6 Types of Moods Women Have & 6 Ways to Keep Them Under Control

moody woman pms

Are you a moody bitch? I'll admit it, I sure am. And I'm not sorry, either -- especially since I've found out that being a little moody can be hella useful.

 

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I've been reading a new book called Moody Bitches: The Truth About the Drugs You're Taking, The Sleep You're Missing, The Sex You're Not Having, and What's Really Making You Crazy by psychiatrist Dr. Julie Holland. It's about the many, many moods most of us women have, and what those moods may be trying to tell us. We asked Holland to tell us more. 

1. Fear and anxiety. "It's been good for our survival that we're hypervigilant, alert and sensitive to our environment," Holland says. It's not a state you want to stay in all the time, but it can be useful.

2. Irritability. "Occasionally being irritable and dissatisfied is a great opportunity to make changes in your life," Holland says. The thing is, whatever thoughts and feelings that get amplified during PMS are true all month long -- it's just that you're feeling them more strongly at that time of the month. And that can be a helpful alarm for you.

"A lot of women have trouble saying 'no' and setting limits," Holland says. "It's like a martyr resentment cycle." Over time, if you take on too much, you start feeling depleted, which leads to feelings of resentment. "So when you're feeling low, take notes and keep track of where you're bending too much and giving too much. Try to pull back on that the rest of the month."  

3. Sadness, blues. Don't apologize for supposedly overreacting when your feelings are hurt. "Tears and crying are a very efficient indicator to people that there is a problem," Holland insists. Especially if it's a man who has hurt your feelings -- they tend to miss emotional signals, so you do sometimes have to get overt with them.

And yes, moms, it's okay to cry in front of your kids. "Tears can underscore lessons," Holland says. "If they do something reckless that scares you, it gives them feedback on their behavior." Even tears of joy are okay. By seeing your intense emotions in response to their actions, kids get valuable feedback. They learn their behavior affects other people's feelings.

4. Hangry. Or just plain hungry. We tend to crave carbs and sugar during PMS when we're running low on serotonin. It's important to pay attention to your cravings, even if you satisfy them through other means than Ben and Jerry's.

5. Lusty or turned off. It's not your imagination -- your level of horniness fluctuates depending on where you are in your cycle. Not surprisingly, you're at your most frisky at mid-cycle, when you're at your most fertile. But we're also more attracted to hot, alpha males at that point. That's why the lower-libido days are helpful -- that's when we're more attractive to sweeter, nurturing types who are more likely to stick around.

More from The Stir: Shocking Benefits to Having Orgasms

A word of warning: The combination of hormonal birth control with antidepressants can crush your libido. Holland says if you have to be on antidepressants and want your sex life back, see if you can lower your dosage and you should definitely switch to a non-hormonal birth control like a cervical cap.

6. Calm optimism. On the other end of the spectrum, you have that phase in your cycle when your estrogen levels are surging. "This calms you down and gives you that 'whatever, I can do it' feeling," Holland says. It puts you in accommodation mode. This isn't necessarily your "default" mode, though -- it's no more or less normal than when you're feeling irritable or sad. It just means your more patient with and tolerant of the various challenges in your life.

Once you slow down and start paying attention to what your moods are telling you, there are several things you can do to manage your moods for a smoother ride through life.

1. Eat better. Next time you're craving carbs and sweets, turn to serotonin-boosting foods that are high in tryptophan instead, like nuts, seeds, spirulina, eggs, milk, cheese, fish, spinach, hormone-free dark meat turkey, and bananas. Eat when you're feeling hungry, but first ask yourself if you feel like eating because you're trying to numb other feelings.

2. Get better rest. Don't screw up your metabolism and circadian rhythms; Unplug before you go to bed. Holland recommends avoiding screens two hours before bedtime. But even if you can't manage that, at least don't let your phone be the last thing you see before you close your eyes.

3. Go run. Regular cardio exercise can be as effective at improving your mood and energy level (and reducing feelings of blahhh) as antidepressants. If you hate running, there's spin, dancing -- all kinds of alternatives work as long as you're elevating your heart rate by moving your body.

4. Get some light. Surprisingly, light therapy may be even more effective than cardio in treating depression. We're still learning about what it can do (talk with a therapist if you're interested), but in the meantime, see if you can get some natural sunlight especially first thing in the morning.

5. Have better sex. We've said it so many times here at The Stir: Sex is amazing for your health, especially if you climax. Find out what turns you on and make it happen, whether that's oral or the vibrator (not to get too explicit or anything!). Get rid of the barriers to good sex. And truly connect with your partner.

6. Respect the moods. Accept that they're a normal part of your life as a female and plan around them. Educate the men in your life about your moods. Men are often fearful of strong emotions from women -- it makes them feel out of control. But the more they know about cycles and moods, the better they become at predicting your behavior and (HOPEFULLY!) supporting you.

Have you ever thought of your moods as helpful?

 

Image via Radharani/Shutterstock

 

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