What’s causing mood swings?
7 common influencing factors and tips to overcome them for a happier, healthier life
Low mood and mood swings can be difficult to live with, not only for the person experiencing them but for others around them too. Whilst many people think of mood swings as a part of life, especially during the colder seasons, they have the ability to disrupt your daily activities or workflow, impede concentration and disturb relationships. So if you’re experiencing episodes of high and low mood, chances are you’ll want to tackle the problem as quickly as possible. If you’ve been experiencing mood fluctuation or instability, here are 7 of the top influencing factors as well as some tips to help you overcome them for a happier, healthier life.
Hormones are a massive influencer when it comes to mood due to their ability to alter the chemistry of the brain. Whilst mood swings can be experienced by anyone, women generally experience more hormonal fluctuations than men (such as that before and after a period, during pregnancy and menopause) which subsequently influences mood and can result in mood swings.
Whilst there is no clean-cut answer as to why these times cause mood swings, the fact that oestrogen and progesterone levels are significantly altered can, in turn, affect your natural serotonin production – the body’s happy chemical.
For men, the outlook is a little brighter when it comes to hormonally-induced mood swings however they are definitely not exempt from experiencing them. As men start pushing 30, testosterone levels begin naturally decreasing which can eventuate in issues with sleep, erectile dysfunction and yes, mood swings!
As caffeine stimulates the nervous system and increases our production of happy chemicals serotonin and dopamine, it’s no surprise that caffeine can be a major contributor when it comes to low or fluctuating moods. As we’ve probably all experienced, incredible highs are generally met with equally intense periods of depleted energy and low mood.
Comparatively, caffeine can also block adenosine receptors resulting in the inability to fall asleep or to experience deep, restorative levels of sleep which can also negatively affect mood. Of course, the worst and most common side effect of caffeine would have to be anxiety and irritability which often occurs if caffeine consumption is too high. When our caffeine intake is elevated, it can initiate increased heat rate and even a fight or flight response that can be incredibly uncomfortable for those experiencing it.
In general, recommended daily intake for caffeine is around 400mg or approximately 4 cups of coffee however this may be reduced for people whose bodies produce stronger negative reactions. If this sounds like you or you’re simply keen to reduce caffeine consumption, try swapping out your standard cappuccino or latte for a caffeine-free alternative such as A. Vogel’s all-natural substitute Bambu Instant. Containing beneficial ingredients such as chicory, figs, malted barley wheat and Greek acorns, this delicious coffee alternative also works to support cell activity and a healthy digestive process.
However, this is not to say that caffeine is altogether bad for your health as studies have actually shown that it can, in some instances, work to relieve symptoms associated with mild anxiety and depression. Consistently, further studies have demonstrated that caffeine can help to prevent receptors from causing negative responses such as memory problems and mood. For this reason, it is important to remember that caffeine has a diverse range of effects on different people owing to differing genetic makeup, which is why it’s so important to know your body and listen to what it’s telling you.
Dehydration is a cause of low-mood that many people fail to recognise however even slight instances of dehydration can result in lethargy, issues with concentration, headaches, mood and mental function. While there is no definitive answer as to why dehydration causes issues with mood and healthy brain function, one theory is that it may be due to reduced blood flow to the brain whilst another poses that neurons in the brain can identify dehydration and subsequently notifies the mood regulation centre in your brain.
Regardless of why, studies have shown that negative emotions such as stress, anxiety and anger are more commonly experienced in instances of dehydration – so remember to drink up!
Food and Diet
Similar to the effects of caffeine, blood sugar levels have the ability to seriously impact mood. As sugar sends the nervous system into overdrive and tricks the brain into producing more of our happy hormones, it’s no surprise that a sugar crash can also incite a plummeting or fluctuating mood.
Gut health is another major contributor when it comes to mood regulation. It is suggested that around 90% of serotonin production occurs in the gastrointestinal tract so if your gut health is poor, it’s likely that your mood will be too. So what can you do? Some of the best ways to promote a healthy gut can include increasing fibre intake, limiting fatty foods and incorporating probiotics into your regular diet. If you’re looking to boost your gut health, check out A. Vogel's Molkosan – a concentrated whey that is produced by a unique lactofermentation (using Lactobacillus bacteria), concentration and pasteurisation process.
Anxiety and stress
For obvious reasons, a state of panic or anxiety can lead to further mood fluctuations and deficiencies. Anxiety is a state in which we are hyperaware and hyper-responsive to both internal and external factors such as emotions or the environment around us. To achieve such heightened physical responses, anxiety devours our body’s nutrients and drives it to our vital organs, as well as using it to produce stress hormones and adrenaline. As these nutrients are therefore not going towards healthy mood regulation, it’s understandable that instances of heightened stress or anxiety can bring about mood swings.
Whilst it’s always recommended to speak to your GP when experiencing consistent feelings of stress or anxiety, there are also some natural remedies that may assist in reducing associated symptoms and promote a healthier, happier state of mind. For this, we recommend A. Vogel’s Stress Relief Oral Liquid which contains a mix of freshly harvested, organically grown Valerian and Hops to assist you to cope with the stresses of everyday life.
Magnesium is a powerful mineral for a range of reasons, from increasing energy and digestive function to calming anxiety and assisting with sleep. For this reason, magnesium deficiency can be a core contributor to undesirable outcomes such as anxiety, depression, headaches and mood swings.
Whilst research is somewhat inconclusive when it comes to magnesium’s ability to prevent low and fluctuating moods, there are definitely indirect impacts it can have on our emotions. For example, magnesium is known to promote a healthy sleep and reduce fatigue, which subsequently works to alleviate low moods.
If you’re looking to naturally boost your magnesium levels in order to aid mood regulation, try A. Vogel’s Biosnacky ® Radish Red Rambo Sprouting Seeds. In addition to the joys of cultivating your own fresh sprouts from home, Radish Red Rambo Sprouts contain healthy levels of magnesium, potassium, zinc, calcium and a range of other vitamins beneficial to healthy body function.
Fatigue is more than being a little sleepy; it is a perpetual feeling of tiredness, weakness and lack of energy that can greatly affect both mental and physical function. For people who might experience both restful and restless sleeping patterns, it is quite common to see comparable highs and lows when it comes to our mood, which can often be interpreted as mood swings. As a deep and restorative sleep is vital to emotional processing, healing and restoration, lack of decent sleep can leave us feeling a little mentally haphazard.
It is fair to suggest that it’s easier said than done when it comes to adequate depths of sleep however there are a few things you can do to assist the process. For starters, reducing use of mobile phones and other electronic devices prior to bed time can assist us to slip into a relaxed state ready for sleep. For those seeking a natural remedy to help you sleep better and wake feeling refreshed, get yourself a bottle of A.Vogel’s Sleeplessness and Insomnia Relief ®. Containing organically grown Valerian root and Hops, this herbal liquid tincture encourages an undisturbed sleep without that groggy feeling often associated with sleeping tablets.