How to control mood swings

If your family, friends and co-workers have been driving you nuts lately, and you feel as if you're losing your mind, you may suffer from mood swings. Mood swings have the uncanny ability to make you feel totally out of control and hypersensitive to every feeling, touch, look and word. As frustrating as this may be, the good news is that you're not alone. According to the American Medical Association, more than 75% of women experience some emotional distress between the onset of menstruation and the culmination of menopause. Symptoms of mood swings include irritability, depression, fatigue and insomnia. Mood swings are caused by a hormonal imbalance and the effect the reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone have on serotonin levels in the brain. They disrupt the ability to think clearly, process information and react well to stress. Treatment has traditionally been focused on reducing the roller coaster-type symptoms with narcotic drugs such as lithium and valium. But new understanding about the cause of mood swings has led to more natural therapies centered on botanical enhancements, diet and exercise. The New Herbs
Serotonin is the brain chemical responsible for modulating mood. If serotonin levels are high, so are our moods. If levels are low, mood drops.

Yoga breathing exercises lower blood pressure. Meditation exercises can leave your mind clearer and better equipped to respond to changing brain chemistry. A good massage is always welcome, especially when you may be feeling stressed. While the connection between relaxation and hormone levels is not proven, maintaining a calm perspective or having calming strategies in your arsenal does give your body additional tools to handle mood swings when they do arise. Pieces of the Puzzle

Just as no two women are alike, no two treatments for mood swings should be alike. Likewise, relying on standard drug therapies without examining the underlying causes of an individual’s mood swings is more likely to fail than a focused effort addressing diet, exercise and hormonal balance. If you suffer from mood swings or simply find your emotions running up and down like the turn of the tide, first consider your overall hormonal balance based on the cycle of your life. If you need more estrogen, consider phytoestrogens found in plants and herbs. If you need to boost serotonin, make regular vitamins and minerals a part of your daily routine and watch what you eat. Lastly, take time for yourself on a regular basis, making your mood swings a thing of the past.

This article was co-authored by Allison Broennimann, PhD. Dr. Allison Broennimann is a licensed Clinical Psychologist with a private practice based in the San Francisco Bay Area providing psychotherapy and neuropsychology services. With over a decade of experience, Dr. Broennimann specializes in in-depth psychotherapy to provide solution-focused treatments for anxiety, depression, relationship problems, grief, adjustment problems, traumatic stress, and phase-of-life transitions. And as part of her neuropsychology practice, she integrates depth psychotherapy and cognitive rehabilitation for those recovering after traumatic brain injury. Dr. Broennimann holds a BA in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an MS and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Palo Alto University. She is licensed by the California Board of Psychology and is a member of the American Psychological Association.

There are 35 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status.

This article has been viewed 249,490 times.

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.

How to control mood swings

Controlling mood swings can be a sign of intelligence and even quality of life. We can often have days when everything seems perfect, and then suddenly a certain situation or thought causes it all to change. What can we do when this happens?

Alfred Adler, the father of individual psychology, said that “we have to interpret a bad mood as a sign of inferiority“. If we believe this is true then it is clear that being able to control these changes, especially when they are negative ones, is vital for our well-being.

What is a change of mood?

A mood swing is a change in our current state of mind. We experience emotional ups and downs that affect us in different ways in a short period of time.

These mood swings can send us from a state of satisfaction right through to anguish or nervousness, or even vice versa. If this becomes something habitual, it can cause emotional instability that could interfere in a person’s social, personal and work life.

These changes are due to different factors, such as hormonal changes during menopause or menstruation. However, it is not something that can only be applied to women. There also other triggers, such as adolescence, or personality or eating disorders, among other things.

Keys to control mood swings

Now that we know what they are, we need to know how to control these mood swings. It isn’t always easy, especially if they are caused by psychological disorders. However, if we can learn to handle them effectively, this can result in considerable benefits in our day-to-day lives, and in our social well-being.

