What I've learned from this Hey everyone,

I am back for my next and final round of research in this cycle! This week I am going to look at some exciting stuff, like:

  • How we lessen the impacts of emotional outbursts, and why they happen
    • What causes individuals to overload and snap at others, and what makes people cry
  • How a mindset impacts productivity, and why procrastination is so popular (what makes it popular)


What did I cover in my previous rounds? (click on the red text to read them)

Round 1: what is a mindset, different kinds of mindsets, healthy vs unhealthy mindsets, how much our mindsets matter

Round 2: can we change mindsets (intentionally vs unintentionally), how does self-awareness impact ability to change, how do mindsets change with maturity

Round 3: emotions, our control over them, how mindsets impact perception

Nice Now let's get down to this week's research


When someone cannot control their emotions (temporarily or constantly), they respond in ways often perceived as disruptive or inappropriate. Temporary spats of emotional control lack can be related to small things that don't directly imply any kind of mental health issue, like a drop in blood sugar. However, individuals who face the inability to control their emotions on a daily basis may carry a chronic condition of sort.  (1,3)

Symptoms associated with a lack of emotional control include but are not limited to: (1,3)

  • feeling overwhelmed, afraid of, or helpless in the face of your emotions
  • being unable to understand the emotions you're experiencing and why you're experiencing them
  • using substances to hide or numb emotions


Related image (9)

Children often have a lack of emotional control initially but will develop it as they age and mature. However, some children (with medical conditions like autism, adjustment disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) do not develop the same emotional control. There are a variety of conditions associated with a lack of emotional control, and some of them are things you may not anticipate. For example, a head injury, diabetes, PMS, or different forms of depression can impact your ability to control emotional outbreaks. (1) Specifically, chronic anger and anger management issues can even be the cause of other mental disorders such as anxiety. (3) 

Image result for person getting angry (11)

Anger management issues are on a different level from emotional lack of control. Individuals facing anger management struggles definitely do not necessarily imply chronic illnesses; anger issues are often caused from an individual's environment and are often more prevalent in people who's parents have difficulty controlling anger, too. Genetics, also, impact how people deal with anger (if someone's brain doesn't react in a typical manner to serotonin, they may struggle to control their anger more). There are a number of physical and emotional symptoms of anger-related issues, such as (physical) tingling, headaches, and fatigue and (emotional) constant anxiety, stress, and irritability. (3)

Peter Bregman, author of assorted books about changing poor habits, says that to handle emotional outbursts (maybe your own that you feel coming on or the outbursts of another), you need to be a mirror; reflect what they are saying back to them to get to the root of the problem. If someone has an angry outburst about how maybe you like someone more than you like them, reflect what they say back at you. If they say "I hate you because you're nicer to them for no reason", say "I'm sorry that you feel that I prefer them over you." This may allow the person to express their reasoning behind the statement, and it perhaps will show insight into why they're responding the way they are. (2)

To use ADHD specifically to demonstrate how the brain struggles with controlling emotions, individuals with ADHD4)

  • Have significantly greater excitability, quicker temper, and lower frustration tolerance
  • Sometimes face difficulty where an emotion floods the brain, sometimes even with the individual being unaware of others' emotions
  • Are more sensitive to disapproval (are more likely to have an outburst of self-defense at the slightest criticism)
  • Are more likely to struggle with social anxiety
  • Will (instead of suffering from minimal awareness of important emotions) be caught up in behaviour patterns to avoid things that seem overwhelming (e.g. deadlines, scary social interactions)
  • Face greater difficulty/be unable to deal rationally with stressful situations and will make big deals out of small things
  • Feel sad, low energy, and low self-esteem
  • Have difficulty engaging in tasks that provide long-term goals over instant short-term ones
  • Struggle with inadequate memory

Almost all of these directly relate to emotional control and decisions-making.

What I've learned from this research is that emotional control does not definitely result from a chronic illness of sorts, but it most definitely can. Anger management (less likely to stem from some sort of deeper illness) is quite serious, and can lead to greater, long-term 'side effects' like anxiety or depression. Sometimes we cannot blame individuals for their emotional control or lack thereof, for it's something that they (as the name would suggest) cannot control. We should reflect whatever they are trying to get across back to them to get to the heart of what they are feeling: often we unleash anger when we are experiencing other environmental issues.

