DBT for Mood Swings and Emotion Dysregulation


Sometimes emotions can show up intensely and unexpectedly.  It can be quite frightening to have a sudden change in mood, say from happiness to sadness, but people who suffer from emotion dysregulation disorders often experience this (and the related stress) quite frequently.

On New Year's eve, just before midnight, I was overcome with sobbing.  I had just watched the Dick Clark commemorative show, which was filled with clips from music videos that I remember seeing when I was a little girl.  My mood shifted from happiness to nostalgic to sadness and grief, and quite rapidly.

What do you do when you suddenly feel flooded with emotion?  I decided, instead of fight the urge to cry or deny that it was valid to be having the experience, to allow myself to experience and let it pass, as I knew it inevitably would. In doing this, I practiced the DBT skill of Radical Acceptance, sometimes known as, "it is what it is."

That's the great thing about emotions and moods -- they can't last forever.  It seems that if we try to fight them, deny them, or suppress them, we only give them power to become stronger. If we allow ourselves to feel safe in experiencing them -- to let them flow through us and pass, we can save ourselves a lot of needless suffering caused by resistance.

I find that such episodes can be exhausting and that much self-care and self-soothing is needed to calm my nervous system and bring me back to baseline.

Can you relate? Do you experience frequent shifts in mood?  How do you handle them?
Might you try to mindfully allow the feeling to express itself and pass next time?


Thanks for reading.
More Soon.


You may also enjoy reading:

Practicing the DBT Skill "Radical Acceptance" in Baby Steps
Radically Accepting Uncomfortable Emotions
Mood Swings and Unstable Emotions with BPD

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