Mood Changes and Cycles

Because springtime is coming and many people feel a burst of energy with the increase in sunlight, it seemed like a good time to discuss some of the normal cycles that many people experience. When you are feeling a burst of energy , starting new projects, coming up with new ideas and generally moving out into the world, you are in what is called the expansive mode. This is the cycle that feels good as you expand out from your typical ways of being in the world. It is possible to get a little scattered as you take on a number of new things or make changes in your life. Although this cycle has many rewards, it does require a lot of energy and there comes a time when it cannot be continued as you begin to feel worn out and in need of some “down time.”

This leads naturally into the period that is called contraction, which is a pulling in of your energy and a time to reflect and consolidate your activities. This time is a time where you need to rest and may feel more of a need for solitude. Because our society tends to value the high energy person who is always thinking of the next thing, many people feel that there is something wrong with them when they want some alone time and do not feel particularly social. These cycles are normal and natural and all humans experience them.

There are mood problems such as cyclothymia and bipolar where the mood shifts are dramatic, intense and frequent. These are different than the normal cycles that we all feel. They may need to be evaluated and you may need help learning to manage your mood shifts from a therapist. You can tell the difference by noticing that your daily functioning is compromised by a more serious mood disorder to the point that you may not feel able to get out of bed or leave the house in the down phase. Signs that you may need help in the up phase include an inability to stay on any of the new projects to completion or integration and you have impulsive urges that you are having trouble controlling. If you have concerns about this, do not hesitate to contact me via email at or 404-320-6510.