Things You Need To Understand About Mood - Tips To Life
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Things You Need To Understand About Mood

  • January 25, 2019

The Psychology Of Mood

It’s that feeling you get when you realize you just ran out of coffee. Or, that daunting feeling of urgency when you unearth some disappointing news. No matter the situation at hand, there is a strong, biological force controlling our behavior.

What’s this mysterious energy you may ask? It’s none other than our mood.

Neuroscientists and researchers have spent a great deal of time analyzing how our moods impact our behavior. While they’ve made accurate strides, there’s still so much to be learned about why our emotions impact our mood and vice versa.

mood swing

Mood and Emotions Are Not the Same

While many conclude that emotions and mood are interchangeable, interestingly, they aren’t. The semantic point theory of emotions states, “emotions are patterns of firing in large groups of neurons that integrate neural representations of situations, cognitive appraisals of those situations, and physiological changes.”

In a nutshell, your emotions are based on preconceived patterns, expectations, and personal goals. For example, if you were passed up on an opportunity at work, likely you’ll be disappointed; maybe even angry. Why is that?

You’re programmed to believe that if you don’t receive recognition, you’re automatically a failure. While extreme, this conditioning of patterns impacts how you perceive your day. Because of this letdown, you may categorize your entire day as being, ‘bad.”

While your emotions may impact how you view your day and overall behavior, your mood controls something completely different.

One author eloquently stated, “moods are dispositions to have emotions. (for example) Salt has the disposition to dissolve in water, and glass bottles have the disposition to break when dropped.”

So, how does mood correlate to our overall emotions? According to science, your overall mood “produces” the emotions you express. Let’s go back to the job scenario. If you were in a relatively good mood before the news, your emotional reaction to the situation may be balanced. You are naturally disappointed, but, you aren’t lashing out to engaging in activities you’ll regret.

On the contrary, if you were in a bad mood prior to hearing the news, your emotions could send you over the edge. Thus, engaging in words or actions that you could later regret.

When considering how your mood impacts your behavior, one has to acknowledge that mood and emotions are interchangeable in a relative sense. For example, if you’re excited about getting a new job, likely your mood is going to reflect that. If you’re frustrated about your morning commute, that negative energy could transcend into the rest of the day.

Although your mood and emotions utilize different neurons and chemical processes, they’re still quite similar when it comes to how our behavior is impacted. Regardless of your emotional state, your mood is always going to be impacted by your feelings and vice-versa.

Because the two are so closely related, it’s wise to learn positive coping mechanisms that can help you control your mood when overwhelming emotions occur.

While this is no easy task, many people have found that through professional help, medication, or deep breathing exercises, they have been able to control their emotions in a way that doesn’t impact their mood.

Some examples of this are practicing mindfulness. This involves allowing emotions to filter throughout the body without judging or controlling them. You’re able to maintain your balanced mood, even in the face of extreme stress.

Developing your own set of positive coping strategies and receiving the help you need will help you learn how to effectively deal with your emotions and control your overall mood.

What Makes Your Mood?

causes of mood swings

You know what “mood” means but do you know where your mood comes from? We know the things that improve or dampen our moods but most of us also experience moods that don’t necessarily fit the situation.

Have you ever been at home in the evening and just felt down for some reason that you didn’t understand? Or have you ever been walking from your car to work in the rain and felt sunnier than usual?

There are all kinds of things that make up your mood and helping to understand some of the lesser known aspects can help you to better control and interpret your moods.

Hormones

One of the biggest biological mood impactors are your hormones. These chemical messengers are important for carrying out a number of important physical jobs in the body but many of them can have emotional “side effects,” especially when they are changing. This happens naturally during pregnancy, menopause, and periods for women and happen during puberty for girls and for boys.

There are other times that hormones can change when they aren’t supposed to, so if you think that hormones might be responsible for your bad or unpredictable mood, consider talking to your health care provider. Your doctor should be able to run some tests to help determine whether or not common hormone disorders are giving you trouble and how to treat them.

Neurotransmitters

Similar to hormones are the neurotransmitters — they work a little bit differently and are made of different materials but for the purposes of this article they’re basically the same as hormones. One of the key differences is that it’s hard to manipulate your body to produce hormones on command but it’s fairly easy to get your body to produce the neurotransmitters that you want, once you know how they work.

Oxytocin makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, and it is released when you get up close and cozy with someone. Endorphins are a feel-good chemical that your body releases when you laugh or exercise. Serotonin makes us feel good and helps us to fall asleep and is released during exercise as well as by exposure to sunlight.

So, if your hormones have you down you might be able to combat that by getting your body to release some of these chemicals instead by working out, going outside, or holding someone important to you.

