability to maintain emotional stability. [Read: Do you feel emotionally drained? 15 reasons and cures]
#11 Bi-polar disorder. Bi-polar disorder is a mental disorder that causes a person to experience both extreme highs and lows. Also known as manic-depression, it can cause someone to behave uncharacteristically, or to be depressed one day, and then the next be completely manic. Controlled with medication, it is a highly treatable condition.
Some personalities are harder to deal with than others. If you are finding that you or your mate are having a difficult time with mood stabilization, it may be something other than a mood disorder. There are times when other factors are in play when someone is seemingly up one minute and down another.
Highs and lows are just a part of life. But if you aren’t ever sure which mood you are going to encounter with your significant other, or which you are going to be from day-to-day *very happy, or very unhappy,* it may be time to find the cause.
[Read: Sabotaging your happiness – 12 ways you may be ruining your own life]
Seeking medical advice is the best way to deal with getting a better grip on emotional stability. Sometimes it just takes knowing what the problem is, and then understanding how to fix it.
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