We all experience changes in mood – how we feel and the emotions we experience, mostly because of things that are going on and the effect these have on the chemical processes happening in the body.
Most of the time, changes in mood are not very significant or noticeable, for example, we might wake up feeling irritable if we’ve had a bad night’s sleep, but feel happier a couple of hours later once we’ve had some pleasant experiences like breakfast, sunshine, sharing a joke with a friend etc.
More severe mood changes, often called ‘mood swings’ can be much more difficult to deal with. They can happen quickly, where someone feels happy and upbeat then suddenly feels low and anxious, or they can change after longer periods of time. These changes in mood can be extreme, and difficult to understand by the person experiencing them and those around them. They can also occur following traumatic experiences and stressful life events such as bereavement and divorce. Since hormones play a massive part in our emotional wellbeing, women often experience extreme mood changes during their menstrual cycle and during menopause.
When these mood changes start to impact on our daily lives, such as affecting our ability to work or socialise, if they affect our relationships with friends, family, loved ones and colleagues, or cause us personal concern, then it’s probably time to seek advice and support.
It’s important to work out why mood swings are happening, so that the right approach to easing them can be found. Often, the answer lies in lifestyle changes such as improving diet, being more physically active or reducing alcohol use. However, there may be deeper underlying issues which might need support from professionals.