Mood swings may or may not be a symptom or a prelude to more serious mental disorders. However, regardless of whether they are temporary or long-lasting, mild or severe, they always worsen the quality of life to some extent. So called mood swings are nothing else than stormy, changeable emotional states occurring in us frequently and abruptly, for example, a sudden influx of grief and black thoughts, and then a burst of enthusiasm and joy.
Mood swings not infrequently also take the form of a tendency to fall into negative emotional states – when suddenly, often even without any reason, in place of a stable psychological well-being, depression, despondency, pessimism, and even lack of desire to live…
Table of contents
- 1 They disorganise life, disturb the peace of mind – acute mood swings
- 2 Mood swings – causes of the problem
- 3 Mood swings – how to deal with them and get back to the emotional balance?
- 3.1 Learn self-observation, “seeing” your thoughts and behaviors
- 3.2 Learn to catch and suppress unhelpful thoughts and negative emotions
- 3.3 Focus on yourself, do something for yourself
- 3.4 Take care of good psychophysical condition, avoid overwork, pressure and stress.
- 3.5 Take care of your healthy lifestyle
- 3.6 Reach for appropriate dietary supplements
They disorganise life, disturb the peace of mind – acute mood swings
Almost all of us experience mood swings from time to time. If they occur sporadically and do not disturb our lives in any way, this situation can be considered normal and harmless. However, if frequent mood swings have any consequences, for example, they spoil our relations with relatives, cause problems at work or lead us to neglect some duties, we should take a closer look at them and start fighting against them.
How do mood swings usually manifest themselves? Weepiness, sadness without a reason, darkness, despondency, which can quickly transform into enthusiasm, happiness, cheerfulness, euphoria… Or deep peace, calmness, which suddenly, even for a trivial reason, transforms into strong agitation, great anger, nervousness, aggressiveness…
In general, any abrupt change from one extreme emotion to another extreme emot ion can be considered a mood disorder. Depressive states, which are more and more frequently observed in society, are also such disorders. They are manifested by a tendency to fall into melancholy, sadness and apathy as well as domination of negative thoughts over positive ones and easy falling into the trap of such feelings as: lack of joy from life, lack of sense of life, inner emptiness.
Main symptoms of mood disorders
- frequent and quick switching from one strong emotion to another, extremely different strong emotions,
- suddenly appearing (even without a clear reason) and lasting for some time depressive state, despondency, depression, discouragement,
- a tendency to cry and so called getting down, falling into strong emotions inadequate to the situation,
- outbursts of anger,
- sleep disturbances,
- frequent lack of humor,
- lack of sense of purpose,
- lack of self-esteem,
- the conviction that no one understands us,
- frequent falling into a maze of pessimistic thoughts, and even suicidal thoughts.
Intense mood swings are accompanied by emotional instability and difficulty in controlling and taming these emotions.
Sometimes we are even fully dominated by our emotions, we subordinate our thoughts and behaviour to them and we lose our rational view of reality. Usually we are somehow aware of our problems and we know that there is something wrong with our emotions. Our changing moods irritate us, disturb our daily functioning, but at the same time we are not able to do anything about it. We are not able to tame and resolve them.
How can we help ourselves? How to combat mood disorders and return to inner harmony? Certainly it is worth to start by identifying the cause of our troubles.
Mood swings – causes of the problem
Mooddisorders and emotional lability are very common nowadays. They can be caused by various factors of physical (e.g. hormonal disorders, lack of sleep), psychological (dysregulated neurotransmitter economy) or environmental (excessive environmental pressure) nature. Proper identification of the cause of the problem is a prelude to its effective elimination. Having realized what factors contribute to the fact that our emotions and mood are not balanced, but unstable and changeable, we can begin to use specific methods to neutralize these factors.
The most common causes of mood swings and emotional lability
- hormonal disorders (e.g. during pregnancy, after childbirth, during puberty, at menopause, before menstruation),
- disturbances in the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain (e.g. dopamine, serotonin),
- drug use,
- taking certain medications,
- abuse of stimulants (such as alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, ephedrine),
- head injuries,
- certain diseases (e.g. dementia, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis, subdural haematoma, atherosclerosis, epilepsy, diabetes, hypothyroidism and other thyroid diseases),
- mental health disorders, including mental illnesses (e.g. bipolar disorder, depression and its milder form – dysthymia, ADHD, neurosis, borderline personality, schizophrenia, cyclothymia),
- traumatic experiences, psychological trauma,
- unhealthy lifestyle (bad diet, lack of physical activity, too little time spent outdoors, too little sleep, excess of stimulants),
- exhaustion, excessive duties, too much pressure from the environment,
- chronic stress.