Now, it's all over but the crying! (fun fact: women cry in a year, on average, five times more than men will - (5) )

Image result for crying (10) 

The lacrimal glands are the glands that, sat between the eyeball and eyelid, produce tears. The tear, after being produced, will either drain down the lacrimal punctum/sacs and then drain down your nose, or overwhelm the drainage system and flood own your eyelids or cheeks. However, not all tears are created equally: there are basal, reflex, and psychic/emotional tears. (5,6)
Basal tears: nourish and lubricate the eye, daily tears (5,6)
Reflex tears: wash out irritants from the eye (5,6)
Psychic/emotional tears: response to extreme feelings, sadness, stress, joy; have more protein-based hormones than other tears; used to cleanse body of chemical side effects of built-up emotions; carry a natural painkiller (5,6,8)

But what causes the link between emotions and tears? Inside your brain, a neurotransmitter controls and can stimulate tear production. Thus, intense emotional reactions trigger the nervous system which triggers the tear production.  However, crying doesn't just mean tears, though, it actually produces an onslaught of other reactions, such as increased heart rate, sweating, slowing of breathing, or a lump in one's throat (the globus sensation) due to a "fight or flight" activation in response to emotional/psychic tear-production. (5)

In terms of happy crying, some psychologists believe we respond to overwhelmingly positive sensations with overwhelmingly negative ones to balance out and quickly bounce back from overpowering emotions. The reverse (negative emotions provoking positive reactions) may be true, as well. For example, people laugh when nervous or confronted with terror/unmanageable situations, and some people will even smile during times of utmost sadness. (7) Inversely, Oraina R. Arag√≥n says that negative expressions during positive experiences can intensify and heighten the experience of happiness. Crying when sad makes you feel better, so crying when happy makes you feel even happier. (12) Differently, Jordan Gaines Lewis argues that your hypothalamus, which receives neural signals from the registrant of emotional reactions, cannot distinguish between different powerful emotions (e.g. happiness, stress, sadness). Hence why people cry on their wedding. She says our autonomic ("involuntary") nervous system is divided into two: sympathetic (which mobilizes "fight or flight" in times of stress), and parasympathetic ("rest and digest", calms us down). An even older theory (from Miceli and Castelfranchi)poses that maybe emotional crying branches from a feeling of helplessness and inability to control happenings around oneself. (8,12)

Image result for crying happy(12) 

What I've learned from this minimal research on crying is that humans know how we cry, what produces crying, and some things that trigger crying. We also can (sort of) conclude that crying results from strong emotions, which cannot directly be distinguished in the brain. Crying makes us feel better, and maybe it heightens good experiences (making us feel even better!) or maybe it makes us calm down a little (making us feel more stable). 


(1) - https://www.healthline.com/sym...-to-control-emotions
(2) - https://www.psychologytoday.co...-emotional-outbursts
(3) - https://www.psychguides.com/gu...-causes-and-effects/
(4) - https://www.additudemag.com/sl...ng-intense-feelings/
(5) - https://www.independent.co.uk/...f-tears-9741287.html
(6) - https://www.vsp.com/tear.html
(7) - https://www.telegraph.co.uk/ne...ry-tears-of-joy.html 
(8) - https://www.psychologytoday.co...-cry-when-were-happy
(9) - http://crossofhope.com/2016/06...-3-crying-in-public/
(10) - https://www.thecut.com/2016/06...women-on-crying.html
(11) - https://www.chaostrophic.com/a...etting-really-angry/
(12) - https://www.rd.com/health/wellness/happy-tears/

Next week I will be tying this research all together with a little metamorphosis. However, this is the last round of information-finding I will be doing on this topic. I have really enjoyed digging a little deeper into psychology and our minds, and I hope you guys enjoyed reading what I found.

See you all next week, and thank you for reading

Original Post

Hi Joanna! 

I was really intrigued on reading this because it gave me a scientific explanation to a lot of emotional aspects that people tend to have, such as anger. For example, I learned that that anger management can be linked to genetics and how we choose to deal with this emotion. Overall, this round of research and all your others have been amazing, and I'm glad I got to read about it! I think it'll be really interesting if you continue your next inquiry topic in the focus of emotion and health, because it's obvious you're really passionate about it! 

Good job 

Hey Joanna, 

Great research round on the deep reasoning behind peoples emotional outbursts and crying. I feel like this research round was very eyeopening and relatable in certain ways. The amount of time, effort and passion you put into every round you post on Butterfly Effect is quite amazing. Perhaps if you did continue with this topic again in the future, you could look into specific mindsets such as a social mindset or a lazy one and explain the different types of moods a person could be put in. I think it could be really interesting to see the different mindsets and which ones we fit into! Heres a link on different mindsets and I look forward to your metamorphosis. 


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