Diet

Another significant mood impactor that many of us don’t think about as much as we should is diet. The hormones that we talked about above, along with other important chemical signals in the body, are made within the body from the foods that you eat. This means that if you aren’t getting enough of certain foods, it could be impacting your emotional health.

Many chemical messengers in the body are made of amino acids, which come from breaking down protein, so if you aren’t getting enough protein in your diet it could be making you feel off. Similarly, fats are required for the absorption of some vitamins so note getting enough healthy fats in your diet can cause mood problems too.

Similarly, water is required for some chemical processes that can really affect you if they aren’t running properly – that’s what makes hangovers so bad.

That may sound like a lot to remember but as long as you have a balanced diet and eat a variety of different foods, you should be okay.

Drugs

Just like hormones can go bad if your diet is off, neurotransmitters can run into problems too. Usually this isn’t because of diet, it’s because of drugs. Most drugs — prescription, illicit, and otherwise — do what they do by impacting our neurotransmitters or how they are received by the body.

Non-prescription drugs may make you feel better in the short term but after a while they make it even harder for your neurotransmitters to work the way that they are supposed to, making it harder and harder for you to feel right.

If you think that your mood might have been impacted by non-prescription drugs, consider talking to your healthcare provider who may be able to direct you to resources to help you to quit.

Prescription drugs that change your mood are usually prescribed because your neurotransmitters or their receivers were out of whack in the first place. Sometimes, however, drugs can impact your neurotransmitter system in ways that they weren’t supposed to, leading to problems with your mood that weren’t there before.

If you think that this is the case with you, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider who may be able to adjust or change your prescription to maximize benefits while minimizing negative side effects.

Many of us understand the basic things that affect our moods, like the music we listen to, or even the weather. Mood is a lot more complicated than that, however, and a better understanding of it can help us to feel our best.

5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Mood

happNo one likes being in a bad mood, but no matter how much we hate it, it still happens from time to time. There are a few things you can do to improve your mood and get yourself out of your funk if you’ve been struggling with a chronic bad mood.

In this article, we’re going to explain five easy ways that you can work on improving your mood and cut out that chronic bad mood once and for all.

1) Eat Healthier

Many people don’t understand just how much the food they eat affects their mood. If you eat a lot of junk food and aren’t getting the proper nutrition, chances are you’re going to be grumpy and fatigued a lot of the time.

Ensuring that you get the proper nutrition by eating right and getting your nutrients can greatly affect both your mood and your health daily.

2) Eliminate or Reduce Sugar

Sugar isn’t the best for us and it can exacerbate anxiety and depression. It can mess with your serotonin levels which can make it hard to balance your mood successfully. If you find yourself being highly stressed, irritable, and sluggish, you may want to see how much sugar and junk food you’re consuming.

A good way to swap out these sugary snacks is by replacing them with healthier foods like nuts, fruits, veggies, or hummus. Drinking water instead of more sugary beverages like juices, sports drinks, or sodas can also help to limit your sugar consumption.

3) Get Plenty of Sleep

Not having enough sleep can definitely affect your overall mood. Stress and anxiety can both manifest themselves in insomnia and other sleep problems, as well, making the problem an endless cycle.

Getting the proper amount of rest each night can help set you up for the next day. It can put you in a better mood and help your brain to function optimally.

4) Limit Caffeine

Caffeine can be the enemy of sleep and a source for a chronic bad mood. Many of us are more addicted to caffeine than we even realize. If you find yourself getting headaches in the absence of caffeine, you’re likely addicted.

Caffeine can make it hard for you to fall asleep or stay asleep, which can make anyone cranky, grumpy, and/or testy. It can also affect your mood directly, making you feel on edge, irritated, antsy, and even worsen anxiety.

Limiting your caffeine intake could help eliminate your chronic crankiness and bad mood.

5) Exercise Regularly

Exercising releases endorphins, which encourage a more positive mood. By regularly exercising, you canexercise regularly regularly introduce more positive energy into your body, improving your overall mood on a daily basis.

In addition to releasing endorphins, exercising can cause you to feel better about yourself and your appearance as well as feel healthier. This will help to improve your overall mood regularly by helping you to feel better about yourself and just feel better. The better you feel, the happier you’ll be.

There are a lot of things you can do to improve your daily mood overall that we haven’t mentioned in this list. For instance, spending more time outside can help to improve your mood daily. If this isn’t possible due to weather, you can get similar results by regularly taking vitamin D supplements.

These tips should get you some results in improving your bad mood, but if they don’t, you could always research more options. There are many ways to improve your mood; the hardest step is admitting that there is a need for it.

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