“23 percent of women will experience mood swings during their menopausal phase.”
Menopause can be one of the most difficult periods of a woman’s life, and some even find the experience to be traumatic. Your body and mind undergo significant changes, one of which may be uncontrollable mood swings. Menopause emotions can range from depression and anxiety to irritability and agitation.
You may start to feel guilty about your mood swings, especially if they cause you to socially withdrawal or snap at your loved ones. While mood swings during menopause are normal, you should learn more about them and how they affect your body so you can work through this time and find ways to manage your symptoms.
What Causes Mood Swings During Menopause
The North American Menopause Society reports that 23 percent of women will experience mood swings during their menopausal phase. This can be attributed to the hormonal shifts that occur during this time; our hormones play a major role in our temperament and mood. When certain chemicals increase or decrease, we can quickly feel depressed or excessively anxious.
During her active menopausal stage, a woman’s estrogen level will drop significantly. This can cause a decrease in serotonin and norepinephrine, two chemical substances that are linked to depression.
A lack of estrogen can also cause greater fatigue, insomnia, anxiety and stress. In addition to the physical changes, menopausal mood swings also affect your mental health.
How Mood Swings Affect Your Mental Health
“Getting help managing your mood swings will ensure that you are able to bounce back and feel like you again.”
Our mood plays a large role in our social relationships and general mental well-being. When you experience frequent mood swings, you may start to feel like you are losing control of yourself. People may become frustrated with you, and you may even become defensive or angry at them in return. Mood swings from menopause emotions can lead to the development of clinical depression and anxiety.
Getting help managing your mood swings will ensure that you are able to bounce back and feel like you again. There’s no shame in reaching out to a mental health professional, especially if you feel like your mood swings have become too frequent, gotten more severe or cannot be easily controlled.
Natural Ways to Manage Mood Swings
“Get active and find a positive, healthy way to channel any negative feelings.”
Finding healthy, natural ways to cope with your mood swings will help you develop a greater emotional intelligence. For many women, menopausal mood changes are a major wake-up call that help them identify some unhealthy habits or thinking patterns they’ve been living with for far too long.
You can’t control your mood, but you can control how you respond to it. These are just four ways you can work through your mood swings and restore some balance to your brain during times of distress.
Create a Mood Reminder
Set up an alarm on your phone that goes off every few hours and reminds you to step back and check in with how you’re feeling. It’s easy to get so caught up in work and family responsibilities that your self-care falls to the wayside. If you notice that you’re feeling stressed, anxious or depressed, take some deep breaths and find a way to calm yourself.
Having go-to self-care tools for these moments can be especially helpful; when you’re depressed, calling a loved one or reading some positive affirmations can be helpful. Anxiety relief can come in the form of some deep breathing or a focusing exercise.
Journaling can be a helpful way to track your moods and identify certain triggers or recurring problems in your life. It’s also a safe space that allows you to be completely open and honest about how you’re feeling. We can’t always tell our partners or friends exactly what we’re going through; you might even have feelings that you know are temporary but still need to be dealt with.
By journaling, you can gain greater self-awareness and express yourself in the moment without lashing out or getting carried away in a conversation.
Meditation helps calm the mind, bring awareness to the moment and acceptance of our thoughts. Shed the guilt and frustration that you feel with mood swings by getting in touch with yourself through short mindfulness meditation exercises. You can start with an app like Headspace, which offers a free beginner’s meditation course that will walk you through the basics and help you establish a good routine.
Meditation may not always been an option when you’re feeling low or depressed; there might be thoughts or feelings you aren’t ready to sit alone with. That’s okay, too. In those instances, just focus on your breath and find a way to redirect your thoughts to something else.
Find an Outlet
Get active and find a positive, healthy way to channel any negative feelings. Aerobic exercise can help you physically move through mood swings so you stop feeling like they’re taking over your entire body. Exercise also helps release feel-good endorphins, which can lift your spirits and help you feel more stable.
Don’t be afraid to switch things up; many menopausal women feel like their life is ending, and they mourn the loss of who they once were. This is only a chapter of your life, which is still very much important and worth living. Change things up by signing up for dance classes, kickboxing, karate or something else you’ve always wanted to try.
Remember that menopause doesn’t last forever, no matter how much it feels like it. Symptoms will vary for four to five years, but with the right tools and resources, you can find ways to manage your mood swings and feel balanced during this time. Try to focus on the positive opportunities that are available to you know, including the chance to develop a healthier diet and fitness routine that you can continue throughout the rest of your life.
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