Mood swings – how to deal with them and get back to the emotional balance?
The first step to get rid of mood swings is to become aware of the problem and find its cause. If your mood swings are the result of an illness, hormonal ailment or a more serious mental disorder, it is best to consult a doctor. However, in other cases, for example, if frequent mood changes are caused by excessive stress, nervous exhaustion or unhealthy lifestyle, it is enough to implement a few tips to feel a significant improvement in mental condition.
The following steps will help us to regain inner harmony:
Learn self-observation, “seeing” your thoughts and behaviors
A very useful tool for regaining mental balance and getting rid of persistent mood swings is self-observation, that is, the ability to look at oneself from above, from the position of someone else, as if an anonymous, external observer. This technique will allow us to begin to notice our emotions, thoughts and behaviors, control them and change them for the better.
Learn to catch and suppress unhelpful thoughts and negative emotions
People who are prone to sudden mood changes and extreme emotions are not able to nip unnecessary feelings and thoughts in the bud. As a consequence, the emotion gradually spreads its wings, and its owner becomes more and more entangled in it. Reason disappears from the horizon, nervous tension increases, crying, sadness, racing thoughts, rage and other negative states come to the fore…
If we learn to recognize the negative feelings in time (observing ourselves, with time we will begin to notice that here some factor has influenced us negatively and that we are just beginning to feel irritation, grief or fear), realize them and extinguish them, we will begin to have control over our sphere of emotions. In this way, we will make our lives more harmonious and peaceful.
Focus on yourself, do something for yourself
Emotional instability and mood swings often occur in people who have low self-esteem and are more focused on the lives of others than on themselves. In this case, it’s worth changing your focus 180 degrees. Start focusing on yourself and your personal development, start doing something in life that makes you happy and brings you a feeling of life fulfillment. When we start to act in this way, immediately our mood will improve, self-esteem and self-confidence will increase, emotions will stabilize, and vacillation will give way to internal balance.
Take care of good psychophysical condition, avoid overwork, pressure and stress.
Overwork is the enemy of good mental condition and stable, good mood. If we do not sleep long enough, overwork, under-eat, take on too many tasks and responsibilities, our body cannot regenerate well, it is insufficiently nourished, and falls into a state of increasing exhaustion. The consequences include poor brain function, increased nervousness, increased susceptibility to stress and more frequent and more intense exposure to negative emotions.
In regaining a good mental condition will help us to get adequate rest every day, sleep hygiene, a healthy diet, reduce the number of duties or share them with other household members so that everything does not rest on our shoulders only. Relaxation techniques (e.g. breathing exercises, meditation, mindfulness) can also be very beneficial.
We should also take a look at our work to see if it brings us too much negative emotional load, doesn’t stress us too much, doesn’t put us under enormous pressure, doesn’t finish us off mentally. If this is the case, we should think about changing our job or company, because prolonged stress and pressure can be very destructive for us.
Take care of your healthy lifestyle
Seemingly unrelated to mood swings, factors such as nutrition and exercise can have a big impact on how our emotional state is. B vitamins, minerals such as magnesium, potassium, zinc, amino acids (such as tryptophan, tyrosine), affect the nervous system, take care of proper work of mind and good, normalized mood.
Therefore, we should take care of a balanced, free from junk food, healthy diet, in which a particularly important place should be given to such products as: vegetables, fruit, fish, lean meat, lean dairy, eggs, cereal products, nuts, grains.
In order to balance emotions and regain psychological well-being, it is also worth betting on regular physical activity. As a result of exertion happy hormones are produced in our body, we feel more satisfied, relaxed, distanced from problems, stressed. What is important, if we want to get rid of mood disorders, it is worth limiting stimulants such as coffee or alcohol. They are stimulating and their excess may upset the nervous system.
Reach for appropriate dietary supplements
Adaptogens and plant nootropics, such as gotu kola, Bacopa monnieri, ashwagandha, saffron, some amino acids (e.g. L-theanine, tryptophan) and minerals such as magnesium, zinc, have a beneficial effect on the nervous system. They affect neurotransmitters, and thus regulate our mood, combat depressive states, relieve tension, anxiety, and fear, and build a protective barrier against stress and promote emotional stability. The use of such preparations can be very helpful in the process of regaining mental balance and normalizing mood.
The best effectiveness is demonstrated by multicomponent, high-quality compositions such as:
Stress reducer and mood regulator in one
Guardian of perfect brain function