Establishment of routines

What makes you feel good? What helps you relax? Find out what makes you feel better, and create your own routine. For example, music, going for a walk, chatting with friends. Identify the activities that relax you and always try to have a space in your diary for them.

Distancing ourselves

Sometimes we are aware that a certain situation is changing our mood, but we can’t escape from it. However, it is essential to know how to keep things at a distance. This gives us a far greater control over our lives. In some cases, it can give us the necessary fresh air for certain emotions to disperse.

In this way, and when the time comes, we’ll be able to keep our distance before the events are triggered. We’ll be able to anticipate our emotional reaction. For example, an argument that we know won’t finish well…do you actually need to get involved in it?

Think first, and then speak

An Arabic proverb says that “if what you’re going to say is not more beautiful than silence, don’t say it“. It doesn’t mean you can never, or hardly ever, speak, but it touch teach us to think before saying anything. It is also important for our communication to have substance and to be positive.

That’s why it’s smart to think, analyze, select the words you want to say and how you’re going to say them. Once you’ve done that, let them flow through your lips (or even your fingers if you’re writing them).

“Our bad moods make us lesser people.”

-Doménico Cieri Estrada-

The importance of a good rest routine

Fatigue often triggers our bad moods, and our mood changes. Sometimes, when we are exhausted, both mentally and physically, our mood flags and this causes us emotional instability.

It’s not always possible to rest, but, if you’re able to, then a little relaxation at all levels is very beneficial. This helps us to renew our ideas, reject our negative emotions and avoid distractions which can change our moods.

Physical exercise

Physical exercise raises the level of dopamine in the blood. It secretes a neurotransmitter which is capable of improving our mood. Thirty minutes of sports per day is a great help when it comes to regulating our emotions and helping us to think positively.

Writing

Many great writers say that writing relaxes them. Writing about feelings is also a very good idea and very therapeutic. It will help us analyze what causes our mood swings and prevent them happening in the future.

Think about why your mood changes

Sometimes it is always the same things that send us into a bad mood. It may be the time of year, our personal situation or certain people. A good analysis will allow us to identify the causes and improve our ability to manage them.

If you still cannot control your mood swings, maybe you should consult an expert about your problems. Sometimes, our bad moods may be hiding a much more serious problem that needs to be addressed.

“Not without an immense sadness, she had to admit that the constant presence of her elderly mother irritated her.”

-Magda Szabo-

How to control mood swings

Mood swings are characterized by a drastic change in emotion from one side of the spectrum to the other.

For example, if at one moment you are freely going about your day, and the next moment you’re suddenly upset, irritated or hostile – then you may suffer from mood swings.

Mood swings affect both men and women, and can even lead to disruptions in relationships, careers and even physical health.

What Causes Mood Swings?

Mood swings can be caused by a host of varying factors.

For example, spending too much time at work and being away from your family for extended periods of time, can lead to mood swings.

A lack of sleep, eating an unhealthy diet and excessive use of drugs and alcohol can also cause drastic changes in your emotions.

However, when the underlying cause is addressed, mood swings usually dissipate.

Do Hormones Affect Behavior?

How to control mood swings

Teens and Hormones

Teens experience changes in their hormones during puberty. These evolving hormone systems can wreak havoc on a young person’s brain and cause a change in their behavior.

Women and Hormones

Women experience mood swings twice as often as men due to circumstances related to their gender such as premenstrual problems, pregnancy and menopause.

Other Causes of Mood Swings

In addition to hormones, psychological factors like past mental illness, stress, past trauma, relationship problems and coping with new changes can cause changes in both men and women’s moods. Behavioral factors, like smoking, binge drinking, eating a poor diet, a lack of exercise, and health factors, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, lupus and thyroid disease can also impact changes in men and women’s moods.

How To Reduce Mood Swings’ Symptoms?

By following these four steps, you can ease the strains caused by mood swings.

