Moodiness is defined as changes in mood that are unpredictable, often leaning toward gloominess or sullenness. There are many different moods, of course, but moodiness is not usually a quality attributed to perpetually happy people.
There are ways to keep your moods under control, however, so that you don’t spend your days feeling as though, emotionally, you never left behind your adolescent angst. Some of the top tips for regulating moodiness are highlighted below.
Control Your Thoughts, Control Your Moods
If you’ve wondered why it’s so difficult to shake away a blue mood, consider what you’re thinking. If you are obsessing about the things that cause anxiety, then it may be difficult to snap out of a bad mood.
Thoughts are powerful, and they can significantly impact your mood. However, learning how to control those thoughts—replacing negative thoughts with positive ones—can have a significant impact on how you feel and allow you to take control of your emotions.1
Below are some tips to help control the thoughts swirling around in your head:
Keep a Thought Journal
Record negative thoughts when you have them. This generates a sense of awareness of how often you are having self-deprecating thoughts that can cause moodiness.
Challenge Your Thoughts
Think about your worries, the thoughts that are bringing you down, and question how important they really are. While there are times that worries are genuinely important, most often, worries are more superficial than you think. Letting them go by minimizing their importance can be helpful.
If your negative thoughts are filling every corner of your brain, it’s time to get out of your head and spend time doing something you love. Hiking in the woods provides exposure to mood-boosting terpenes, and exercise triggers the release of feel-good endorphins that can give you the strength to get past your blue mood, at least at the moment.
Seek Out Support
A friend, family member, therapist, or an online support group of people experiencing the same problems can help provide support that will help you through more difficult times. The internet offers a wealth of educational sites and support groups that allow you to talk through your issues, providing you with a fresh perspective and better-coping skills.
If traditional therapy is not your cup of tea, books that offer self-guided tools can help you learn to better manage your moods.
Technology has provided individuals with pedometers to track footsteps and other apps such as mood tools to track moods. Using digital tools can help you determine how often you are moody or feeling bleak, as well as when you are feeling happy, which allows you to get an idea of what your surroundings are like when your mood is not grey.
Check Your Diet
According to WebMD.com, switching up your diet—trading unhealthy food items for vitamin-dense options such as veggies in the colors of the rainbow—can change the structure of the brain, altering chemicals and hormones, which can suppress a flood of anxiety-inducing hormones and spur those feel-good chemicals into action.
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When people eat sugary carbs, they trigger sugar highs and lows that zap energy and leave individuals feeling cranky. A sustained, even mood can be your reality if you skip the sugars and choose omega-3 fatty acids, smarter carbs, and protein.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that, when paired with B vitamins, encourages the production of serotonin in the brain, making foods with the amino acid a dietary priority. Tryptophan is found in turkey and other proteins, and when it is mixed with healthy carbs such as veggies, whole grains, fruit, and legumes, it encourages the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter connected to feelings of happiness and well-being.2
A good night’s sleep is pretty important, and without it, moodiness is almost inevitable.
Sleep soothes the mind and body, and without it, nerves are often on edge, and irritability and negativity are just around the corner.
According to Harvard researchers, sleep deprivation is common for people with anxiety and depression—90 percent of people with depression have insomnia, as do 50 percent of those with anxiety—but which came first, the chicken or the egg?
New studies suggest that insomnia may play a major role in moodiness. When people sleep, they drift into various states of sleep, including deep, quiet sleep when the skin and body heal themselves, and REM sleep, the period of time when individuals dream.
REM sleep is associated with mood and emotion, and when it is disrupted, the brain chemistry changes and anxiety again comes knocking at the door.
Aromatherapy and Other Self-Care Tips
There are many essential oils, especially citrus scents, that can help lift a blue or anxious mood, but exotics such as sandalwood and frankincense can also be used during a meditation session to enhance the Zen experience.
While there are times when moodiness cannot be controlled—a death in the family, a divorce, or losing a job, for example—taking certain steps and focusing on self-care can help make the process less painful and prevent a blue mood from enveloping your life.
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