Emotion - It can come out of the blue

Have you ever woken up one day with a feeling of inexplicable sadness, depression or anxiety, where you feel weighed down physically and mentally and find it’s a struggle to get going? You might also feel vulnerable and tearful.

Whilst there could be physiological reasons for your mood, there could also be a psychological explanation. It is possible that something in your recent life may have triggered memory of a past event that was distressing, making some of these feelings more present for you. We know from research and study that human beings cope with stressful experiences by burying them deeply inside. In this way we release ourselves from the distress of painful memories that would otherwise prevent us from functioning on a daily basis. It’s as if we put our difficult memories away in a cupboard that is out of reach behind a locked door.

A simple trigger can quickly change your mood

A song, a place, words or a look for example, can trigger memory of some past event and a person may not realise what has happened but they will experience a shift in mood. This could happen at any time during the day or you could wake up with a feeling after a night of dreaming.

When this type of emotional shift happens it can be very confusing. There will be awareness within a person that some change has happened but in many cases there won’t be an obvious link to the source. A person may hold a sense of a “lurking” feeling that they’d like to get away from and return to the positive mindset they had more recently. Maybe this is resonating with you a little? If you can remember a time recently when you felt unexpectedly “out of sorts” like this, reflect for a moment on how this might have affected your day….can you remember what you did or didn’t do on this day?…how you felt or thought about yourself, someone else or something?

With self-awareness, you can start to take control

Sitting with uncomfortable feelings can lead people to distract themselves and, if taken to extremes, this can lead to harm through gambling, drinking, drugs, obsessive eating, smoking or sex, for example.

Talking with a therapist can increase awareness of how triggers might affect your mood and help you to find healthy ways of supporting yourself.