Sometimes being moody is a good thing. For women, small fluctuations in mood allow for a more personal analysis of one’s emotions. Expressing these emotions is important, which is why it’s vital not to repress one’s moodiness. Psychiatrist Julie Holland discusses the many benefits of small bad moods and why unnatural remedies don’t always offer a solution. Holland is the author of the new book Moody Bitches.
Julie Holland: The idea of why being moody can be good for you really has to do with taking advantage of one of the biggest strengths and assets that women have, which is this intuition. Knowing that something is wrong, feeling that something is wrong, and then optimally speaking up about it.
The first thing to keep in mind I think that’s very important is that a mood disorder, which is a sort of a psychiatric diagnosis, that’s not what we’re talking about. What I’m talking about is an emotion that comes over you and lasts maybe 15 to 90 seconds and then if you really feel it and allow it to pass, it will. Moods can change minute to minute and someone who is moody exhibits a lot of different moods. And what we’re talking about really is the expression of emotion, feeling an emotion, sitting with it, really understanding it, and then conveying it to somebody else. This is how I feel.
So, for example: Say in the days leading up to your period where you may feel that you’re more sensitive to your environment or that you have a thinner skin or you’re crying more easily or more sensitive to rejection, it’s actually good to pay attention to these sort of things because the truth is the rest of the month you’re sort of sealing that over. You’re repressing it; you’re stifling it; you’re covering it over. But those things are actually important and what you’re feeling, for instance, perhaps you’re dissatisfied with somebody or a relationship or something in your life. The rest of the month, you know, you’re pretty easy, breezy, and accommodating, but then those few days before your period where you do start to be more discerning and critical, it’s important to pay attention to that sort of thing.
If we feel our emotions and are able to express, you know, "What you’re doing is upsetting to me. I think what you’re doing is wrong." Everybody benefits and hopefully behaviors improve.
One of my concerns that I write about in Moody Bitches is that I’m worried that because so many people now are choosing to take psychiatric medications and antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds that they’re tamping down how they feel. And, you know, sometimes intuition is about having an uneasy feeling, you know. Something is wrong and I’m a little bit anxious and if you stop and think about how you’re feeling and you pay attention to whether you get anxious or not, you can really take advantage of that.
The further away we get from nature and from what is natural for us as social primates, the more sick and miserable we’re going to be. I mean I’m seeing this in my private practice in psychiatry for decades now that if someone is sort of truer to themselves and how they feel and how they are and also doing things that are more natural for us like moving your body, being outside, getting some sun. You know there are very real consequences to moving away from nature and what’s natural for us.