It’s difficult to know how to control mood swings when you’re in the wrath of one. So it’s essential to understand the causes of mood swings, know your triggers, and practice your mood swing management plan. If you’re experiencing severe periods of ups and downs, it’s best that you speak to a doctor and therapist before diagnosing and treating yourself. First, ensure that there isn’t a medical issue or mood disorder responsible for the mood swings.
What is a Mood Swing?
A mood swing is a rapid and unaccountable change of mood. Or an emotional fluctuation of your emotions for an extended period of time. Mood swings are a normal part of life, and most people experience them. So it’s essential to recognize the difference between natural and rapid mood swings associated with mental illness.
What Causes Mood Swings?
Many factors cause people to experience mood swings, including stress, sleep deprivation, puberty, and too much sugar or caffeine. In addition, thyroid issues, pregnancy, and certain medications are responsible causes. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms include impulsivity and poor lack of control. These symptoms are responsible for mood swings.
Hormonal shifts significantly affect someone’s mood, and women are more likely to experience hormonal changes than men. So women have mood swings associated with Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
In addition, pregnancy and menopause involve hormonal changes responsible for mood swings. Therefore, learning how to control your mood swings is even more pertinent for women. Sigh.
Another reason people experience mood shifts is because of life events. For example, losing a loved one, being looked over for a promotion, or going through a divorce. Mood disorders appear to run in families and are possibly caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.
What is a Mood Disorder?
Mood disorders are a mental health condition class describing different types of depression and bipolar disorder. There are multiple mood disorders responsible for serious and rapid mood swings. Here are the statistics on diagnosed mental illness in the United States.
About 20% of the U.S. population reports at least one depressive symptom in a given month, and 12% report two or more in a year. A survey conducted in 1992 found rates of major depression reaching 5% in the previous 30 days, and 17% for a lifetime. Bipolar disorder is less common, occurring at a rate of 1% in the general population, but some believe the diagnosis is often overlooked because manic elation is too rarely reported as an illness.Mental Health America
An updated percentage is, “An estimated 21.4% of U.S. adults experience any mood disorder at some time in their lives.” NIH
Bipolar Disorder (BD): Also known as manic depression. Four types of bipolar disorder impart mood swings. Alternating between bouts of manic and depressive episodes are characteristics of this condition. Treatment of bipolar disorder requires lifelong treatments for managing mood swings and their conditions. In addition, people with bipolar disorder need mood stabilizers to assist with managing mood and emotional state.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD): People with borderline personality disorder often feel like they’re riding an emotional rollercoaster because this condition comes with dramatic mood changes. These intense mood shifts occur more frequently than with other mood disorders. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is the usual treatment plan for people with borderline personality disorder.
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD): Also known as clinical depression. A prolonged severe mood characterizes major depressive disorder. People with MDD experience constant sadness and existential feelings of dread. The symptoms of major depressive disorder include excessive sadness, depressive mood for long periods, feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and even suicidal thoughts. Symptoms of MDD last for at least two weeks. However, many people live with depression for months and even years.
Substance-Induced Mood Disorder: It’s a broad diagnosis including six substance use disorders (SUD), including opioid, alcohol, stimulant, marijuana, hallucinogen, and nicotine disorders. These substance use disorders occur after illicit drug abuse and prescription drug use and come with frequent mood shifts. People with substance abuse disorders often use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as a treatment option.
Dysthymia: It’s a serious disorder as common as major depression. Dysthymia runs in families suggesting a hereditary component. Three-quarters of patients with dysthymia also have a chronic physical illness or another psychiatric disorder.
Mood Disorders Related to Health Conditions: Are characterized as being co-occurring with physical illness or a medical condition. These medical illnesses include cancer, Alzheimer’s, chronic diseases, injuries, and infections.
Mood swings associated with mental health mood disorders require mental health treatment. So while you may benefit from natural ways to manage your mood swings, it’s crucial that you recognize that these disorders need mental health treatment to manage additional symptoms.
If you suspect you or a loved one has a mood disorder such as bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder, be honest with your doctor about the symptoms. Please don’t self-diagnose.
Finally, speaking to your doctor is taking the first step in learning how to control mood swings. Because the source of your mood swings first needs to be determined. After that, they can eliminate disease or a medical condition. Also, they will refer you to mental health services if required.
How To Control Mood Swings Naturally
One thing essential to understanding how to control your mood swings is that you’re more managing emotions than controlling them. So when your mood shifts, the first thing to do is take a deep breath. Breathing exercises decrease stress and help lower blood pressure. In addition, deep breathing improves energy, digestion, and immunity. Then, make some necessary lifestyle changes.
1. Getting Adequate Sleep
Ensuring you get adequate sleep is vital for overall health and wellness. To be well-rested, you should get at least 7-8 hours of sleep. To secure a good night’s sleep, implement a wake-up and bedtime and hold yourself accountable. So, make time to let your body rest and rejuvenate.
2. Following a Routine
Creating a routine that works for you is an excellent step toward supporting your mood. Without a schedule, chaos and disorder ensue, leading to irritability and bad mood changes. So what does an ideal routine look like for you? Be sure to include your primary responsibilities, meals, and self-care activities.
