We all have occasional mood swings. There are some things we can do during them to help make ourselves feel better.
Bouncing back and forth between moods when nothing else around you changes isn’t something you alone experience. Millions of Americans use medication to temper their mood swings. In fact, in 2011 $11 billion of antidepressants and $18 billion of antipsychotics were sold. There are still some people who take nothing and suffer in silence. Regardless of which of these “categories” you fall into, you still need to learn how to master your mood – something that requires a lot of practice and patience.
It’s all in how you Look at Things
There are many “cognitive distortions” that make things seem worse than they really are, thus triggering your bad mood. The Greek philosopher Epictetus went on to point out that “People are not disturbed by things, but by the view, they take of them.”With this in mind, here are 5 common distortions we should avoid:
- Polarized thinking occurs when you only see the world in black and white. You should leave this type of thinking to computers and try to put things into context instead.
- Overgeneralization is surprisingly easy but utterly irrational to do. This occurs when you think that one negative event is a harbinger of disaster when in reality one data point is virtually meaningless.
- Make sure you have real information about important issues so you don’t fill the void by concluding that no news is bad news. Of course, you should also prepare for bad news – just don’t let it give you an ulcer.
- Personalization occurs because we want to link negative acts to unrelated outcomes. You can’t allow yourself to be that arrogant. You’re not the center of the universe – something for which you should be thankful.
- Externalization happens when we credit our moods to outside influences instead of looking for their true source. You need to stop giving simple facts false meaning. Of course, you should work on real problems and turn your would-be assailants into allies by asking for their support.
Act out and Help Others
Fortunately, you don’t have to think your way out of a funk – you can act your way out of one instead. This is thanks to what’s known as the James-Lange principle of emotion, which says that your emotions are responses to your ideas or experiences. The opposite is also true in that since our bodies move in specific ways, our moods align accordingly. With this theory in mind, here are 5 ways you can act your way out of a bad mood:
- You’ve heard the old saying, “Fake it until you make it.” This works here too. Act brave on the outside (e.g. hold your head high, puff your chest out, have a firm gaze). This will help you feel positive and strong on the inside too – especially when you get stabilizing feedback from other people, even if they’re in the form of non-verbal cues.
- Get up and get exercising. This will help you release endorphins, which can put you in good spirits.
- Drink less alcohol. While a couple of cocktails can temporarily settle your nerves, it won’t last for long. This is because when your body processes the alcohol, dysphoria (an emotional state marked by anxiety or unease) kicks in. This happens as soon as you start in on your second drink. At this point, you’ll discover that the problems associated with the alcohol have already started to outweigh the benefits.
- Spring cleaning isn’t just for your house or for a certain time of the year. You can spring clean your mental inventory, especially when you find yourself saying or thinking in terms of self-defeating statements. This clutter leads to bad moods. Purging your old to-do lists, getting rid of things you’ve started but never found the time to finish, and donating clothes that will never fit you again comfortably will help lift your mood and give you more energy to pay attention to the stuff that really needs your attention right now.
- Take time to help someone else helps you step away from what’s bothering you and gives you a sense of accomplishment. Of course, the person’s gratitude is also highly satisfying.
Use Coping Strategies
Since you can’t avoid all triggers (e.g. seasonal changes, stressful events) you can make some lifestyle changes that will make a big difference in your moods. Some of the things you can do here include:
- Do your best to control your stress by simplifying your life. Delegate some of your responsibilities whenever possible. For those things you can’t control try some stress-management techniques like meditation, visualization, and yoga.
- Maintain a regular schedule and routine. Don’t throw too many changes your way – life does that enough without your help. As much as possible, you should keep your meals, errands, exercise, and bedtime routines close to the same each day – especially in regards to time.
- Practice healthy sleep habits. When you’re overtired you can trigger mood swings. Take some time to relax before bed – listen to some soothing music, read, and take a warm bath. It’s also important to make your bedroom a calming place where you only sleep and have sex. This will require some discipline, but it’s important enough to go out of your way to do these things.
- Get moving. Studies show that regular exercise can help improve mood. Start slowly by taking a walk around the neighborhood. Gradually work up to exercising on most days of the week.
- Avoid caffeine from coffee and soda, especially at night. This is a stimulant, which can keep you up at night.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs, especially if you’re taking any medications because this could possibly trigger a mood swing.
- Keep a journal, taking note of big events, stresses, how much sleep you’re getting, and what you’re eating and drinking. Eventually, you’ll notice patterns emerging. Once you know what your triggers are, you can deal with them better.
Talk to someone. Go use a sex chatroom where nobody knows you and share your feelings with someone through sexting. There are some tips and tricks of sexting that you should be aware of at the beginning. Having another person empathize with you is helpful. You never know, they may have experienced the same thing and know how to help you pull through it.
Read More: Moving Offices: How to Know When It’s Time