March 6, 2014

Breaking The Spell - Learn To Control Your PMS Mood Swings

During that "time of the month" it can sometimes feel like you are under an evil spell. The circumstances of your life look grayer, people are more irritating, and nothing seems interesting. Some months it is more severe than others. But, even though it happens every month, many of us are taken by surprise every month. We fall into the depressed mood and negative thoughts as if they are the reality of our lives.

I had a client who came in this week looking down and agitated. The spark she normally has in her eyes seemed to have dulled. After sharing the long list of things she was upset about, it came out that she was about to start her period. She had not realized how much this had affected her mood and general outlook on life. 

People often buy into their negative feelings as if they are facts. For this particular client, she felt like she woke up feeling ugly and fat, and so she was sure she looked uglier that day. She did not want to see people or have them see her in this condition. When we talked about the effect that PMS has on her, she seemed relieved to acknowledge that her feelings were likely affected by hormones, and not by the reality of how she actually looked. We talked about the fact that our feelings are not always the facts of our lives.

But what can you do to break the spell when you are feeling down because of PMS? First, track your cycle. There are apps that can help you do that such as Period Tracker. The app helps you keep track of when you will start your cycle as well as keep a log of your mood on different days. Knowing what your body is about to experience gives you a way to anticipate the down mood that might be coming. 

Second, talk back to the negative thoughts that pop into your head. For example, when my client's brain told her she was ugly and fat, she could have responded with comments like, "It is not physically possible that I became fat over night,  or I think my hair still looks shiny and pretty today." Don't allow the negative thoughts to linger or they will poison your mood. Remind yourself that you feel this way because of your period, and that the spell will soon lift and you will feel back to normal. Those PMS mood swings do not have to control you life. Be aware and use the tools at your disposal to fight the spell.

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