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Managing Your Mood: Understanding Mood Shifts and Trigger Points for Better Mental Health

manage your life
manage your life

During the day, how often does your mood change or shift? What causes your mood to change? And how drastic is the change? Does you mood shift progressively or suddenly? And how is your behavior affected? Everyone has trigger points. Identify your trigger points and try to modify your response. When I was conducting group therapy, some guys got so angry, they punched a hole in the wall or picked up a chair and threw it across the room. Well, they were in the right place: group therapy.

It is common for people go through different emotional moods from sad to elevated dispositions. Some people with a mood disorder suffer from severe or prolonged mood states that disrupt their daily functioning. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, mood disorders are major depressive disorders, bi-polar disorder, and dysthymia. If one extreme mood is displayed it’s depression, called unipolar. Bipolar depression or bi-polar disorder, at times called manic-depression, is when two extreme moods are experienced. In other words, low moods, and high moods.

When I was at Walmart in California, I observed some people talking non-stop and being excessively cheerful. I would ask myself, is he on meth or is his manic side of being bi-polar being exposed? Way too happy. But mood disorders tend to run in families. There is an imbalance of certain chemicals carrying signals between brain cells. But stress caused by divorce, money problems, death of family members can lead to depression. The key point is to become aware of your mental functioning. Pay attention to what sets you off and how you react. Back to Pavlov’s stimulus-response theory.

After being raised in New York City and being robbed, beat up, and insulted, my reaction was to join the Marines during Vietnam. When I left, I had a lot of anger issues. I knew I was angry; I was beyond angry when I left the Corps. But in the late 60s and 70s, Growth Groups, or T-groups, encounter groups, weekend therapy groups, Hatha Yoga, Meditation, Sufi dances, and Hare Krishna outdoor vegetarian lunches and singing in the park, were the rage. Cautiously, I jumped on the road to enlightenment, I had to grow beyond my psychological and emotional level of functioning. I became a vegetarian; I went from a combat-trained Marine to a vegetarian. My dad asked if I was hippie.

To reduce one’s anger, depression, or mania, it’s good to have a support group. When I was an undergraduate, I was renting a house with a group of Vietnam Vets, the parties were great, and the stress was reduced. We stuck together and helped each other out. I was never depressed or angry.

“The prevalence of major depressive episodes is higher among adult females than males (8.7 percent vs. 5.3 percent),” according to a 2021 article in Psyhcology Today by Hara Estroff Marano.

“Depression commonly manifests as sadness, worthlessness, and guilt in women; in men, as irritability, anger, or aggression. The prevalence of major depressive episodes among adults is highest among individuals ages 18 to 25 (13.1 percent).”

A mood disorder is a mental health condition that primarily affects your emotional state. Mood disorders typically have symptoms that affect your mood, sleep, eating habits, energy levels and thinking abilities. Most commonly used mood stabilizers are lithium or a combination of lithium and valproic acid. Just be mindful of unwanted side effects. Talk to your doctor before you decide to start a medication program.

Change your diet, exercise more and try a variety of vitamin supplements. According to WebMD, vitamins may be helpful to enhance your mood. Valerian root is an herbal remedy often used for anxiety. Lavender in aromatherapy or essential oils has been shown to help relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression. Omega-3 fatty acids found in cold water fish and certain vegetable oils, are sometimes used to help depression and other psychological problems. B vitamins are essential for cell metabolism and central nervous system maintenance. Despite lack of evidence of effectiveness, Vitamin D has been used as a mood enhancer.

The good news is that you are not alone. More than 20 million American adults have a mood disorder and 40 million have an anxiety disorder, minus the average worrywart suffering an occasional bout of the blues. Get out there and have fun! Change your lifestyle, change your life.

About the Author:

Hilary Valdez is a freelance Writer living in Tokyo, Japan.  He is an experienced Mental Health professional and Resiliency Trainer. Valdez is a former Marine and has worked with the military most of his career and most recently worked at Camp Zama as a Master Resiliency Trainer. Valdez now has a private practice and publishes books on social and psychological issues. His books are available on Amazon and for Kindle.

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