Why mood swings occur and how to balance mood

Mood swings decoded

Feeling more hot and cold than a Katy Perry song? We take a look at some of the reasons why you might be ecstatic one moment and irritable the next…

Feeling more hot and cold than a Katy Perry song? We take a look at some of the reasons why you might be ecstatic one moment and irritable the next – and share some simple things you can do to help free yourself from wild mood swings.


Hormones can affect the chemistry of the brain, leading to mood swings. Women are particularly susceptible to experiencing hormone related mood swings as they generally experience more hormonal fluctuations than men.

PMS can contribute to mood swings. In the two weeks prior to your period, your progesterone and oestrogen (sex hormones) levels change drastically, which can alter your serotonin (the feel good neurotransmitter) levels.

To help combat PMS related mood swings, try upping your intake of calcium rich foods like dark green leafy vegetables, tahini, broccoli, tofu, tempeh, and blackstrap molasses. Exercising for 30 minutes a day can also aid in reducing PMS symptoms.


Your afternoon coffee run could be the reason behind your erratic mood! Caffeine stimulates the nervous system and causes the brain to release dopamine and serotonin (happy chemicals), resulting in an elevated mood. However, everything that goes up must come down, and these highs can result in energy slumps and low mood.

An excess of caffeine can also simulate your flight or flight response and make you hyperaware, resulting in anxiety.

If you absolutely can’t live without coffee, try limiting your intake to one a day in the morning, and switch to herbal tea for the rest of the day. We love dandelion tea – it makes a great coffee-tasting coffee substitute! Try it black or latte-style with your favourite plant-based mylk.


We’ve explored how gut health can affect your mood. The same rings true for blood sugar levels – both of which are influenced by your diet.

Like caffeine, sugar intake stimulates the nervous system, causing the brain to release serotonin and dopamine. But after a sugar high comes a sugar crash, leading to feeling irritable. Balanced blood sugar levels mean a steadier emotional state.

To ensure your blood sugar stays balanced, embrace a diet with plenty of slow-to-break-down fibre from fresh vegetables, fruit, wholegrains, legumes (chickpeas, beans and lentils), nuts and seeds. Plant-based protein sources like tofu, tempeh, legumes, nuts and seeds are also your blood sugar’s best friend.

Lack of sleep

Sleep is our time for the body to restore and heal, as well as emotionally process the day at a subconscious level. Not sleeping enough can lead to low mood, increased stress, feelings of anxiety, and naturally; tiredness and fatigue.

Aim for at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Ditch your technological devices an hour before bedtime, and wind down with a calming cup of chamomile or lemon balm tea to improve the quality of your sleep.


Similarly to PMS, menopause causes a dramatic change in hormone levels. During menopause, progesterone and oestrogen levels decline, causing your serotonin level to decrease. Other menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and sleep issues can also cause irritability and contribute to mood swings.

A protein and omega-3 rich diet, adequate sleep, and daily exercise can reduce mood swings menopause. Additionally, having supportive friendships can help maintain a balanced mood.

Join our community and be inspired! Sign up to our newsletter for weekly advice, fun facts and info to support your plant-powered journey. We’ll share special offers and our new dishes with you too.

You may enjoy:

Healthier gut, happier mind?

Top 5 adaptogens for mood & stress support

5 foods to enhance your mood, naturally

Published: 08/05/19

Comments are closed.