Mood swings can happen to everyone, presenting as a noticeable shift in emotional states. This is a natural part of life, and the emotions are supposed to be different depending on a wide variety of conditions. You can expect to feel very different when enjoying a sunny afternoon on the beach with a friend than you would after the sixth hour of studying on a rainy day.
Small and even large mood swings are a key part of everyday life and can be caused by a wide variety of factors. For example, body rhythms play a large role in the way individuals feel at different times of the day and even different times of the year.
At high noon, energy levels are high and the emotions can be euphoric and upbeat. Later the same day, when the sun goes down and the day’s effort has taken its toll on the body, emotions can drop to a lower register which can be experienced as lethargy.
The important thing to understand is that there is nothing wrong with experiencing these emotional shifts, and sometimes time won’t make them go away. However, without appropriate, healthy coping mechanisms for countering these emotional shifts, they can begin to take a toll on the body.
Because there are so many different underlying causes for mood swings, it is essential that the solutions provided are appropriately matched to the condition.1
Finding a Solution
While there is no need for concern about changes in emotions, the key to keeping mood swings within healthy levels is awareness and understanding. If moodiness has continued for prolonged periods of time and is now affecting work and relationships, taking the time to consider a solution is important for mental stability and long-term happiness and well-being.
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If mood swings are severe, consulting with a healthcare professional is best for establishing a regimen that works for you. However, this regimen can be supplemented with some of the strategies highlighted below for increased efficacy.
Track Emotional Patterns
The best way to get a feel for the nature of the situation is to keep a careful record of its progress. Taking notes of emotional changes allows you to make important associations about factors that could be affecting the mood swings. Maybe it’s drinking coffee too early in the morning or checking social media updates before starting your day.
Never doubt the considerable therapeutic power of regular exercise. There is nothing that takes control over the mind and body and establishes dominance and emotional discipline like physical exercise.
Keep a Stricter Schedule
The body runs on a system of regularity. When a schedule is maintained for meals, work, and rest, the body is better able to establish itself in its environment and better regulate emotions.
Improve Sleeping Patterns
The value of sleep and proper progress through all sleep cycles is essential for maintaining the chemical balances in the body. Sleep quality can be affected by unnatural lights sources, stress, and many other conditions. This can lead to irritability, sadness, and unpleasant moods. Breathe natural rest with MONQ’s Sleepy blend.
How Meditation Regulates Mood
Looking over strategies that professionals suggest for controlling negative emotions, it is clear to that balance and awareness play an important role in managing mood swings. With this in mind, there is another activity that has great implications in the quest for balance and self-awareness.
Mindfulness is the moment-to-moment awareness of the sensations, processes, and thoughts within and outside of the body.
According to the Harvard Help Guide, meditation is about taking an objective perspective on the negative representations in the mind and developing a state of calm. This allows the mind to carry the body above the control of negative elements.3
Through mindfulness or meditation, it is possible to cultivate a clearer awareness and perspective through observing the mind in its natural effortless state unaffected by exterior elements. In fact, a study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience published an extensive study on how meditation and mindfulness can be an effective tool for balancing and better understanding the emotions.4
Additionally, researchers at the Michigan State University (MSU) have found evidence to support this argument. They have found that practicing mindfulness boosts cognitive function for all individuals, not just those who practice it regularly.
The study they performed was designed to discover whether mindfulness was a condition that could only be achieved by the well-practiced, or if anyone who wanted to focus their mind could do so.
The researchers selected a group of 68 women who had never practiced meditation or mindfulness. Additionally, a scientifically-validated survey of the test subjects showed that none of them had any specific capacity or inclination to mindfulness.
The test subjects were then separated into two groups, one of which participated in an 18-minute guided meditation that introduced them to the concepts of mindfulness for the first time. The other group of test subjects was provided with an 18-minute introduction to learning a new language.
After this preparation, both groups were presented with some decidedly negative visual stimuli and their emotional responses were recorded. This part of the test involved images depicting hostile emotions, military conflicts, and even some gruesome and graphic images designed to emotionally trouble the mind.
The results showed that the women who meditated were able to exhibit emotional regulation typically found in those who practice mindfulness regularly. This was evident through monitoring brain activity that showed a resilience to the emotional shock factor and kept emotional responses in check.
The study concluded that some people have a disposition to awareness of the moment and the present environment. Those who aren’t, however, can gain the benefits of this state of mind through practicing meditation.
Furthermore, mindfulness and meditation are very much like strength and best cultivated through exercise over time rather than flexed and applied in the moment of great need. Even a 20-minute mindfulness practice each day is enough to begin gaining these benefits.5
In addition to the more direct effects of meditation on emotional balance, mindfulness has been shown to change the function of the brain. This allows it to be more inclined to a positive and empathetic perspective, making mindfulness great addition to a routine for establishing greater emotional balance.6,7
Practical Guide to Meditation for Mood Swings
The principles and practice of mindfulness and meditation have gained a dedicated of following of practitioners who swear by its benefits to physical and mental health.
The only requirement for practicing mindfulness is a functioning mind. From there, progress will go as far as the commitment to practice can continue.
The practice of mindfulness cultivates an emotional distance that allows room to reflect between the essential self and individual reactions to the environment and internal conditions. The ultimate goal is to cultivate a mindfulness that can then be applied to every moment of the day.
The key steps to beginning meditation for regulating mood swings are highlighted below.
Set a Time
You don’t need a pagoda by the lake or anything more than the serenity and calm of a quiet corner of your world to practice mindfulness. However, you will need to dedicate some time to this practice and ensure you will not be disturbed.
It is easy to confuse mindfulness by shutting off the mind, silencing the mind, or exerting control over the mind. However, the idea is to pay attention to the moment without judgments rather than control the moment.
Dealing with Distractions
The emotionally-troubled mind will not always sit still and focus, and this can give rise to judgments and greater chaos. Don’t fight this or try to stop this. Simply observe the thoughts as they pass through the mind, both positive and negative. Be grateful for such an efficient mind that keeps you aware of your concerns and return your focus to observing the present moment.
This is where the intuitive approach comes into play. Those new to mindfulness and meditation may be surprised by how the mind behaves, where it goes, and how tricky it can be to settle down and focus on the moment.
Never judge your mind or yourself for any of this, as this would be counterproductive. Instead, practice the important strength of returning to the perspective of an observer, and in time, you will master mindfulness.
When using mindfulness to balance emotional distress and moodiness, it is important to make your regular practice a source of positivity and as conducive to relaxation as possible.
In addition to choosing the best time of day for the practice, take the time to make sure you have a comfortable location and clothing. Some people find it easiest to focus after daily exercise or a relaxing shower.
Additionally, supporting mindfulness with aromatherapy has been a time-honored way to increase mental focus and decrease the effects of negativity. A soothing visual object like a flower or candle can also be used to help focus the eyes or they can be closed.
Try adding the elements highlighted above into your daily routine and reap the benefits they provide for your mind and body.