7 sneaky, yet common causes of Mood Swings

7 sneaky, yet common causes of Mood Swings
We, humans, are complex creatures. We experience complex thoughts and feelings and these all inform our mood. Like when we feel tired, and there’s no time to rest, we become intolerant and irritable when we reach our threshold of patience, everyone has one – a threshold, that is.

No one wants to be described as "moody" because it's judged as a negative trait. The dictionary definition describes moody as 'given to unpredictable changes of mood, especially sudden bouts of gloominess or sullenness' or 'giving an impression of melancholy or mystery'. The second definition is much less judgemental, more intriguing, and leaves room for empathy.

The bottom line is it's quite normal to have mood swings, some would even say necessary - because without the lows we wouldn’t appreciate the ups, and all the times we’re in a great mood.

As we journey through life, we get better at noticing what influences our mood swings and how to overcome and avoid the discomfort they bring. Being alert to the repeating patterns provides insight into the possible causes, and helps us understand ourselves a little more each time. Let’s look at what can negatively impact your mood.

1. A diet in highly processed foods, sugar, and alcohol 

Foods provide nutrients to keep us alive and thriving. Highly processed foods provide quick and fast energy but that doesn’t last long, have you noticed how quickly you’re looking for something else to consume to boost your energy again? Not only that, these foods don’t provide the nurturing nutrients you need but rather burden your body, slow brain function, stress your immune system, create inflammation (and other serious health complaints), and destabilise your mood.

Foods containing refined sugars fall into this category too. They affect reward centres in the brain making you feel happy initially, but later craving more. They also have a negative effect on your blood sugar levels. Blood sugar imbalances can cause mood swings where people can feel jittery, anxious, agitated, or hyperactive.

Avoid artificial sweeteners, flavours and colours, alcohol, energy drinks and other stimulants. Like sugar they have a detrimental effect on your nervous system and brain, that will wreak havoc with your moods.

Skipping meals also causes blood sugar imbalances and can make you hungry and angry “hangry”. TIP: If you get home at the end of the day and you find yourself ravenously scouring the cupboards for a snack, and ferociously eating it, you’ve waited too long between meals – consider having an afternoon snack between lunch and dinner to help keep your mood on the up and up.

2. Lack of sleep 

Lack of sleep - we’ve all been there. When your sleep is disrupted and you’re not getting enough consistently good sleep you can bet you’ll be moody, and less tolerant. The good news is you don’t have to go it alone and there are some really great sleep support supplements that can assist you to establish a good night's sleep, every night. Sleep is a time when your brain and body heals and resets for the next day. Getting enough sleep helps you fend off mood swings and ease stresses. Sleep has also been found to positively influence healthy heart, blood pressure, weight, brain health, immunity, and more.


3. Stress

Stress – in our previous blog we talked about all the ways that stress can affect your body and we also touched on mood.

4. Disconnection 

Feeling disconnected from purposeful living, work, values, or whanau is another reason why some people can become moody or just plain sad. As humans, we need community to give us a sense of belonging and purpose. We need to have connections with people that we can relate to, people that ‘get’ us. In fact, having community and connectedness doesn’t just help your mood it also has a beneficial effect on your health, like your heart and immune system for starters. Ongoing longevity studies believe there is a tie between strong social connections living happier and longer lives.


5. Hormonal changes

Hormone changes for a woman occurs twice during her lifetime, at puberty and then menopause. Well known for causing a raft of symptoms, mood swings stand out as one of the many significant challenges. And then there’s the in-between times, the fertile years, where pre-menstrual tension, pregnancy, and motherhood are added to the mix.

For men, puberty is a little less disruptive but not to be disregarded. Puberty can be a time when depression and mood swings can also show up for young men. Then, just as for women, men’s hormones also decline in the latter years and can be the cause of irritability and grumpiness due to lowering testosterone levels – also known as andropause or male menopause.


6. Illness

People can feel moody when they’re unwell or still on the road to recovery after illness. It stands to reason that while your immune system is working hard to get you well and keep you well, your energy levels remain low, and you run out of steam earlier in the day even when you can’t afford to. Some viruses can also affect your mood long after you’ve recovered with people commonly saying their mood is low and they can’t seem to shake it off. This is where taking the time to recover and convalesce is key.

7. Environmental movements

Weather changes, planetary/moon phases, earthquakes, and disconnect from nature also influence people’s moods. Take the weather, for example, many people talk of the heaviness they feel on stormy days or how their mood lifts when the sun starts to shine after winter. And we know a full moon causes a lot of people to be very emotional at this time.

A final word about moodiness

Moodiness is a symptom and not an ailment, if you’re challenged by mood swings there will be a good reason for it and it’s OK. Identifying the reason will give you all the answers you need.

If you’re having ongoing challenges with mood swings, consult your healthcare professional to discuss this further with them.

Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor

Lifeline – 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP)

Supplements that support your mood

You can also get help with a supplement that can support your mood balance and help your body cope with stress and worry.

For more advice on which supplements will suit you best, have a free confidential chat with our Naturopath - freephone 0800 88 15 15. 

Quick Calm - is a unique formulation of Lemon Balm extract + Ashwagandha designed to quickly calm the mind and support mental focus and clarity, within 5 minutes.


Probiotics Mood + Immune - supports immunity, gut health, healthy mood balance, and stress-related digestive comfort. It contains a unique blend of 4 strains designed to support mood balance and gut health. 



Magnesium Sleep Switch - because healthy sleep patterns play an important role in mood balance and improving stress levels. Sleep also allows your brain and body to heal and reset itself for the next day.