November 20, 2023
Moods are a strange and unpredictable phenomenon of life. They condition our life, our communications, our relationships and our activities. Children are the best examples of moods. Suddenly they assert and affirm: “I am not in a mood to eat now, play now, pray, go to bed, study etc.” Most of us are aware that that our bodies produce certain hormones which make our moods swing. But the answer to the question of moods swing is not so simple. Sometimes moods contribute towards our best performance and some other times moods lead us to inexplicable predicaments.
Let me present to you a concrete case that I encountered recently. An employee in an IT industry came to me for counselling. He had an unexpected conflict with his colleague resulting verbal abuses. He began feeling very irritable and angry with him and to calm down, started to increase his dose of daily peg and strange enough, got into the habit of telling lies which brought him into another problem of family relationships. His parents took him to a clinical psychologist with no positive improvements. Meanwhile challenges of life enhanced as his swings in moods multiplied, even turmoil started simmering in his marital relationships and so finally on recommendation he landed in my counselling centre and requested psychotherapy to rise up from the seemingly insurmountable plight of his.
We can ask why he got into that plight of swing in moods inviting all sorts of problems. But ‘the techie’ wanted only to come out of his predicament as he was displeased with himself since his attempts to manage his moods did not bear any results. He knew that he will be a totally different person if he can handle his moods. So it is worth devoting some of our time to discuss few aspects of our moods and get enlightened.
We need to know that swing in moods is primarily due to sudden change in our emotional condition. During a mood swing, an individual may quickly switch from feeling happy and cheerful to feeling sad, irritable or angry. For some people such changes can play a positive part in promoting problem solving and in producing flexible forward planning, like for example they spend more time in working harder or engages longer in a particular activity of their liking, and for others it can so happen that moods disrupt their activity and they may find difficult to focus on anything worthwhile.
When mood swings are severe, they may be classified as an aspect of mental illness, such as personality disorder, where erratic and disruptive mood swings like irritation, impatience, shouting, destroying whatever objects in the house and the like. At other level we find in such persons no consistency in behaviour, unfriendly in communication, too long periods of speechlessness, too egoistic, and intolerant. Such being the case, it is extremely difficult to understand such people and still more problematic to deal with them.
Mood swings can have biological causes especially in the growth process of adolescents. Significant hormonal shifts during puberty can affect moods. I have observed teens commonly experience increased irritability, intense sadness, and frequent frustration due to the chemical changes in the body. As they have poor impulse control due to variations in their brain, teens tend to express their emotions before being able to think about them or deal with them.
Why do we suffer from mood swings? Very often, the onset of mood swings are influenced by change in lifestyle. Sudden changes in moods are caused by significant variations in life situations, such as changing the job, demotion in status, enhancement of responsibilities, marital conflicts and unexpected and untimely deaths in the family.
The Consequences of Mood Swings:
1. Mood swings affect relationships: The person with mood swings might get upset or angry more easily or feel sad or anxious for no reason. This can make the persons close to him like his own spouse and children get frustrated and confused, as they find no means of dealing with the situation and how to respond to sudden variations in the moods of their loved one. Sometimes, it can even lead to arguments, hurt feelings and precarious situations.
2. Mood swings affect the emotional, and physical health: Mood swings eventually can lead to the deterioration physical health conditions, especially chronic or terminal illnesses. They can cause irregularities in women’s hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy and menopause.
3. Mood swings in children: It is normal for children or teens to have fluctuating moods often. Children are most prone to mood swings between the ages of 13 to 18. During this age, children manifesting grumpiness is very common. A child may swing from happiness to sadness to anger to exhaustion in minutes. Such children will lack focus and concentration in studies. Some will have headaches, refuse to work and/or sleep overtime. Others may act stubbornly, sulky and refuse to communicate; still others, may manifest lack of motivation, anger, find difficult to relate with friends and peers, feel fatigue and loss of energy.
4. Mood swings and depression. Depression is a type of mood disorder. It is one of causes for mood swings. Someone who is depressed invariably shows mood swings. Depressed persons feel sad and hopeless, bound to lose interest in things usually they enjoy, feel indisposed and lifeless in the morning.
5. Mood swings and bipolar disorder: A person who is having bipolar disorder can be feeling very happy at one moment and extremely depressed the next moment. People with bipolar disorder are also more likely to engage in impulsive, risky, or dangerous behaviour. They get upset for small little things. And it’s true that people with that condition have very often mood highs and lows.
6. :Mood swings and stress Both act like close collaborators. Due to mood swings, stressful situations may prop up at work, at home, or elsewhere. Chronic stress can lead to a number of health problems, and it may make you feel sad, angry, or bitter. The stress on its part can cause loss of sleep, which may intensify mood swings. This mutual collaboration can make life miserable.
7. Mood swings and menopause: When women start menopause, body produces far fewer hormones than it once did. That drop can cause any number of symptoms, including hot flashes, sleep problems, and mood swings.
8. Mood swings and thyroid issues: People who have an overactive thyroid make too much thyroid hormone. People with an underactive thyroid don’t make enough. Both can cause a number of health problems, including mood swings.
How can we manage Mood Swings:
Learning to manage mood swings is an art which needs regular practice and determination. I feel ‘Neuro Linguistic’ therapies can come to our aid if someone can tutor you properly. Meditation, yoga, visualization techniques, abstention from alcohol, caffeine or any mood-altering substances and the like can go a long way to lessen the mood swings. All these need regular and systematic guidance. Committing to regular exercise, staying socially engaged with friends and family are also equally important. Try to avoid isolation and stay in contact with a trusted friends or someone you trust and you will be able to stabilise your moods. Just 30 minutes of walk every day can help boost your mood and improve your health. As a conclusion, please know that protecting your mental health will also help you to take care of your physical health, to respond to your emotional and spiritual needs adequately and achieve balance in different areas of your life; hence strive diligently to create a healthy mind so that you can also have a healthy body.