Most people have mood swings from time to time, but that doesn’t mean they’re afflicted with a mood disorder. A mood disorder is a mental health issue affecting a person’s emotional state. It’s characterized by a feeling of intense sadness (depression), extreme happiness (mania), or alternating depression and mania that persists for several weeks or months.
Common Types of Mood Disorders
The most common types of mood disorders are as follows:
- Clinical Depression: Extreme sadness for no apparent reason lasting for two weeks or more is an indication of clinical depression.
- Bipolar Disorder: Also known as manic depression, bipolar depression is marked by alternating periods of depression and mania.
Mood disorders are believed to be caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. Having undergone a stressful or traumatic life event also contributes to mood disorders. It’s also believed to be hereditary.
How To Manage Mood Disorders
A mood disorder can hamper your ability to function at work or school. It can also adversely affect relationships.
Mood swings can be challenging to manage, but you can ease your fluctuating emotions with the help of the following tips:
- Seek Therapy
The course of treatment for mood disorders is usually a combination of medications and psychotherapy, also known as ‘talk therapy.’ The health professionals qualified to conduct therapy sessions include psychiatrists and clinical psychologists such as those from the MVS Group.
Therapy or counseling sessions help a person suffering from mood disorders process their past experiences and how these affect their emotional state. Psychologists also guide the patient to discover ways to cope with life’s challenges.
Different types of therapy are used to alleviate mood swings, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), problem-solving therapy, and interpersonal therapy.
- Drink Less Coffee
Consider drinking less coffee as studies show that caffeine may trigger stress. High doses of caffeine (400 mg or more) mimic symptoms of anxiety such as heart palpitations and nausea.
Although a cup of home-brewed coffee contains about 100 mg of caffeine, you may be consuming more caffeine than you realize if you usually get the largest available size from your favorite coffee shop.
Also, it’s advisable to avoid drinking coffee for at least two hours before going to bed.
- Get Adequate Sleep
Research shows a strong connection between sleep and mood. Inadequate sleep may aggravate stress and irritability, while quality, uninterrupted sleep is linked to improved well-being.
Therefore, it’s critical for people suffering from mood disorders to get at least eight hours of uninterrupted and restorative sleep.
- Engage In Exercise
Engaging in regular exercise is beneficial for everyone, especially if you suffer from mood disorders. Physical activity can help improve your mood because it increases the level of endorphins produced by your nervous system. Endorphins are also referred to as ‘feel-good’ chemicals because they boost feelings of happiness. So, in a sense, exercise serves as a natural anti-depressant.
Furthermore, exercise can help you relax by reducing tension in your skeletal muscles. Studies also show that regular exercise can help boost your self-esteem and improve your ability to cope with life’s adversities.
- Modify Your Diet
Research suggests that what you eat can affect your mood. The nutrients found in certain foods are linked to higher levels of brain chemicals, such as serotonin and dopamine, that improve your mood and lessen anxiety.
The Mediterranean diet, which usually consists of fish rich in Omega-3, nuts, beans, vegetables, and olive oil, is widely believed to alleviate depression. Beans, in particular, are a source of complex carbohydrates and lean proteins.
Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables is also highly beneficial as they’re rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help improve your mood.
- Connect With Family And Friends
Maintaining social connections is another way to help you manage your mood swings. It’s not advisable for those suffering from mood disorders to isolate themselves.
On the contrary, seeking the support of family and friends can help you deal with your negative feelings.
- Practice Meditation
Meditation can help you relax and reduce stress, enabling you to achieve a sense of peace. Some of the common types of meditation and relaxation techniques include guided meditation, mindfulness meditation, yoga, and tai chi.
Regardless of type, meditation typically involves focused attention, deep breathing, a comfortable position, and a receptive attitude.
- Take A Break
Every day you deal with situations that cause stress. It could be pressure at work, domestic disputes, or financial problems. And stress may lead to anxiety and depression.
Whenever you feel anxious or sad for whatever reason or no reason at all, allow yourself to take a break. Do something you enjoy, such as reading a good book, gardening, or playing your favorite music. Take your mind off your worries or a situation beyond your control.
If you have time and money to spare, travel to places you’ve always dreamed of visiting. Discover new places, learn new things, and remind yourself that life is worth living.
A mood disorder may impair your ability to function and affect the people around you. Hence, it’s critical to consult a health professional to prescribe the appropriate treatment plan.
Aside from medications and psychotherapy, there are simple yet effective ways to help you manage your fluctuating emotions. Follow the tips discussed above to alleviate your mood swings and improve your mental well-being.