How can we practice Yoga to manage mood swings? As anyone with experience practicing yoga can attest, the discipline does a lot to calm stress and anxiety, boost mood levels, reduce the symptoms of mild or seasonal depression, and possibly even aid the treatment of PTSD. However, you don’t have to take our word for it: a Harvard mental health study published in 2009 supports all of these positive effects and more, highlighting the benefits of yoga for those suffering from anxiety and depression, the latter of which can be a major source of mood swings.
Stress and Anxiety
Few things can put someone on edge the way an overload of stress can. This can lead to moodiness and outbursts that can harm personal, professional, and familial relationships, causing further deterioration of a person’s mental health, even among those who have never been diagnosed with anxiety or stress-related disorders. Yoga can help by preventing this overload of stress and working to calm anxiety. Yoga can even increase tolerance to stressful events by moderating uncomfortable physiological responses like raised blood pressure and heart rate.
Depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
While professional help for treating depression is recommended, using yoga to supplement therapy or medication can be just what the doctor ordered to improve quality of life and manage mood and energy levels. In a 2005 study conducted in Germany, self-reported levels of depression improved by 50% following a three-month yoga program. Anxiety levels improved as well. Even a single class has been shown to benefit those who want quick improvements. Yoga can also help chase away the winter blues by keeping the body balanced and in tune with natural cycles while boosting energy levels.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
A relatively new idea that may offer hope for those suffering from PTSD is that yoga can help stabilize a poorly tuned, always-on-alert nervous system. Walter Reed Army Medical Center is currently using yoga to help treat returning veterans for the condition. While early results look promising, only time will tell how effective yoga is in treating PTSD, including moodiness, irritability, anxiety, and depression, which all take their toll on those suffering from the disorder.
Yoga Poses for Mood Swings
If you find yourself experiencing mood swings, yoga can be a great way to help manage them. Below are some specific yoga poses that can help.
1. Child’s Pose: This pose is calming and grounding, which can help balance out any feelings of anxiety or stress contributing to your mood swings.
2. Triangle Pose: This pose helps to open up the chest and lungs, which can promote feelings of openness and joy.
3. Warrior II Pose: This powerful pose can help boost confidence and self-esteem, helping to stabilize mood swings that may be caused by low self-worth.
4. Corpse Pose: This final resting pose is incredibly relaxing and can help clear your mind of any negative or intrusive thoughts that may exacerbate your mood swings. Spending just a few minutes in each pose will not only help to improve your mood but will also leave you feeling calmer, more balanced, and more centered.
Coping on a Roller Coaster
If you’re finding yourself on an emotional roller coaster more frequently than you’d like, you may want to try some yoga. While the physical benefits of yoga are well known, the mental and emotional benefits are often overlooked. However, yoga can be extremely helpful in managing mood swings.
There are a few different types of yoga that can be helpful for mood swings. Hatha yoga is a good type of yoga to start with if you’re new to the practice. This type of yoga focuses on slow, gentle movements and deep breathing. Vinyasa yoga is another good option and can be more physically challenging than Hatha yoga.
Breathing exercises, or pranayama, are also helpful in managing mood swings. One breathing exercise that can be particularly helpful is alternate nostril breathing. To do this exercise, sit up straight with your spine erect and your eyes closed. Place your left hand on your left knee and use your right thumb and index finger to block off your right nostril. Breathe in slowly and deeply through your left nostril, then close off your left nostril with your ring finger and release your right nostril. Breathe out slowly through your right nostril.
Side Notes for Pranayama
Repeat this process several times, alternating sides. Yoga and pranayama can be extremely effective in managing mood swings. However, it’s important to remember that these practices should be used in addition to, not as a replacement for, traditional medical care.
If you’re struggling with mood swings, you’re not alone. Many people experience highs and lows in their moods daily; for some, these swings can be severe. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to managing mood swings, meditation can be a helpful tool. Meditation can help calm the mind and bring a sense of inner peace. It can also help to control emotions and reduce stress levels.
When practiced regularly, meditation can help balance the mind and body, leading to more stable moods. There are many different ways to meditate, so it’s important to find a method that works for you. There are guided meditations available online and through apps, or you can practice independently. If you’re new to meditation, start with short sessions and gradually increase the length of time you meditate each day. Mood swings are a normal part of life, but they can be tough to deal with.
1. Start by finding a comfortable seated position. You can sit on the floor with your legs crossed or in a chair with your feet on the ground.
2. Take a few deep breaths in and out through your nose, allowing your belly to expand on the inhale and fall back in on the exhale.
3. Once you’re relaxed, repeat a mantra to yourself silently. A mantra is a short, powerful phrase that you can focus on to help still your mind. Some examples of mantras for managing mood swings are “I am at peace,” “I am calm and serene,” or “I am surrounded by love and light.”
4. Repeat your chosen mantra to yourself as often as you need to until you feel your mood begin to shift. You can also try visualizing yourself surrounded by peaceful energy or light while you repeat the mantra.
Food for Thought
Overall, yoga has substantial benefits for those who experience mood swings and other symptoms of psychological distress. Even in the short-term, it can give sufferers a side-effect-free way to manage moods and regain control over their emotional lives.
Bedtime Yoga Strategy
Healthy sleep prepares the body and mind for the following day. Bedtime yoga is a gentle way to relax the body before sleeping and manage mood swings. There are many different bedtime poses that can be used to help regulate emotions and calm the mind. Below are some of the most effective bedtime poses for managing mood swings.
1. Child’s Pose: This pose helps to calm the nervous system and ease anxiety and stress.
2. Puppy Pose: This pose is helpful for relieving tension in the back and shoulders, which can help reduce irritability.
3. Paschimottanasana: This pose helps to lengthen and stretch the spine, which can help alleviate feelings of sadness and depression.
4. Savasana: This pose is excellent for Relaxation and promoting a sense of wellbeing.
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