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Inward Emotional Turbulence – The Storm That Rages Inside You

Inward Emotional Turbulence – The Storm That Rages Inside You

Do you sometimes feel like a calm ocean, and in the next moment, crashing waves of emotional conflicts disrupt your inner peace? This emotional state of feeling okay in one moment and overwhelmed and stressed in the next is referred to as ‘inward emotional turbulence.’ In this article, CARE explores the biological and psychological mechanisms behind inward emotional turbulence and equips you with tools and knowledge to optimize your mental health, nurture your emotional intelligence, and restore your inner peace.

Blog Author Elena Health Coach at CARE
Elena Iagovitina

Health Coach

Published in Mental Health
10 min read · Mar 20, 2024

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What Is Inward Emotional Turbulence?

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Inward emotional turbulences refer to someone experiencing strong and fluctuating feelings of stress, frustration, irritation, or anger towards certain people or situations.

The peculiarity of inward emotional turbulence is that in one moment, you might feel calm and okay. In the next moment, a storm of disruptive emotions rages inside you and throws you off your game. [1]

Are you not quite sure if you experience inward emotional turbulence? We will now give you some examples of what an inward emotional turbulence can look like.

Examples of Inward Emotional Turbulence

Example 1: The Unfair Colleague

Yesterday morning, you received unfair feedback and critique from a colleague, which irritated and angered you. In the evening, you calmed down and decided to put it behind you and to be the bigger person. This morning, you woke up, felt all that anger again, and fought a battle with said colleague in your head. You get riled up “inside” and feel distressed all over again.

Example 2: The Unfulfilling Relationship

You are in a relationship that often leaves you sad and stressed rather than fulfilled and happy. Even though you experience some pleasant moments with your partner, the worries, difficulties, and lack of contentment leave you stressed frequently. You feel emotionally vulnerable and sensitive in general.

Example 3: Dancing at Two Weddings

A Yiddish proverb says, ‘You can’t dance at two weddings, nor can you sit on two horses with one behind.’ Even though this quote is somewhat true, it is not meant literally. It transports the message that multiple responsibilities over time will become overwhelming and damaging to our well-being and emotional state.

What Are the Symptoms of Inward Emotional Turbulence?

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1. Alternating Waves of Emotional Disturbance

If you feel calm or “ok” one moment but overwhelmed or stressed the next, this is a typical symptom of inward emotional turbulence. Emotions naturally fluctuate. [2]

So, what is the difference between a normal occurring negative emotion and an emotional turbulence?

When the feeling of a negative emotional state becomes very intense and is frequently triggered in the same intensity by the stimuli or just thinking about the stimuli, this can be described as emotional turbulence.

2. Disproportionate Emotions

If you experience excessive feelings of stress, irritation, or fear toward certain people or situations, this qualifies as a symptom of inward emotional turbulence.

Maybe you know that the proportion of your emotion is not suitable to the extent of the issue, yet you still feel that intensely.

3. Feeling Emotionally Vulnerable and Sensitive

Do you feel on edge or more sensitive than usual in general?

Inward emotional turbulence often stems from prolonged periods of stress that leave us vulnerable and more sensitive than usual. [3]

4. Loss of Control

Do you feel like you are “not in charge” of your life?

If you experience inward emotional turbulence, you not only feel overwhelmed by your emotions but also like you lose control over several aspects of your life in general, and decision-making can become stressful.

5. Your Emotions Have the Upper Hand

Are you worried about your negative emotions and how they might affect the people close to you?

We have all snapped at someone at one point in our lives when we were stressed or on edge. Your feelings of anger, turbulent emotions, or emotional distress can affect your family and friends or even your job. [4]

Now that you clearly understand what inward emotional turbulence looks and feels like and how its symptoms manifest, we will explore the scientific mechanisms behind those emotional waves that compromise your everyday life.

What Causes Emotional Turbulence?

