How good are you at controlling and dealing with your emotions? Are you one of those people who are capable of staying calm despite everything that’s happening around them? Or do you find yourself feeling overwhelmed more often than you’d like? Maybe you’re just wondering “Why am I irritable lately?”
Despite what you may think, moodiness and irritability (or hypersensitivity) are actually quite common. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 9.7% of Americans have experienced a mood disorder in the past year. One in five people will experience some type of mood disorder throughout their lives.
Typically, we attribute the causes of moodiness and irritability to hormones or mental health issues. But there’s much more to the story than that. Here are some of the top alternative answers to the question “Why am I irritable?”
Plenty of research has been conducted on the interconnectedness of stress and mood disorders. And there’s still a lot to learn – especially when it comes to stress management. But one thing is for sure. Elevated stress levels, especially when experienced chronically, lead to or exacerbate mood disorders.
Psychoneuroimmunology has discovered a link between chronic stress and:
- bipolar disorder
- cognitive problems
- personality changes
- problem behaviors
So, if you feel hypersensitive, it might be time to check the stressors you’re dealing with. Are there any triggers that you can cut out of your life? Is there any way you can change your approach to stressful situations? Can you use stress management techniques in your daily routine?
None of these have to be huge changes. But you’re sure to feel their impact, so why not give them a go?
Stress might seem like a logical explanation for why you feel so moody. However, most people don’t even stop to think about their diets. But here’s the thing: what you eat can very much impact how you feel. And not just physically.
Nutritional psychiatry research shows a strong correlation between poor diet habits and mood disorders. For example, a Western diet has been proven to boost the chances of experiencing depression by 25% to 35%. Moreover, an unbalanced gut microbiome can negatively affect serotonin production. And, diets high in refined sugars boost the effects of oxidative stress.
Next time you wonder “Why am I irritable,” ask yourself: do you eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables along with whole grains? Or do you skip straight to the processed and sugary treats? Eating better can be part of the solution to helping your body and mind feel better. You can even include some brain-boosting foods in your everyday routine. They’ll help ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need to be healthy and happy.
Medications & Substance Use
Sometimes, the reason behind mood disorders can be something a bit more serious, like the medication you’re taking. For example, even something as benign as birth control can cause people to feel depressed. Or, regular substance use (like having too much alcohol or caffeine) might contribute to feeling down in the long run.
Does this sound like the potential culprit of your moodiness? Perhaps you need to make slight adjustments to your everyday routine or speak to your doctor about your medicines. Seeing as how even a small change in dosage can make a tremendous positive difference, it’s definitely worth a shot.
Insufficient or Low-Quality Sleep
How good are you at prioritizing rest in your life? Because, as research shows, insufficient sleep can cause you to feel negative emotions (like anger or frustration).
Moreover, it appears that sleep deprivation lowers our ability to deal with stress. People who aren’t getting enough rest report feeling:
- greater subjective stress
- anger when put in low-stressor conditions
If you feel that you’re often moody, it might not be a bad idea to look into your sleep patterns. If you’re not getting enough rest, experiment with creating a more suitable environment for sleep. Or research some of the techniques that may help you fall asleep faster. But, if you’re sleeping too much, it might be time to seek the help of a medical professional.
Hidden Health Issues
Last but not least, we have to address the last possible cause of mood disorders – poor health. Medical conditions like hormone imbalance, poor thyroid function, diabetes, and even some cardiovascular conditions can cause depression, moodiness, and rapid mood swings. So, if you can’t find any other logical explanation for feeling emotionally unstable, and you’re still wondering “why am I irritable,” it’s a good idea to look into these.
There are a number of things can cause you to feel emotionally unwell. But, the good news is that help is out there. So, whether you do your own research or get the help of a professional, know that you’re on the right path.