Mood swings are nothing unusual — just about every woman will experience these at different stages in her life. Although often due to hormones and triggered by the menstrual cycle, menopause, or certain medical conditions, many lifestyle factors can also cause mood swings. Though they can have an extremely debilitating effect on a person’s life there are some natural ways to help deal with mood swings.
1. Start Exercising Daily
There is such a strong link between exercise and mood. Although the exact mechanisms behind this are not yet fully understood, it only takes 5-10 minutes of moderate exercise for improvements in the mood to be experienced.
How Does Regular Exercise Help With Mood Swings?
Research shows that exercise increases serotonin function in the human brain, which is key when dealing with mood swings. Lowered serotonin levels lead to:
- Feeling annoyed easily
- An inability to control your impulses
- Finding it difficult to finish things
- Feeling down
Aerobic exercises, such as jogging and cycling, are best, but just about anything can help. You may not feel like exercising when you are in the midst of a mood swing, but try to push past what you’re feeling in the moment and get yourself moving.
Take It Outside
Shinrin yoku is a Japanese term that was coined in the 1980s and loosely translates as “forest bathing.” It involves spending some time in a forest, or any natural environment.
It may seem like an easy fix, but studies have proved that regularly spending time in nature can lower cortisol (the stress hormone) levels in the body, as well as blood pressure. These effects are multiplied if you happen to be exercising as well.
2. Consider Dietary Supplements
Certain nutrients play a crucial role when it comes to balancing the mood. If your body is lacking in any of these, then mood fluctuations are likely to be experienced.
Calcium is an important mineral for mood regulation, but levels of calcium fluctuate with the menstrual cycle, which is why mood swings at certain times of the month are common. Research has found that calcium supplements can help with PMS-related mood swings, while also reducing the number of other psychological symptoms.
Clinical studies have shown magnesium to have a noticeable mood-stabilizing effect, with this taking place within two weeks of taking magnesium supplements regularly. Other symptoms of a magnesium deficiency include:
- Muscle pain
- Muscle cramps and spasms
- Eye twitches
Although research is still in its early stages, an increasing number of studies are emerging that point to the connection between vitamin D and mood. There are only a handful of dietary sources out there that contain vitamin D, but ten minutes in the sun is all you need to keep your body’s levels topped up. If you are unable to get this, then a supplement may be necessary.
Your Diet Matters, Too
Supplements are great, but there is nothing quite as effective as improving your overall diet. Try to stay away from stimulants and depressants, such as:
Not only can these exacerbate mood swings, but they can sometimes be the root cause of them in the first place.
One other dietary change to implement would be switching to smaller meals spaced frequently throughout the day, instead of three larger meals. This will help to keep your insulin levels constant, which prevents mood fluctuations.
3. Improve Your Sleeping Routine
Just about everyone has experienced the irritability that can follow a sleepless night, with sleep quality (and quantity) having a direct impact on mood. Research shows that even partial sleep deprivation can lead to mood fluctuations, making it important to pay attention to your sleeping routine.
The number of hours a person needs to sleep is often the focus when it comes to a sleeping routine (between 7-9 hours each night is ideal for a healthy adult), but sleep quality matters just as much as quantity. This means that you should fall asleep within 30 minutes of getting into bed, and shouldn’t wake up more than once during the night.
How to Improve the Quality of Your Sleep
There are numerous steps that you can take to improve the quality of your sleep, including:
- Increasing the amount of bright light you’re exposed to during the day
- Reducing your exposure to blue light before bed
- Setting consistent sleep and wake times
- Not eating late in the evenings, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol too
- Taking the time to clear your mind before going to bed
4. Focus on Your Sex Life
Sex can be a huge mood booster, largely due to the chemicals in the brain that are released during the act. The dopamine acts as a motivator, while endorphins reduce stress and oxytocin stimulates feelings of happiness — it’s hard for a mood swing to compete with all of this!
Of course, women dealing with mood swings often experience a decline in sex drive, but this is something that you can change.
Boosting Your Libido
Many of the methods mentioned on this list, from exercise to improved sleep to stress management, will already help with stimulating sex drive. The healthier your lifestyle, the stronger your libido will be.
Although there may not be a little blue pill that women can take for an instant boost, a vaginal rejuvenation treatment can be a game-changer. There are different treatment options available, but the general consensus after the surgery is a dramatic increase in sex drive and sexual satisfaction, due to an improved vaginal tone.
5. Cut Back on Stress
Chronic stress and anxiety can easily lead to mood swings, making it important to know how to keep your stress levels in check. Granted, this may seem easier said than done, but once you’ve identified a few stress management techniques that work well for you, the frequency of your mood swings will likely decline.
Stress Management Techniques
There are so many different stress management techniques out there. What works for one person may not work for another, making it important to try several out, even if the first few don’t seem to have much of an effect. Some of the steps that you can take to manage and reduce stress include:
- Keeping a journal
- Learning how to say no to extra responsibilities
- Listen to soothing music
- Deep breathing exercises
These may seem simple, but preventing your stress levels from rising can go a long way in preventing mood swings.
It’s important to understand the root cause of your mood swings, but knowing how to deal with them can provide relief until you are able to do so. Mood swings can have such a negative impact on all areas of your life — taking control of this will not only leave you feeling empowered but will do wonders for both your mental and physical health.
About the Author
Dr. Ammar Mahmoud is a board-eligible gynecologist and highly trained cosmetic surgeon specializing in cosmetic and functional gynecological medicine. He is also the lead physician at Labiaplasty New York City.
Natural Ways to Help with Mood Swings — Sources
American Psychological Association
NCBI – How to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs
NIH – The physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku
NCBI – Effect of calcium on premenstrual syndrome
NCBI – The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress
NCBI – Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression
Insider – Vitamin D
Harvard.edu – Sleep and Mood
Talk Space – 6 Ways Sex Is Good for Your Health