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Reasons you may be behaving in ways you can’t explain

Sometimes, we can feel a bunch of emotions, but at the same time, struggle to make out what they are, or why they are making us feel and behave differently from normal.

It can feel strange, scary, uncomfortable, or weird, and now that you’re here, you’re looking for the reasons why.

First of all – it’s normal to have feelings you can’t explain or act in ways that seem out of your control. This is especially true when you are younger – you’re going through a lot of changes physically and emotionally, so it’s to be expected!

Here’s some possible reasons why you may be feeling off or behaving in ways that feel strange:

Being tired

We know you’re not a baby or a little kid – but you’re still doing a lot of growing! Our energy levels make a big difference to how we’re feeling, so if you’ve been staying up late, or not getting good sleep, that can make you feel a bit off.

Illustration of a cat lying on the ground
Illustration of a cat eating food

Being hungry

Food is what gives us energy. Just like when you don’t have enough sleep, when you’re hungry, you lose energy and may feel down, tired and moody.


When you feel stressed about something – even if that something isn’t related to other stuff in your life – those feelings can still creep into other moments. When it does, you can find yourself thinking and acting in ways that seem different to the way you usually would, e.g. feeling quiet or sad when hanging out with your friends.

Illustration of a cat looking confused
Illustration of a cat thinking

Processing changes in your life

Has a major event happened recently? See if you can pinpoint what might be triggering you.
Maybe something big happened at home? A friendship’s changed? Did something happen with a teacher or have your grades slipped at school? Things like that can cloud your thinking and emotions and start impacting other moments.

You want to impress others

When you’re young, it’s normal to want to act in ways that you think will make you seem cool or get others’ attention. That’s all good – but just make sure you are acting and behaving in ways that aren’t hurting other people or damaging places or things; that’s when it can become a problem and get you in trouble.

Illustration of a cat wearing a tie and looking in the mirror
Illustration of a cat bored


Acting out of character can feel exciting and new – exactly what we want to feel when we’re bored. But ask yourself, ‘are there better, more productive ways to bust my boredom?’.

Exploring boundaries

During our tween and teen years, we’re wired to figure out who we are and how we want to behave in life. It’s normal to be rebellious and engage in risk-taking behaviors that let you test family, social, and personal boundaries. Sometimes, this is because you’re feeling peer pressured. Remember – pushing the boundaries comes with risks and consequences, so make smart choices.

Illustration of a cat exploring boundaries

There’s a whole heap of other reasons you may be feeling or acting off, and the best thing to do when you’re feeling this way is to open up to someone older who you can trust.

If you don’t feel comfortable speaking with someone in your family or at your school, try speaking to the friendly counsellor at Kids Helpline. Not sure what to expect? Check out this article. They are professionals and will listen to the things that are weighing on your mind. Otherwise, take a look at our support page to find other places you can get help!