Overcoming Garden Variety Moodiness

06/29/2015 12:02 pm ET | Updated Jun 27, 2016

Ever feel moody without it descending into a full blown mood disorder?

Moody usually means that you're disappointed in someone, something or in yourself and then you can't stop thinking about it or let it go.

When it crosses over into physiological disturbances of sleep, appetite, sexual desire or just an unshakable dark feeling, and stays stuck there, it has then crossed over into a mood disorder. If that is the case, what follows might help, but it will usually not be sufficient and you may want to consult your doctor, a psychiatrist or a psychologist.

Disappointment can be thought of as either disappointment or dysappointment.

Disappointment means that an expectation you had, didn't happen. Nothing more, nothing less. If you are emotionally resilient, you won't feel any emotional let down. Instead you'll be able to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again. And hopefully with time you'll be able to develop better judgment and therefore be able to set expectations that you can meet so as to lessen your disappointment. Or you can set unrealistic expectations if you can accept and then handle the more frequent disappointments that are part and parcel of setting them so high.

Dysappointment is disappointment that you imbue with extra emotional baggage which causes you emotional pain. You find a way to be angry at someone else or at yourself and then that anger causes you pain.

Dysappointment is different from frustration. When you feel frustrated with either someone else, something or yourself, that seems to compel you to takes some angry action towards whoever or whatever you're frustrated with or about. If that is the case, you may take some action in the heat of your frustration, that momentarily relieves you, but then you run the risk of feeling guilty or ashamed about whatever you did.

If you tend towards obsessive traits you may then have difficulty letting go of that dysappointment or frustration and when that happens you become moody.

A simple notion to keep in mind in dealing with this is that it nearly impossible to feel dysappointment or frustrated and pleasure at the same time.

Dopamine is a natural neurotransmitter (or one that is increased by medication and some recreational drugs) that appears to underlie or at least be associated with pleasure. It can be triggered through exercise and a variety of natural supplements and foods.

So... if you are feeling dysappointed or frustrated, taking any measures to increase dopamine may cause you to feel pleasure and consequently cause your moodiness to dissipate

If you don't have an obsessive nature, just increasing your dopamine might be sufficient to lift your mood.

If however you do have an obsessive nature and dwell/ruminate on things, you might then consider adding things to your life that increase serotonin. Serotonin seems to lessen such dwelling and makes it easier let things go. Exercise, various supplements and foods can help increase serotonin.

And if the above doesn't shake you free from your moodiness, don't suffer needlessly and go seek professional help.

Life is too short to accept moodiness or a mood disorder when you don't have to.