How to control mood swings

1. Purge The Bad

Try and identify the moods you experience on a daily basis. Be aware of any negative thought patterns and write them down in a notebook.

Also, begin taking inventory of what currently isn’t working in your life – troubling relationships, health concerns or financial struggles. Write all those down.

To release the emotional tension this may cause, take the pieces of paper with all of the negative patterns and things not working in your life and burn them. As the paper burns, allow the negativity to disintegrate with it as well.

How to control mood swings

2. Take A Moment To Chill

When you feel your mood begin to change, take a moment to pause, breathe deeply and focus. Center your attention on something in the present, such as the sound of your breathing or the feeling of the wind on your skin.

By focusing your attention on something sensory you can take your mind away from negative thoughts and feelings.

If you feel overpowered during a mood swing and tend to lose rationality, sit down afterward and really think about what happened. Examine the event that changed your mood in relation to your reaction, and come up with a positive way of reacting to the same situation.

How to control mood swings

3. Seek Balance

Begin to assess all aspects of your lifestyle and address where you can improve.

  • Can you get more exercise?
  • Can you get more sleep?
  • Can you eat a balanced diet?

Addressing unhealthy habits can positively impact your mood because you are in control. Nothing can stand in your way.

How to control mood swings

4. Switch It Up

Find other ways to deal with stress, anger and anxiety. Sometimes the solution is simple like reading a book while listening to classical music, or trying yoga.

Take that improv class you’ve always threatened to attend.

The important thing is making sure that you’re making a change for the better and forgetting about whatever stressors are getting you down.

When To Seek Help?

Even if your constant changes in behavior is due to expected hormonal changes – there is no need to suffer. Treatment options are available to help you regain stability.

If this is the case, talk to your physician or seek support through a professional counselor. There are many forms of therapy that can help if mood swings begin to overwhelm you.

How to control mood swings

Mood swings are characterized by a drastic change in emotion from one side of the spectrum to the other.

For example, if at one moment you are freely going about your day, and the next moment you’re suddenly upset, irritated or hostile – then you may suffer from mood swings.

Mood swings affect both men and women, and can even lead to disruptions in relationships, careers and even physical health.

What Causes Mood Swings?

Mood swings can be caused by a host of varying factors.

For example, spending too much time at work and being away from your family for extended periods of time, can lead to mood swings.

A lack of sleep, eating an unhealthy diet and excessive use of drugs and alcohol can also cause drastic changes in your emotions.

However, when the underlying cause is addressed, mood swings usually dissipate.

Do Hormones Affect Behavior?

How to control mood swings

Teens and Hormones

Teens experience changes in their hormones during puberty. These evolving hormone systems can wreak havoc on a young person’s brain and cause a change in their behavior.

Women and Hormones

Women experience mood swings twice as often as men due to circumstances related to their gender such as premenstrual problems, pregnancy and menopause.

Other Causes of Mood Swings

In addition to hormones, psychological factors like past mental illness, stress, past trauma, relationship problems and coping with new changes can cause changes in both men and women’s moods. Behavioral factors, like smoking, binge drinking, eating a poor diet, a lack of exercise, and health factors, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, lupus and thyroid disease can also impact changes in men and women’s moods.

How To Reduce Mood Swings’ Symptoms?

By following these four steps, you can ease the strains caused by mood swings.

How to control mood swings

1. Purge The Bad

Try and identify the moods you experience on a daily basis. Be aware of any negative thought patterns and write them down in a notebook.

Also, begin taking inventory of what currently isn’t working in your life – troubling relationships, health concerns or financial struggles. Write all those down.

To release the emotional tension this may cause, take the pieces of paper with all of the negative patterns and things not working in your life and burn them. As the paper burns, allow the negativity to disintegrate with it as well.

