What Are Emotional Hangovers And How You Can Beat Them?

What Are Emotional Hangovers And How You Can Beat Them?
Sergio De Dios González

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Sergio De Dios González.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

The question we have to ask is, can we avoid them? The truth is, we can’t. Emotional hangovers are deeply intense states that come from unexpected emotional experiences. They can even influence our memory of earlier events and cause physical symptoms. These range from headaches and back pain to fatigue.

Emotional hangovers are unavoidable

Although we’d like to have control over everything around us, that’s impossible. Things happen unexpectedly. It might be getting laid off, the death of a family member, an unplanned pregnancy, a serious diagnosis, or a financial crisis…

All this will produce very intense emotions that might develop into various states. Some of these are: depression, anxiety, and even panic attacks. 

emotional hangovers are just as real

These unexpected and extremely intense emotions will cause a major hangover. Most of the time we’re not conscious of it, actually. But one way or another it affects our thoughts, focus, and memory.

The traces of emotional hangovers will linger in our bodies and our moods. They’re an example of how everything we experience has repercussions far beyond when they first happen.

Now then, just like ordinary hangovers, emotional hangovers do end. But we might do the opposite of minimizing them. We’ll just feed them if we continually subject ourselves to situations that wear us out emotionally. We may be feeding them if we refuse to leave our comfort zone. Victimization is a good example of a permanent emotional hangover.

How can we minimize the impact of emotional hangovers?

Why might an emotional hangover last? When we have a hangover, we feel bad. And, when we feel bad, everything around us turns dark and negative. So it’s like when we’re depressed, and then suddenly we stop seeing the work in color and switch to black and white.

As we’ve seen, emotional hangovers can make us feel sad, depressed, or anxious. This will flow into our perception of reality. It’s important to be conscious of how an intense experience can affect us and create discomfort.

a woman with roses on her eyes

These emotional hangovers last anywhere from a few hours to a day or more. It all depends on the person. It depends on their ability to confront it. And also on their willingness to move forward through the whirlwind they find themselves in.

That’s why it’s very important for us to learn how to keep calm when we find ourselves on the edge of the abyss. Avoid making any important decisions during the hangover, if you don’t want to regret it later. If you do make them, your work might go down the drain or you might miss a big opportunity.

So being aware of our emotional hangovers will be of the utmost importance. That way we can postpone making any life-changing decisions.

fall leaves in a row, of different colors

Finally, we want to make it clear that emotional hangovers are something we all experience at some point. They are happening more and more with the sped-up pace of our daily lives. But we can follow their trails. We can observe how the situations that cause the intense emotions influence our decisions and experiences later on.

Taking a breath and giving ourselves time will help us disconnect from the outside world and connect with ourselves. These things will all help us get over these hangovers that can be so very painful.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.