In this post, we’ll be exploring mood episodes and also offer helpful tips for managing your mood. This is a very important coping strategy for managing bipolar symptoms.
What Are Mood Episodes?
Let’s start by asking, what is a mood?
A mood is a feeling or a specific state of mind at any given time. For example, sometimes you may feel happy, but other times you feel sad. Feeling these ups and downs are normal moods, but sometimes you might have mood episodes.
Mood episodes happen when you’re having not just a change in mood, but also a cluster of symptoms for a certain amount of time. For example, you may be having an episode of depression that’s going hand in hand with loss of pleasure as well as a lack of energy. Also, the episode may last a week.
Everyone faces changes in mood or mood episodes following a major life event. This may include a job loss, an ending of a relationship as well as the death of a loved one. A mood episode of depression may last for a week or longer as part of the grieving process. This is a normal response to grief, but sometimes frequent mood episodes are due to mood disorders.
How Bipolar Disorder Symptoms Are Connected To Mood?
If you have a mood disorder, your emotional state or mood is twisted or unpredictable with what’s happening. It’s a disorder that interferes with everyday functioning.
A perfect example of a mood disorder is bipolar disorder, which is marked by mood episodes of extreme highs and extreme lows. Also, bipolar symptoms change depending on what extreme mood is happening.
The length of a mood episode varies from person to person, also it depends on what type of bipolar disorder you have. For example, a mood episode may last only a few weeks, but for others a few months.
Before we get to some helpful tips for managing your mood, let’s first learn about different mood episodes.
4 Types Of Bipolar Mood Episodes Include:
- Major Depression: A severe type of depression that interferes with day to day life. It affects your ability to work, sleep, eat and activities you normally enjoy.
- Mania: Feeling manic or having mania is an extremely high and excitable mood. It’s marked by periods of extreme happiness (euphoria), false beliefs (delusions) and reckless behavior. Also, mania is severe enough to impair day-to-day life.
- Hypomania: A less severe form of mania that doesn’t last as long. Also, it’s usually not severe enough that it impairs day-to-day life.
- Mixed: A mood state with both symptoms of depression and mania at the same time.
What Causes Mood Episodes?
A mood episode is the result of a shift in our emotions called by a mood swing.
What Is A Mood Swing?
A mood swing is a rapid change in mood. It’s described as being an emotional “rollercoaster ride”.
One minute you may be feeling “normal”, then you may either feel overly excited or even feel depressed.
Mood swings may be a normal reaction to a stressful life event, such as a job loss. Also, they may be triggered by problems such as poor diet, lack of sleep as well as lack of exercise.
When mood swings become all-consuming and affect day-to-day life, they may a sign of a mental disorder such as bipolar disorder. Also, mood swings aren’t always bipolar symptoms, they can be symptoms of ADHD as well as many personality disorders.
Bipolar Disorder Leads To A Bigger “Rollercoaser Ride”
It’s not 100% known the exact cause of bipolar disorder, but factors such as genetics, environment as well as having a different brain come into play. In a previous post, “Tips For Helping A Bipolar Brain”, we learned that someone who suffers from bipolar disorder has a different brain.
The bipolar brain has problems with brain chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin. Due to an imbalance of these chemicals, you may have problems with more extreme mood swings.
For example, the same stressful job loss that a normal person faces can feel more stressful if they have bipolar disorder. Also, lack of sleep, poor diet and also lack of exercise add to the bipolar grease fire as well.
Mood swings are dangerous if you have bipolar disorder, because of emotions that can cause damage to your life. For example, you may get so excited while manic that you may find yourself unable to control urges.
Urges may include spending too much money, fighting with other people or engage in other risky behaviors.
It’s vital to manage your mood as part of your overall bipolar treatment.
Helpful Tips For Managing Your Mood
Mood issues have many causes and you can manage them in a holistic way. If you have a mood disorder like bipolar disorder, then you have to manage your mood in not only a holistic way, but also with therapy and medication.
Here are some tips for managing your mood:
1. Become More Self-Aware Of Changes Caused By Mood Swings:
When you’re having a mood swing, you may not be aware of subtle changes that are happening.
For example, one day you’re in a stable mood and you’re able to focus and complete daily tasks. The next day, your energy levels are higher because you’re having an episode of mania. This is a problem when you start having a hard time focusing on a task.
As a result, you end up either not finishing that task, put it off until last minute or you start taking on extra tasks while working on the one you’re suppose to finish. The lack of awareness of this self-sabotaging behavior causes problems for yourself as well as those around you. As a result, a task that needs to be finished doesn’t get done and you may get into trouble.
When you’re aware that your mood is shifting, then it helps to take a break before you do any harm to yourself or others. During this time, it helps that you center your attention on something in the present. These include the sound of your breathing as well as the sound of the music you’re listening to.
Here’s a related post, “Let’s Explore How Self-Awareness Leads To A Better Self”.
2. Be Aware Of Your Triggers:
Shifts in mood can be normal and also be a sign of a bigger problem.
Bipolar mood swings have triggers you may not be aware of. For example, lack of sleep as well as low blood sugar can be triggers. Mood swings have been linked to stress as well as lack of exercise.
3. Make Lifestyle Changes:
It turns out that mood can change naturally for a variety of reasons. These include poor diet, lack of sleep as well as lack of exercise. By making lifestyle changes, you can better manage your mood.
Change Your Diet:
A poor diet high in refined sugars has been linked to impaired brain function. If you have bipolar disorder, poor diet makes your symptoms worse.
In a previous post, “B Vitamins For A Better Mind”, we learned that there’s a link between better diet and better mental health. Eating a nutrient rich diet helps to better manage bipolar symptoms.
Get Better Sleep:
Sleep patterns are caused by problems such as chronic pain as well as sleep apnea. Also, they’re caused by mental disorders such as bipolar disorder.
When you’re having a manic episode, you may have a decreased need for sleep. As a result, bipolar symptoms are made worse due to the lack of sleep. Also, it becomes a cycle, you need to sleep to manage your symptoms, but you can’t sleep and symptoms get worse.
In order to get better sleep, it helps to practice good sleep hygiene. This means that you wake up and go to sleep at the same time everyday. Also, it means that you become aware of habits that ruin your sleep cycle.
These include not using electronic devices before bed, not drinking coffee too late in the afternoon and not eating a big meal before bed.
Get More Exercise:
The lack of exercise has been linked to a boost in anxiety as well as worsening bipolar symptoms.
Benefits of getting more exercise include not only better physical health, but also better managed mental health symptoms.
It helps with boosting brain chemicals that regulate mood. For example, aerobic exercise gives you a boost of endorphins, which leads to reduced stress.
4. Talk To Your Doctor
Taking a holistic approach to manage your mind is only one piece of the puzzle. Another is talking to your doctor and/or therapist as well as taking medications that help stabilize your mood.
A doctor can make adjustments to your medications if you’re having problems with your mood. Seeing a therapist helps you through talk therapy as well as helping you develop coping strategies.
Hopefully, you found these helpful tips for managing your mood helpful.
How Do You Manage Your Mood?
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