How to control mood swings

2. Take A Moment To Chill

When you feel your mood begin to change, take a moment to pause, breathe deeply and focus. Center your attention on something in the present, such as the sound of your breathing or the feeling of the wind on your skin.

By focusing your attention on something sensory you can take your mind away from negative thoughts and feelings.

If you feel overpowered during a mood swing and tend to lose rationality, sit down afterward and really think about what happened. Examine the event that changed your mood in relation to your reaction, and come up with a positive way of reacting to the same situation.

How to control mood swings

3. Seek Balance

Begin to assess all aspects of your lifestyle and address where you can improve.

  • Can you get more exercise?
  • Can you get more sleep?
  • Can you eat a balanced diet?

Addressing unhealthy habits can positively impact your mood because you are in control. Nothing can stand in your way.

How to control mood swings

4. Switch It Up

Find other ways to deal with stress, anger and anxiety. Sometimes the solution is simple like reading a book while listening to classical music, or trying yoga.

Take that improv class you’ve always threatened to attend.

The important thing is making sure that you’re making a change for the better and forgetting about whatever stressors are getting you down.

When To Seek Help?

Even if your constant changes in behavior is due to expected hormonal changes – there is no need to suffer. Treatment options are available to help you regain stability.

If this is the case, talk to your physician or seek support through a professional counselor. There are many forms of therapy that can help if mood swings begin to overwhelm you.

Ann-Louise T. Lockhart, PsyD, ABPP, is a board-certified pediatric psychologist, parent coach, author, speaker, and owner of A New Day Pediatric Psychology, PLLC.

JGI / Jamie Grill / Blend Images

Teens are new to the surge of emotions that come with changing hormones during puberty. Dealing with the mood swings can be overwhelming and some teens handle it better than others. As a parent, the challenge is knowing how you can help your teen control their emotions and teach them to work through the roller coaster in a healthy way.

Overview

Luckily, adults can relate to these ups and downs. We’ve all been there and made it through one mood swing after another. It didn’t stop when we were teens, either. Even adults take steps to prevent emotional flare-ups caused by hormones. That is why there is medication for PMS. Women deal with mood swings throughout their life and teenage girls are just getting started.

Boys are not immune either. Their bodies are also changing and hormones will affect their mood as well. There is even a hormone that calms adults but causes teens to feel stress and that one has no gender bias.   Mood swings are a natural part of growing up and here are a few tips you can help your teen work through them.

Recognize What Is Happening

Do not be too busy that you aren’t looking at the situation correctly and instead go directly into ‘discipline mode.’ Know that it is not just your child misbehaving or acting out, this is normal for teenagers. It isn’t easy to deal with bad or sad feelings when you can’t figure out what is wrong. This is new for them and they haven’t learned how to recognize or deal with these emotions.

Talk About It

Encourage your teen to identify these new feelings. Help your teenager recognize the signs of their bad moods, so they know what is happening. Point out that if they don't know why they're sad or angry, it's okay and the feeling will pass. Let them know that they are not alone, this happens to most people.

Teach Coping Skills

Everyone needs to learn how to cope with emotions. Over the years, we learn what triggers our anger or sadness and figure out ways to control that so we can function. Teens don't know how to do that yet, it is something they need to learn.

When the situation is calm, role play through a few scenarios. Show them how to count back from 10 until they calm down or the positive effects that going for a walk or listening to music can have. Model these healthy behaviors when you are in a bad mood. It is not only good for your own health but is an example for your teen.

Support a Healthy Lifestyle

The most basic elements of a healthy life can do a lot for improving everyone's mood. You can create a happier family by supporting healthy habits in your home.

    and choose appropriate behavior.
  • Encourage healthy eating habits.
  • Make sure everyone gets enough rest.

Find a Healthy Distraction

Encourage your teen to take preventative steps through creativity or an activity that interests them. Distractions are great for taking your teen’s mind off their sadness and stress. Hobbies are a perfect way to keep your teen’s mood on an even keel. It will teach them more coping skills and resilience and channel that negative energy into something positive. Anything can become a hobby and it may be something they enjoy for a lifetime.