3. How To Control Mood Swings With Exercise
Exercising is a necessary activity for living a healthy life both physically and mentally. So make sure that you’re getting at least 30-minutes of exercise daily. But, of course, any physical activity is better than none if this is difficult initially. Exercising releases endorphins stimulated by the feel-good center in our brains.
Many people experience euphoric highs similar to morphine when exercising. While it’s commonly called a “runner’s high,” you can experience the same euphoria through aerobic exercise and weight-lifting. These endorphins are opiate-like substances released by your brain that stimulate the pleasure center and alleviate pain. It’s the most natural way to feel better and manage mood swings.
4. Vitamins and Supplements
Did you know that multiple vitamins and supplements are a natural way to support mood swings? Dr. Amy Myers supports several mood supplements, including B-Vitamins, Vitamin D, Magnesium, Calcium, and Omega-3s. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to mood and heart health.
Omega-3 fatty acids are emerging as an effective therapy for mood disorders ranging from major depression and postpartum depression to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.Sari Harrar, Today’s Dietitian
Omega-3 fatty acids are in salmon, mackerel, oysters, and herring. For a less fishy alternative, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseed are fantastic sources of Omega-3s.
5. Eating a Proper Diet
Poor dietary choices create nutrition-related mood swings. So make healthier food choices at mealtime. Eating more nutritious foods is the best way to get natural vitamins and minerals.
Vitamins and minerals get thrown together, but they are quite different. Vitamins are organic substances produced by plants or animals. They often are called “essential” because they are not synthesized in the body (except for vitamin D) and therefore must come from food.Harvard Health
These foods include whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, and legumes. Eating a healthy diet full of nutrient-dense foods will help with mood swings. In addition, avoid processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and sugar. These are the biggest culprits of nutrient-related mood disorders and those nasty mood swings.
6. Receiving Therapy
You don’t have to have a mood disorder to experience the benefits of professional therapy because seeking guidance to navigate past trauma, or current life events is a healthy decision. However, if your doctor recommends mental health services, follow their advice. In addition, there are in-person and online therapy services for your convenience and comfort.
So learn new coping skills and behavioral therapy, and devise a treatment plan for effectively managing triggers of your mental health condition.
7. Keeping a Clean and Clutter-Free Environment
Clutter is a mood killer and can lead to anxiety, stress, and depression. All conditions are responsible for causing mood swings. So keeping a clean space is essential for mood support.
8. How To Control Mood Swings by Journaling
Keeping a journal is an excellent way to acknowledge and healthily process emotions. Several journaling styles exist for your preferred healing, including mood, gratitude, guided prompts, and prayer journaling. Alternatives to traditional journals include art and nature journals. These are ideal for artistic beings looking for how to control mood swings.
The benefits of journaling include stress reduction, anxiety relief, and coping with depression. In addition, journaling prioritizes your wants, needs, fears, goals, and concerns. Also, discover patterns of negative behaviors and thoughts so that you focus on replacing them with positive self-talk and positive behaviors.
Use a mood journal to track daily symptoms so that you recognize your triggers and implement your mood management techniques. Or use mental health and personal development journal to track mood, meditation, and self-care.
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9. Working on Emotional Health
Working on your emotional health is an excellent sign that you’ll successfully manage triggers and make the necessary lifestyle changes to achieve emotional health. For example, managing frequent mood swings will keep you off the emotional roller coaster and maintain healthier relationships.
10. How To Control Mood Swings with Spiritual Practices
Do you have a relationship with a higher power or connect with the universe in some spiritual way? If so, your mood would be affected by your lack of practice or faith. Many people use yoga and meditation practices and benefit from mood support. Both techniques involve focused breathing and being mindful of the present time. Chanting is another spiritual practice that positively influences your mood.
A 2016 study found that chanting “om” for 10 minutes has a positive effect on mood and social cognition. Further research found the chant to provide calm and peace to a stressed mind, helping reduce symptoms of social anxiety.Healthline
Discover how to control mood swings with spiritual practices through trial and error until you find your spiritual practice. Mindfulness is another focused practice; some people with mood disorders benefit from Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Also, self-guided positive visualization techniques benefit people with milder depressive symptoms.
How To Control Mood Swings Summary
Mood swings are normal and part of many people’s lives. So understanding how to control mood swings and manage emotions is imperative for emotional health. In addition, making lifestyle changes is vital to knowing how to control mood swings. However, some mood swings result from a mood disorder or side-effect of some illnesses, including Alzheimer’s disease, allergies, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
So it’s essential to see a doctor and eliminate a potential health condition. Also, your doctor will refer you to mental health specialists if you suspect a mood disorder that requires further treatment, such as bipolar disorder.
A mental health professional can diagnose a personality disorder and teach you the coping skills and behavioral therapy necessary to manage mood swings. So you can achieve a positive emotional state and get off the roller coaster. Don’t neglect your mental health care.
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Elizabeth Ervin is the owner of Sober Healing. She is a freelance writer passionate about opioid recovery and has celebrated breaking free since 09-27-2013. She advocates for mental health awareness and encourages others to embrace healing, recovery, and spirituality.