How often do you feel insecure? Argumentative? Impulsive? Rebellious? When was the last time you flew off the handle? Stormed off? Slammed a door? Had a teenage mood swing? Whether you blame your moodiness on out-of-control hormones or the stress of being a teenager, you're probably right. The good news is you're totally normal. The bad news is you are the owner of an adolescent brain that is still a work in progress. Being a teen is a lot like being a chick inside an eggshell. You're pushing out against the wall of the shell, trying to find your identity, struggling to break away, yet not quite ready to survive on your own. Most other animals skip this four-year gap in maturity altogether, developing rapidly from infancy to full adulthood. But we are different. Scientists have only recently discovered that this stage has its own unique biology, making at least some teenage mood swings inevitable. Researchers once believed that the teenage brain was fixed at the end of childhood, and that a teenage mood swing could be blamed on raging hormones or a lack of experience. But more recent MRI scans reveal that not only is there a major reorganization in the teenage brain, but it continues to develop until the early twenties. So it's not necessarily what happens in your life that makes you have mood swings; it's how you react to what's happening in your life. Hopefully there's some comfort in learning that your testiness is the result of your brain chemistry rather than a flaw in your personality. These are the facts: Researchers at the State University of New York say adults have a hormone called THP that's released at times of stress to help calm a person down. But this hormone works the opposite in teens, actually increasing anxiety. They aren't sure why, or how long it takes until it stabilizes in adulthood, but it certainly contributes to teenage mood swings. Scientists at San Diego State University learned that as puberty kicks in, a teen's ability to recognize other people's emotions takes a downward turn, sometimes by as much as 20%. Teens experience a sudden increase in nerve activity, leading to what they call a "noisier" brain. This temporary state may make it difficult to process information, read social situations correctly, and empathize accurately, all of which could lead to crankiness. A lack of sleep is another predictor of moodiness. While most adults start to produce the darkness hormone melatonin at about 10:00 p.m., teens studied in a sleep laboratory were found not to begin producing it until 1:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. Try to go to bed earlier to prevent mood swings from occurring.
How can you get through a teenage mood swing? Getting through adolescence and surviving it is an achievement, a rite of passage. Settle down by counting to 10 or catching your breath. Talk it out. Exercise. Sleep enough. Use your creative gene. Cry if you must. And have patience to understand this teenage mood swing will pass. If your mood does not lift, speak to a responsible adult you trust to help you overcome your teenage mood swings.
Learn about teenage mood swing and read helpful information from teen girls at BeingGirl.com.