What’s causing your mood swings?
Mood swings are rapid or extreme changes in mood that can be brought on by a variety of factors. Hormonal shifts, emotional distress or even our diets can all impact our mood and have the capacity to cause mood swings, as I discuss in my blog, ‘7 causes of mood swings’.
While it’s really important to understand where your mood swings are coming from, today I’m going to hone in more on how you can go about managing them once they manifest. These will include simple lifestyle changes, relaxation techniques and diet tips.
1. Practice relaxation techniques
Part of the problem with mood swings is that they can come on quite suddenly and it’s easy to get up caught up in the emotions that you’re feeling in that moment, whether it’s sadness, anger or anxiety. This can often lead us to lash out, act impulsively or overreact.
This is when it can become quite useful to practice a few basic relaxation techniques. These can help you to calm down and take a step back to look at your situation more objectively. Deep breathing, for example, is one tried-and-tested technique that can help you to de-stress quickly or, one particular method that has really taken off in recent years, is mindful meditation.
This practice not only helps to teach you some of the deep breathing techniques mentioned above, it also helps to change how you think and how you perceive your thoughts and emotions. Understandably, this can be very useful for managing mood swings and the best thing is that there are plenty of mindfulness apps that you can download for free, offering quick 5-10 minute sessions that you can easily incorporate into your routine.
Finally, if you’re really struggling to stay in control of your mood swings, you can always try our AvenaCalm tincture to help soothe your nervous system. Just make sure you don’t take this in addition to any other sleep or anxiety remedies or medications, including our Dormeasan sleep.
2. Improve your sleep patterns
Poor sleep can really take a toll on your mood, stimulating symptoms such as fatigue, poor concentration, grogginess and low mood. If you’re struggling to cope with sleep deprivation then you’re going to find that your mood fluctuates throughout the day – you might find you feel low one moment and extremely irritable the next. If you’re prone to stress or anxiety, then these symptoms may be intensified too!
So, what can you do to get into a good routine with your sleep? Well, as I mention in my blog, ‘How do I create a good sleep routine?’, consistency is key. Ideally, you should be going to bed and getting up at the same time every day. The hour before bed should be a winding down period too, devoted to more restful activities, such as having a bath, reading a good book or even writing in your journal.
Try to avoid bringing your devices to bed with you and, if you’re really struggling to nod off, you could try taking our Dormeasan Sleep tincture, which works to gently relax your nervous system, calming anxiety symptoms and helping you to achieve a deep, natural sleep rhythm.
3. Don’t ignore hormonal imbalances
Hormonal imbalances are one of the real main causes of mood swings, whether you’re in the grips of menopause, struggling with your menstrual cycle or trying to deal with fluctuating thyroid levels.
The really important thing here is that you don’t ignore or shrug off these imbalances! If PMS is really affecting your mood each month, don’t just tolerate it as part of your cycle – as our Women’s Health Advisor Emma discusses in her blog, ‘Understanding your hormonal imbalance’, there are ways of handling your hormones, whether you’re lacking in oestrogen or are oestrogen dominant.
In the case of the latter, Emma often recommends our Agnus castus remedy to gently lift your progesterone levels, helping to provide a balance with oestrogen.
On the other hand, if you’re menopausal then there’s a higher chance that low oestrogen is going to be your main imbalance and, thus, the source of your mood swings. Fortunately, our Menopause Expert Eileen has a plethora of information on menopause and mood swings over at A.Vogel Talks Menopause. We do also offer a natural menopause supplement, Menopause Support, which is rich in phytoestrogens to help rebalance your oestrogen levels.
Finally, it would be remiss of me not to mention your thyroid. If your thyroid isn’t producing enough hormones then this can often induce feelings of fatigue and low mood; but, if your thyroid levels are too high, conversely, this can also cause mood swings and feelings of restlessness and anxiety.
If you suspect that your mood swings could be related to your thyroid hormones, I would strongly recommend speaking to your doctor. They will be able to conduct a blood test to measure your thyroid hormone levels and offer advice about medication and treatment.
4. Exercise regularly
If you’re suffering from mood swings, exercising can actually be a good way of relieving the problem. This is because, when you exercise, it actually helps to boost your mood by encouraging the production of ‘happy hormones’ like endorphins.
When it comes to mood swings in particular, low impact forms of exercise such as swimming, yoga or tai chi, can be especially beneficial as these often promote some of the relaxation techniques that I mentioned earlier, such as deep breathing or mindfulness.
5. Get out in the fresh air
The only thing better than exercising regularly is doing so out in the fresh air! Spending time outdoors in the fresh air has been proven to help regulate our mood, as I discuss in my blog, ‘Forest bathing – how nature makes us happier’. Walking in forests and woodland areas has been found to reduce the physiological effects of stress, reducing cortisol and helping to relax our bodies.
Not only can getting in touch with nature help you to calm down, it also has the added benefit of raising your exposure to the sun, boosting your production of vitamin D. Vitamin D can help to stabilise your moods, as low levels of vitamin D are often associated with low mood, plus this vitamin may actually help to boost your energy levels, inhibiting fatigue.
6. Avoid alcohol (and other stimulants!)
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that, if you’re suffering from mood swings, introducing alcohol into the mix isn’t a good idea. In the short-term, alcohol may help to relax you, but, in the long-term, drinking alcohol can actually lower your levels of serotonin, a key neurotransmitter you need to help support your mood and sleep patterns.1
This, understandably, will have a profound impact on your mood and may actually encourage mood swings! It’s also worth noting here, too, that alcohol is just one stimulant that can have this effect – drinking caffeine, which is often deemed to be more socially acceptable, can also affect your mood.
Caffeine, in addition to disrupting your sleep patterns, again, can upset your mood. Initially, like alcohol, it may give you a temporary boost, even increasing your production of serotonin, but this boost is then followed by an inevitable crash, which can leave you feeling irritable and fatigued.
To add insult to injury, too, caffeine can actually prevent you from absorbing certain nutrients, such as magnesium, iron and vitamin C – all of which can be crucial for supporting healthy moods!
7. Eat a balanced diet
As I’ve mentioned before in my blog, ‘7 causes of mood swings’, in addition to hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies are a prime cause of mood swings. You need certain nutrients to help balance your moods, such as magnesium and vitamin D, and, if you’re not getting these, you may find that your mood and energy levels start to fluctuate.
It also doesn’t help that a diet rich in sugar can disturb your blood glucose levels too, which, in turn, can cause fatigue and irritability. Too much refined sugar can also alter the environment of your gut, increasing your population of unfriendly bacteria – this can be problematic as 90% of your serotonin is produced here!
So, in order to avoid these problems, ideally you should be focusing on eating a balanced diet that’s full of fresh fruit and veg, lean sources of protein, healthy fats and unrefined carbohydrates – A.Vogel Talks Food is a great place to take inspiration from, as there are plenty of food related blogs and healthy recipes to try.
Drinking plenty of plain water is also crucial too, as dehydration, again, is another major player when it comes to mood swings! Aim to drink at least 1.5-2 litres of water a day.
8. Talk to someone
Finally, if mood swings are an issue for you, it’s vital to communicate properly with those around you. When it comes to friendships and relationships, fluctuations in mood can often take a toll as these make you more prone to lashing out at your nearest and dearest.
Try to take the time to sit down with them and explain what you’re going through. Not only does this help to give them an idea of what is going on, it also prevents you from becoming isolated from those around you. Good communication may actually even help to improve your mood swings as your friends and loved ones may be able to work with you and develop ways of calming you down.