Emotional Hangovers Are Real

Emotional Hangovers Are Real

11 March 2024

You know how it is … the wet towel on the floor (for the fourth time this week!), and the dance is on! And then there’s the next day when you feel utterly exhausted and drained, to the point where your whole body aches. Sound familiar?

If waking up the day after a nasty argument with a loved one, or a stressful work bust-up with a colleague left you feeling dazed, lethargic and fuzzy, you could be suffering from an emotional hangover.

Yup, there’s another type of hangover that has absolutely nothing to do with drinking, or fun. “Emotional hangover” isn’t just another silly term. New York University researchers have proved that this phenomenon exists. And if you’re an introvert or highly sensitive person, you’re way more likely to suffer from emotional hangovers.

Here’s the thing, it is not only negative experiences that have the potential to trigger emotional hangovers. Positive and happy times can have the same effect. It’s all about the emotional energy spent. In essence, an emotional hangover is the result of overwhelm and the aftermath can be impactful.

So what actually happens physiologically? Stressful situations can cause the body’s fight-or-flight response to kick in and a prolonged stress response is the result. According to experts an emotional hangover could last up to a week and other times, you might even feel floored for longer. It’s science, and it’s just your brain doing its job!

Research shows that the symptoms of an emotional hangover can be similar to those of anxiety and depression, ranging from tiredness and brain fog to procrastination, and even nausea.

Symptoms may also include persistent feelings of sadness or emotional vulnerability following the triggering event. Physical symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and nausea might also manifest. Additionally, cognitive effects such as difficulty concentrating, incessant thoughts about the event, or a tendency to ruminate on emotions are common.

Mental health professionals recommend the following steps to anybody experiencing an emotional hangover:

  • Treat your symptoms. Do you have a headache? A queasy tummy? Take something for it. As for exhaustion, if you can sleep, do. If you can’t, try to take it easy by removing unnecessary tasks from your to-do list.
  • Be kind to yourself. Try to reset to ease the symptoms. Reschedule plans if needed.
  • Eat a well-balanced meal. Fuel your body with foods that will increase your energy levels and improve your wellbeing. Avoid anything that could trigger anxiety such as high-sugar foods, alcohol, and caffeine.
  • Keep moving. It’s probably the very last thing you want to do, but after only five minutes you’ll feel the benefits. Remember exercise can be as simple as a walk around the block.
  • Write down your thoughts. Getting them down on paper will help you to process them.
  • Spend time with people that get you. Expressing your emotions to someone you trust will give your perspective.

Ultimately, you know your triggers. Put boundaries in place to reduce the impact of an emotional hangover.

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf” – Jon Kabat-Zin

Source: yahoo.com, huffingtonpost.co.za, womenshealthmag.com, choosingtherapy.com, talkspace.com, stylist.co.uk, highlysensitiverefuge.com, awakenthepower.org

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

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