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Inward emotional turbulence is caused by your emotions, which are complex psychological states that combine your subjective experience, physiological response, and behavioral or expressive patterns, often triggered by thoughts or external stimuli. [5]

These emotions evolve into emotional turbulence if you lack the proper tools and techniques to cope with them.

The thoughts or external stimuli that cause emotional turbulence are most typically internal conflicts, unresolved issues, or emotional stress. [6] This can lead you to experience feelings of anxiety, unrest, or emotional distress due to the struggle to reconcile these internal struggles with your external reality.

But what exactly causes those emotions and conflicts?

Numerous circumstances can cause emotional turbulence and consequently affect your mental well-being.

Lack of Tools and Skills to Deal With Emotions

In a nutshell, your inward emotional turbulence can be set off by numerous reasons, situations, stressors, or people. But the one thing that really is the cause for your emotional turbulence is a lack of tools and coping mechanisms to deal with negative emotions which allows the turbulence to form in the first place. At the end of this article, CARE introduces you to coping mechanisms to deal with inward emotional turbulence.

Personal Relationships

We can’t choose our family, and not everyone is lucky enough to grow up surrounded by loving and embracing family members. Generational trauma, narcissistic family members, or abusive parents can lead to difficult times that shape our emotional experience, how we respond to spending time with our family, and how we get stressed. [7]

If one or several members of your family upset you or make you feel uneasy, this can lead to inward emotional turbulence. Even when you spend time with your loved ones, and there are no grave problems between you, you can still experience stress when you have spent or will spend time with them due to generational differences or conflicts from the past.

Additionally, any other social contact that you might have with colleagues or even a stranger on the street can set off negative emotions. The same goes for romantic relationships.

A Demanding Career

Do you have a demanding career and maybe even people who depend on you and your income?

Naturally, this can be a stressful situation at times, and your loved ones cannot always relate to your stress levels and your point of view. Feeling overwhelmed by juggling work, personal relationships, and other responsibilities can be overwhelming and lead to stress and emotional turbulence.

Your Lifestyle

Several aspects of your lifestyle can affect your emotional well-being. Are you a busy bee and struggling to relax and take some time for yourself?

A busy calendar can quickly lead to emotional upset if you do not allow your brain to cool off and get some rest. Furthermore, social media has been proven to be detrimental to our mental health. Plan for off-screen time and establish time limits for certain apps that otherwise make you procrastinate or leave you feeling exhausted or depressed. [8]

Your Personality

Each human being is different, and experiences stress and emotions uniquely. [5] Every person possesses individual thresholds for managing stress or enduring high-pressure situations, with varying points at which they may feel overwhelmed.

This variation does not imply that some people are inherently stronger or others weaker; it merely reflects the diversity in our reactions to challenging circumstances.

Experiencing emotional turbulence is a natural human response, and you should never feel shame or self-judgment for your feelings. It's important to acknowledge and accept your emotions as a part of your personality. Be aware of your limits and make time to cope with stress in a healthy way.

You might ask yourself now, what is a healthy way to cope with stress or emotional turbulence?

How Do I Deal With Inward Emotional Turbulence?

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Self-Acceptance

Self-acceptance plays a pivotal role in navigating the often tumultuous waters of inward emotional turbulence. Scientific research underscores the significance of embracing your entire spectrum of emotions, both positive and negative, as a cornerstone of your mental health. When you practice self-acceptance, you acknowledge your emotions without judgment, allowing you to process and understand them more deeply. This understanding is crucial, as psychologists have found that people who accept their emotional states tend to experience less negative emotion in response to stress. Moreover, self-acceptance fosters resilience, equipping you to handle future emotional turbulence better. [9]

By embracing your emotions as an integral part of your being, you cultivate a healthier, more compassionate relationship with yourself. This inner harmony alleviates your current emotional distress and lays a foundation to thrive even in the face of life's inevitable ups and downs.

