Mood swings come at you from a million different angles. Angry about this, depressed about that, and anxious about everything; it gets exhausting. During menopause, mood swings come on stronger than you may have experienced in the past. If during regular premenstrual syndrome cycles you were able to get by, you may find what worked then is not alleviating your emotions now. Mere distraction is a common mode to deal with mood swings, but there are other necessary actions and choices that should be taken to protect your mental state during this transition.
Know the Triggers
Alcohol, sugar, and caffeine can make your body unstable. Though you get to feel good boost, the drop is more intensely dreadful causing overwhelming mood swings. Unaddressed stress and anxiety are another main cause of mood swings. When you let worries take over, they surely will.
Learn to Breathe
The best thing you can do is find a connection with your body, mind, and breath, instead of getting taken over. Let your worries dissolve through deep, slow breathing every day for 15 minutes. Close your eyes and bring love and light to unpleasant feelings. Next time anger enters, fully inhale and exhale the tension.
Move Your Body
If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, mood swings will likely be prolonged and worsened. When you move through activities like dancing, swimming, brisk walking, and yoga, your brain chemistry balances. Up to 40 minutes of cardio will release endorphins which make you feel uplifted, and a yoga session will release gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which profoundly calms you. All of these will reduce cortisol - a stress hormone that will often cause that uncontrollably panicky and paranoid feeling.
Drink Some Tea
Have a tea ritual. It may end up being your favorite and most peaceful part of your day. Black cohosh and red clover, for example, can restore lost estrogen and balance your hormone levels. Also, herbs like St. John's wort and kava can exude feelings of deep relaxation and fight off depression.
Talk to Loved Ones
Do not say no to an outing with family or friends just because of a bad mood. Staying at home alone will only make things worse. Spending quality time with others increases oxytocin levels, which is known to induce feelings of love, support, and belonging.
Hug a Tree
Okay, maybe not literally. However, spending time in nature and out in the sun is extremely beneficial for your emotional well-being. The natural colors and sounds in a park, nature trail, or beach are soothing in a way that nothing else is. Also, getting 20 minutes of sun exposure can raise vitamin D levels. This will release serotonin and make you feel joyful.
Knowing these survival tips, and utilizing them as needed, will make a world of difference when it comes to mood swings. A healthy body and calm mind is the best way to achieve victory over unpleasant emotions, so do not ignore them. Distraction, sweet foods, and hiding under your covers are not viable solutions. The above tips will empower you to overcome mood swings, anger, and frustration in a positive way.
- Grohol, J. (2007). All about Mood Swings. Retrieved February 11, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/all-about-mood-swings/000920
- National Institutes of Health. (2013). Kava. Retrieved February 11, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/872.html
- National Institutes of Health. (2012). St. John's wort. Retrieved February 11, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/329.html
- Smith, J. (2013). Five Surprising Ways Oxytocin Shapes Your Social Life. Retrieved February 11, 2014, from http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/five_ways_oxytocin_might_shape_your_social_life