Give Them Space

There are times in life when we all need a little space and your teen’s mood swings are the perfect example. If they need a good cry or to pace around the room, give them the privacy to do it. Offer comfort and let your teen know you are there if they need to talk.

How to control mood swings

This year was nothing but a roller coaster ride, and there’s no denying that everyone has been through a lot mentally. These events have not only left a deep impact, but have also caused several mental health issues. From feeling cranky to suffering from uncontrollable mood swings, these things have become so common.

Are you someone who has been suffering from mood swings lately? If yes, then understand that while mood swings are very common, they can indicate several other serious factors such as a depressive or personality disorder. While the latter needs medical intervention, if you feel that it’s just a common mood swing, then these six tips will help you tame your mood swings quickly!

1. Indulge in skincare

Skincare is the time that you completely devote to yourself, taking care of what is actually yours. Not only is it a very relaxing activity but focusing on yourself can help you put an end to the mood swing cycle. A study published in the Asian Journal of Beauty & Cosmetology also found that a dedicated skincare routine can help you boost confidence. This will further improve your self-esteem, and overall happiness.

2. Sniff lavender oil

The aroma of lavender oil is something that can lift your mood instantly. The aroma works like magic on your mood. According to a study published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand, people who sniffed lavender oil experienced relaxation and lower stress levels. So, sniffing on some lavender oil can definitely help you with mood swings!

How to control mood swings

Improve your mood with the aroma of lavender oil. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Try scribbling

A 2017 study has shown that scribbling can significantly help to reduce depression, anxiety and stress. So, if your mood changes drastically, then there are high chances that you are stressed, so maybe try scribbling anything that you feel like on a piece of paper.

4. Go for a walk

Whoever said that a good walk can do wonders to your mind wasn’t wrong. Going for a walk will give you the time for self-introspection, and can help boost your self-esteem, mood and the quality of your sleep.

5. Visualization techniques

Following visualization techniques can help you come out of the dark puddle that you might be in. When you visualize all the positive and good things, you become more confident in yourself. It further gives you hope and energizes you. Positive visualization can give you a positive outlook about the situation, thus helping you handle your mood better.

6. Sing your heart out

Whether you are a bathroom singer or no singer at all, if you are facing the issue of mood swings you gotta try singing. Don’t care about the lyrics or the scale, just sing your heart out and trust us, you’ll feel better.

A study by Victoria University also found that singing can very well help in decreasing the symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression. And when it does wonders to your mental health, then it can also help you uplift your mood!

alt=”Shreya Gupta” width=”50″ height=”50″ /> Shreya Gupta

Finding nirvana in good food, Shreya also loves reading books and is a die-hard Potterhead. Confident and motivated she’s fun to be with. Plus food. Always.

With a single click, you can sign up and save anything and everything you’d like to read later. So, sign in RN to get your daily dose of wellness.

How to control mood swings

Mood swings, or rapid changes in one's emotional state, may occur as a reaction to circumstances or environment, as a result of a physical or mental health condition, or for no apparent reason. General moodiness is likely to be a part of everyone's life, but in some circumstances, changes in mood may be severe and have an effect on health and daily function.

When rapid or frequent mood shifts seem to occur without a cause or when they affect one's behavior, well-being, or typical function, the support of a therapist or other mental health professional may be helpful.

What Causes Mood Swings?

Exactly what causes mood swings is not known. It is believed a person's moods might result from chemical reactions in the brain. Thus, rapid mood shifts may be the result of chemical imbalances. Mood might also be affected by sleep, diet, medication, and other lifestyle factors, and shifts in these may affect the stability of a person's mood.

