What is Emotional Stability? (& How to Become More Emotionally Stable)

What is Emotional Stability? (& How to Become More Emotionally Stable)

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Can you stay calm in challenging situations and keep your negative feelings from getting the best of you?

Or do you get upset easily and react emotionally in most situations?

Emotions are powerful, and they have a massive impact on our thinking and actions. Learning what is emotional stability and how to become more emotionally stable can help you experience more positive emotions, manage stress better, strengthen your relationships, and boost your confidence.

What is Emotional Stability (& Is There Really Such a Thing)?

Emotional stability refers to an individual’s ability to keep composure and balance in the face of adversity and tolerate distress while being productive in the face of it.

The American Psychological Association defines emotional stability as “predictability and consistency in emotional reactions, with the absence of rapid mood changes.” (1)

So, yes, there is such a thing as emotional stability! Each of us has a distinct personality type – a set of persistent personality qualities that govern how we relate to ourselves and others, how we deal with stress, and how well we perform in our personal, social, and professional areas.

According to the “Big Five” personality model, there are five basic dimensions of personality, and emotional stability is one of them (along with extroversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness).

Emotional stability, like other traits, exists on a spectrum with adaptive and reactive poles at its ends.

Understanding what emotional stability means and where you fall on the spectrum might help you better understand what motivates you and what you actually desire. It can also help you become more aware of your preferences, communication style, how you react to people, and the careers that suit your personality type.

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What Causes Emotional Instability?

Several factors, both alone and in combination, can contribute to emotional instability. These include:

  • A person’s genetics
  • Environmental factors (life experiences such as childhood abuse or trauma)
  • Mental health (certain mental health conditions such as anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, or borderline personality disorder)
  • Physical health conditions, such as chronic pain, cancer, or diabetes
  • Medications (for example, antidepressants may have side effects that contribute to emotional instability)
  • Alcohol and drug abuse

However, emotional instability is frequently the result of our persistent efforts to regulate and repress our feelings, which leads to a buildup of these feelings inside us, causing us to become quickly overwhelmed.

Adaptive vs. Reactive Personalities: How Does Emotional Instability Get in Our Way?

A person with high emotional stability (the adaptive pole) does not get easily triggered and tends to respond less emotionally. Adaptive personalities can calmly face and accept reality, quickly recovering after adversity. They are typically calm and in control of their emotions.

People with high emotional instability are at the other end of the spectrum (the reactive pole). They have difficulty coping with stress and react highly emotionally to situations other people would not respond to.

They typically experience frequent ups and downs in their mood, struggling with their feelings in stressful situations. They tend to have a low tolerance for frustration. Their emotional instability involves behavior patterns characterized by rapid and intense mood swings, difficulty regulating emotions, and impulsivity.

Emotional instability can also cause you to experience anxiety and depression, engage in self-destructive behaviors, or have difficulty starting and maintaining relationships.

Signs of Emotional Instability

The most common signs of emotional instability include rapid and frequent mood changes, unexpected emotional reactions, and difficulty calming down.

Additionally, some signs of emotional instability may include the following:

  • Extreme anxiety that manifests physically
  • Sudden angry outbursts followed by guilt and shame
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Impulsivity
  • Trust issues
  • Difficulty managing relationships
  • Intense fear of criticism and rejection
  • Lack of empathy
Signs of Emotional Instability

What Does Emotional Stability Look Like in the Real World?

Being emotionally stable means you remain calm and composed when most individuals overreact to positive or negative emotions. You are a positive thinker with good emotional regulation and impulse control.

You can stay calm, think clearly, and act purposefully in stressful situations. In challenging situations, you naturally stand out as a leader, and most people choose to follow your lead.

Also, research shows that one of the most important ways to deal with mental illness is to learn to control your emotions. If you have trouble keeping your emotions in check, small stresses from everyday life could add up and hurt your health and well-being.

How Can I Become More Emotional Stable?

Luckily, emotional stability can be improved with therapy and self-care. In addition to going to counseling, there are some strategies you can use to become more emotionally stable.

Don’t Try to Hide from Your Feelings and Emotions

Most of us tend to suppress, numb, or ignore negative feelings so we can deal with them and avoid feeling distressed. But

However, repressing your feelings for a long time can lead to mental and physical illnesses. So, it is critical to fully experience all of your positive and negative emotions and then let them pass without allowing them to govern your thoughts and actions.

Stop Judging Yourself for Your Emotions

When you eventually accept that all of your feelings and emotions are legitimate and equal, you will have more room in your heart for self-compassion, self-forgiveness, and self-love.

Are you ready to heal and let go? Find out what a self-love coach can do to help you take back your power and rediscover your AuthenticMe.

Learn to Prioritize Your Values Over Your Emotions

Emotions come and go, but our core values are what help us remain stable and in control of ourselves. So, focus on your values and prioritize them over your emotions.

For example, consider what you are attempting to achieve when arguing with your partner. What is more important: lashing out and proving them wrong or having a meaningful, connected, and safe relationship with them? Prioritizing your values (to have a meaningful and happy relationship) may assist you in calming down and honestly expressing your needs.

Building Emotional Stability is All About Learning to Embrace Change

Being emotionally stable means maintaining composure in the face of obstacles, changes, and transitions in life. It means embracing radical acceptance and learning how to come to terms with the facts of your life and accept yourself, other people, and life in its entirety, free of criticism, sorrow, and regret.

Source (1):  https://dictionary.apa.org/emotional-stability

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