Mood Swings and Stress

If you notice yourself experiencing a drastic change of emotions every now and then it is possible that you are experiencing what many people refer to as “mood swings”. One moment you may be feeling fine working on your daily tasks, the next minute you may be feeling irritable and even become hostile – all these sudden changes in your mood indicates that you are indeed having mood swings.

Irritability is a common symptom of unresolved chronic stress. So if you are showing signs of being moody, you may need to look deeper and see if it isn’t stress that is causing the problem.

Yes, it is perfectly normal to experience irritability, anger, sadness and other emotions in our lives. However, if mood swings become difficult to control, this becomes another problem to look at. Uncontrolled mood swings can severely impact relationships, careers and other aspects of a person’s life.

Is Irritability The Cause?

Both men and women may suffer from mood swings that are caused by stress of everyday living.  Juggling between family and work life and others expectations will make almost everyone vulnerable to highs and lows in mood.

Women experience mood swings more often than men. This comes as no surprise since women are subject to fluctuations of hormones that can occur during pregnancy, menstruation periods or post-partum depression.

Intensity of mood changes will invariably worsen when upsetting situations occur.

Irritability is one of the most common indicators of susceptibility to mood swings. When a person is irritable they will have an increased tendency to overreact or become angry in response to an occurrence. When the response is disproportionate to the trigger, problems will occur with others.

This often leads to feelings of remorse, self-pity and more anger. If this yo-yo behavior is repeated often it can create habitual responses which compound the hormonal and environmental triggers. If the underlying causes of the irritability are properly addressed mood swings will then start to dissipate.

Extreme cases of mood swings can also be linked to bipolar disorder. If mood swings are extreme in either frequency or intensity or are damaging to personal and professional relationships professional help should be sought.

Natural Ways of Coping with Stress and Mood Swings

Recognizing that stress and your mood swings are a problem does not mean you have to rely on prescription or over-the-counter drugs to be able to manage the problem.

There are several natural ways of coping:

Yoga and meditationcan help people achieve calmness by using positive imagery, slow and tempered muscle movements and guided breathing techniques. Practicing Yoga and meditation on a regular basis provides people with better coping skills for mood swings as the student will be taught to become more aware of their own emotional and physical responses to mood swings.

Getting enough sleep is also crucial towards conquering mood swings.  Lacking enough sleep every night will make you feel run down with your mind less sharp to deal with any situations that may arise in your daily routine. This will affect how you react to situations and increasing your likelihood of an irrational response. Having enough sleep gives your mind and body the much needed rest that it deserves for it to function better the next day.

Eating right is one of the best ways to keep mood swings in check.  Processed foods and all forms of junk foods should be avoided. Stay clear of all foods and beverages that contain sugar and limit or better yet eliminate your intake of alcohol.

These unhealthy foods will trigger mood swings and also reduce the capability to cope with stress. Poor eating habits are also commonly linked to anxiety, depression and other mental health problems. Diet is becoming more widely implicated as a primary underlying cause and aggravator of many mental and emotional issues.


© Triangle Mental Health Foundation 2022