Self-Compassion

Self-compassion can be a transformative tool in your journey through emotional turbulence, treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer to a good friend. This approach recognizes that suffering and imperfection are universal parts of the human experience. Practicing self-compassion leads to lower levels of anxiety, depression, and stress, as it involves non-judgmental acceptance of your emotional states. [10]

By cultivating self-compassion, you create a nurturing space within yourself, facilitating emotional healing and growth and building resilience to recover more quickly from setbacks. This practice is key to achieving emotional balance and well-being, anchoring you in a supportive and understanding relationship with yourself.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is a vital asset in navigating the complexities of your emotional turbulences. It involves the ability to recognize, understand, and manage your emotions, as well as the emotions of others.

By developing emotional intelligence, you become more adept at interpreting and responding to your emotional experiences, leading to healthier and more effective coping strategies. Emotional intelligence helps you in managing stress and reducing anxiety but also improves communication and relationships, fostering a deeper understanding and empathy. Improving your EQ can even influence your academic or professional success. [11]

Cultivating emotional intelligence equips you with the tools to maintain emotional balance, enhance self-awareness, and navigate life's challenges with greater resilience and clarity. We recommend the book ‘‘Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves’’ if you wish to train your emotional intelligence. The doctors Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves are the cofounders of TalentSmart®, a global think tank that consults numerous Fortune 500 companies on EQ.

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Mindfulness Meditation & Deep Breathing

Mindfulness meditation techniques offer a profound approach to handling emotional turbulence by guiding you to be fully present, observing your thoughts and emotions without judgment. The practice teaches you to witness your inner experiences as they unfold, fostering a deeper sense of understanding and acceptance. Engaging in mindfulness meditation and including deep breathing techniques can significantly enhance your ability to remain composed during stressful situations, effectively reducing anxiety and promoting emotional well-being. [12]

Beyond short-term relief, this technique is a valuable tool for building long-term resilience, equipping you with the clarity and tranquility needed to navigate life's challenges with greater ease and composure.

Professional Help

If you're facing severe emotional turbulence and other methods haven't brought the relief you need, seeking professional help can be a crucial and impactful step.

In such situations, the guidance of a trained therapist or counselor becomes invaluable. They provide a supportive and understanding environment where complex and intense emotions can be safely explored and addressed. This approach is tailored to your specific needs, offering effective strategies and coping mechanisms that go beyond immediate relief, contributing to your long-term mental well-being and resilience.

Remember, turning to professional help is a sign of strength and a proactive step towards regaining balance and control over your emotional health.

Tackle Your Emotional Turbulence With CARE

Did you know that your blood can reveal how stressed you are? A membership with CARE can be a strategic approach to managing your emotional turbulence, offering benefits like regular health check-ups and blood analysis.

As one of the top-notch preventive healthcare providers in Switzerland, our services can reveal how emotional stress impacts your physical health, as certain biomarkers in your blood can reflect your stress levels, hormonal imbalances, or other related health issues.

Additionally, access to one of our health coaches allows for personalized advice and support, integrating both physical and emotional health strategies to optimize your overall health and mental well-being.

List of References

Blog Author Elena Health Coach at CARE

Elena Iagovitina

Health Coach at CARE Zurich

About the author

Elena is an enthusiastic Health Coach and blog writer at CARE, with a passion for holistic medicine and health. Previously, Elena worked for almost five years as a coach leading retreats, workshops, and seminars. These included mind-body therapy: breath work, meditation, and massage; as well as energy force therapy: reiki, and qi gong; and third expressive therapy: movement, writing and support groups. Elena shares exciting articles on the blog, on the topic of where the alternative and traditional medicine intersect with Western Medicine. Elena is also the driving force behind the CARE community. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, traveling to remote locations and dancing. You might also see her on the lake of Zurich as a coast guard. Join her on her journey to learn more about health and discover the world of preventive medicine! Visit all articles written by Elena!