Individuals facing changes or difficulties in life may be more likely to experience sudden, unexplained changes in mood. For example, many teenagers may find themselves experiencing frequent and varied mood swings. Issues regarding identity, self-image, and acceptance may contribute to these emotional changes. A person who is under a significant amount of stress might also have a greater chance of experiencing mood swings. When a person experiences high levels of stress, even a small negative occurrence might lead to abrupt shifts in mood.

A number of medical and psychiatric conditions may lead to mood swings:

Find a Therapist

Mood swings can often be treated. When they are not treated, they may contribute to suicidal ideation, thoughts of self-harm, risky behavior, or have other negative effects on health and well-being.

Managing Mood Swings

Mood swings can sometimes be managed with the following strategies:

  • Tracking moods can help facilitate a greater understanding of shifts and changes in emotions. Keeping written track of and journaling about moods may help some individuals notice patterns in mood shifts as well as potential triggers that might affect mood.
  • Exercise produces endorphins, which are hormones that help control stress and improve mood. Even moderate exercise can help relieve frequent or abrupt changes in mood.
  • Maintaining a schedule can be helpful. Doing things at the same time every day can help regulate emotional highs and lows.
  • Sleep can help improve mood. Sleep deprivation, which can affect appetite and energy level, can also contribute to sadness, irritability, and general lowness of mood.
  • Nutrition is considered to be a vital component to mood management. Getting enough nutrients and avoiding the consumption of large amounts of sugar, alcohol, and caffeine may help reduce the frequency of mood swings.

Because mood swings may have a significant impact on health and well-being, especially when the cause goes untreated, the support of a mental health professional may be recommended.

Therapy for Mood Swings

Conditions associated with mood disturbances, such as bipolar and depression, can have a debilitating effect, and therapy can often help individuals who are coping with mood swings. Because mood swings occur as a symptom of an underlying condition and are not a diagnosable condition, a mental health professional will help the person in therapy explore any potential causes. In therapy, an individual can also develop methods to gain control over sudden shifts in mood. Once this is accomplished—often through techniques such as journaling, meditation, mindfulness, or breathing exercises—it may be easier to address the underlying issues.

A therapist can often help a person identify whether mood swings occur as the result of a mental health condition or as a symptom of some other type of concern. Whether mood swings occur as a result of some type of mental or emotional distress or are particular to a certain situation, therapy can often assist in the process of identifying the causes of highs and lows as well as situations that may cause one’s mood to fluctuate. Therapy can also help people develop coping strategies to deal with stressors as they arise. In therapy, one might also be able to learn to become better able to focus on the present moment with a general goal of learning how to constructively manage moods and maintain a healthy emotional balance.

Mood Swings and Psychological Disorders

Although the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) contained a section on Mood Disorders, the fifth edition, DSM-5, has been updated to include separate sections on Bipolar Disorders and Depressive Disorders—conditions that are often indicated by mood swings. While clinical depression may often be indicated by a persistent low mood, in some cases, mood fluctuations may also indicate this condition. Euphoric moods, moods that bring about feelings of invincibility or grandiosity, and moods that lead to impulsive behavior or keep a person awake for days might all indicate a manic episode, such as those seen with bipolar. When one’s mood cycles rapidly from low to high and back again, bipolar may also be indicated.

The Mood Disorder section in the DSM-IV described major depression, dysthymia, postpartum depression, and bipolar, among others. In the current edition of the DSM, the section on Bipolar and Related Disorders includes bipolar I and II, cyclothymia, substance/medication-induced bipolar, bipolar related to another medical condition, and specified and unspecified bipolar or related disorder. The section on Depressive Disorders now includes disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, persistent depressive disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder, in addition to the other types of depression previously included in the DSM-IV.

A primary goal of therapy is to treat and resolve mood issues without medication whenever possible. Some individuals, however, find that a combination of medication and therapy is most effective at preventing severe mood fluctuations from having a significant negative impact on daily life and function. Conditions such as bipolar, for example, may often be treated with a combination of medication and therapy.