It’s happened a million times before. You’re walking along, feeling just fine, when suddenly an interaction with a friend or a stranger, or even an idle thought, leads you into what feels like a pit of despair. Or maybe you’re happily hanging out with friends, and an innocent comment leads you to feel enraged. If you’re frequently finding yourself dealing with mood swings that are difficult to control, then it’s time to take action.
What is a mood swing?
If you’ve ever felt angry or frustrated within moments of feeling happy or elated, you may have experienced a mood swing. These sudden and dramatic shifts in emotion may seem as if they come on for no reason. However, there are a few common causes that may be responsible.
What causes mood swings?
PMS is a group of symptoms that occur in women one to two weeks before a period. In addition to mood swings, PMS can cause fatigue, changes in appetite, depression, bloating, and more. The majority of women 90% experience some PMS-like symptoms before their periods. The severity of these symptoms may change from month to month. They may get worse or improve with age.
Stress and worry impact your body and health in a variety of unhealthy ways. One such area can be your mood. Frustrations, worry, and a constant state of stress can lead to mood swings, along with other psychological issues.
Estrogen may play a role in PMS-related mood swings, but other hormones can affect mood, too.Hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, is a common hormone disorder. It can affect mood and cause other symptoms.
Puberty is a time of emotional, physical, and psychological changes in a child’s life. Mood swings and unexplained emotional reactions can be common during this phase of life.
Changes in hormone levels during pregnancy can lead to swings in emotions and mood. Plus, pregnant women often experience physical changes and emotional stress that can make issues like mood swings and emotional outpourings more severe.
Another major transition in life,menopause, is associated with a period of mood swings and rapid emotional shifts, too. As levels of estrogen fall, many women experience a variety of symptoms, including mood swings, hot flashes, insomnia, and reduced sex drive. Some doctors will provide perimenopausal women with hormone replacement drugs to help the ease into the low-estrogen phase of life.
How to treat mood swings
Avoid overgeneralizing negative outcomes.
Overgeneralizing is another way that you may lead yourself into a bad mood. Maybe you had a bad interaction on a date or with a co-worker. So what? You may think this means that you’ll never find love or that you’re going to be fired, but you shouldn’t let this one situation or conversation make you feel like it’s indicative or determinant of other trends in your life. This kind of generalizing is bound to make you moody and upset, but there is a way to counteract it.
Learn to laugh at yourself.
One of the most important things you can do to control your mood swings is to learn to take a step back and laugh at yourself. People who are prone to mood swings often take themselves pretty seriously, which makes it difficult to be able to poke fun at yourself, make a joke at your own expense, or even be able to laugh at a debacle you’ve found yourself in. But if you want to control your mood swings, then you have to be able to sit back and sometimes laugh, instead of letting every little thing that life throws at you get you riled up.
Get regular exercise
Moving and exercising are great for your physical and mental health. They can also help you treat or avoid mood swings. When you exercise, your body produces feel-good hormones and endorphins that can help alleviate stress and boost mood. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 days per week.
Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and sugar
These stimulants and depressants can alter your natural state, making mood swings worse or causing them in the first place. Sure, caffeine can make you feel less fatigued, but it can also exacerbate anxiety and nervousness.
Alcohol is a depressant that can worsen bad moods or make you behave irrationally. Sugary foods, while delicious, can cause swings and shifts in your blood sugar level. These fluctuations may cause mood swings and other symptoms. Cut back as much as you can on all three foods in order to maintain stable moods.
Change your diet
Eating large meals three times per day may be traditional, but eating smaller meals may be better for mood stability. That’s because blood sugar shifts following large meals may contribute to emotional shifts and mood swings. Smaller meals, divided throughout the day, may help stabilize your blood sugar to keep these rapid mood swings at bay.
Practice stress management
Stress and anxiety can make symptoms of several conditions, including PMS, worse. If you’re worried, taxed, or otherwise strained, learning to manage the stress can help you avoid complications, including mood swings. Meditation, deep breathing, and yoga are all proven to help manage stress. Massage therapy or talk therapy may also be highly beneficial.
Get better sleep
A good night’s sleep can cure a lot of ills, including irritability and mood swings. Aim for seven to eight hours per night. If that seems too daunting, try to add just 30 extra minutes by turning in half an hour earlier than you normally would. When you’ve managed that, try adding 30 minutes more. The additional shut-eye will add up in healthy, beneficial ways.
Go for a walk.
Going for a walk has been proven to help people beat a bout of bad moods.Just going on a 30-minute walk and getting some fresh air can help you relieve stress, decrease your risk for cardiovascular disease, strokes, obesity and even some types of cancer.
Keep a journal.
Keeping a journal can help you keep track of your moods and to think about how you can avoid getting upset or overly emotional in certain situations. You can write about your day and even mention when you were feeling happy and when you were feeling upset, anxious, frustrated, or another emotion to better understand the patterns of your moods. You may find that you tend to get moody in the evenings, or when you find yourself around certain people. Keeping track of what you’re thinking and feeling can lead you to be more aware of your moods and to control them better.
Find a calming routine.
Everyone does something different to get to his or her “calm place.” You should experiment and find what works for you. Some people just need to take a walk to clear their minds. Other people love sitting back with a warm cup of peppermint or chamomile tea. Some like to listen to jazz or classical music or to spend a few minutes with their beloved dog or cat. Find whatever makes you feel the calmest and the most in control of your emotions, and find a way to go to your “happy place” whenever you’re in one of your moods.