How the Phases of the Moon Affect Your Mood

March 6, 2020

Sure, it’s easy to blame Mercury retrograde as the cause whenever something goes wrong (whether or not we’re mid-retrograde), but as it turns out, the moon’s influence could be the reason you’re feeling on edge. While the gravitational pull of the moon is responsible for the rise and fall of Earth’s tides, its specific placement in its lunar cycle can have an impact on your overall mood, whether you’re feeling sluggish, anxious, productive, or all of the above. Here, we outline how each phase of the moon impacts your overall mood, and how to deal with the ebb and flow of your own emotional state in the process. 


The new moon kicks off the lunar cycle, and the brand new rotation can be significant of new beginnings in different areas of your life. This dark phase of the moon may make you feel more introspective than usual, retreating to the comfort of your couch and streaming devices over a night out with friends. You’ll also find yourself sleeping deeper and longer than usual. Pay attention to the dreams you’re having (yes, even the weird ones featuring the high school crush you haven’t seen in decades), and use this transformative time to set an intention for the rest of the lunar cycle. This is the rebirth phase, so reflecting on goals and setting focus on where you want to be is especially effective right now. 


Remember those goals you set during the new moon phase? As the moon is gradually getting larger, that’s the time to start acting on them. Figuratively speaking, the waxing phase lights a fire under your ass, charging you with energy and ambition to go out and get it done. That new project you’re starting? Consider it done. Your laundry? Washed, dried, and folded. That obnoxious, menial task you’ve put off for 3 months? Finished in 10 minutes. To the tune of the Beyoncé song you have on repeat, you’re feeling motivated to cross items off your to-do list, take action, and refine the skills you already have before the full moon takes shape. Go for the gold and channel that energy, but make a point to focus on self-care in your downtime by way of a relaxing bath, a chill night with friends, and extended nightly skincare practices.


Just like your friend who knows all the ins and outs of your birth chart always says, weird things are always bound to happen during a full moon. Spoiler alert: They’re entirely right. The full moon and new moon are at opposite points during a lunar cycle, so while the new moon had you turning inward, the full moon will bring on heightened emotions, for better or for worse, and a release of energy. You may experience pretty dramatic mood swings — going from passionate to combative at a moment’s notice — and sometimes feel anxious over all the energy swirling around you. While getting to your ideal REM state wasn’t an issue during the new moon, you may experience restlessness during the full moon. Try to take a beat, acknowledge that the highs and lows will be more intense during this time, and reflect on positive things. What are you grateful for? What were you proud to accomplish during the waxing phase? Go slow, and be gentle with yourself. 


As the moon starts to retreat back toward the new phase, you’ll find the energy getting less intense by the day, allowing you to slow down and give more time to your inner thoughts. Consider this period the spring cleaning, decluttering phase, where you can focus on what sparks joy for you — emotionally, physically, or spiritually — and letting go of things that no longer apply. (Read: That pair of jeans you wore once, hated, but held onto in hopes you’d one day wear them again.) While certain things may be coming to a close, this allows new beginnings to take shape, getting you ready for the new moon period to start all over again. 

At the end of the lunar cycle, take a minute to reflect on those initial intentions you set at the beginning. How did that go? Are there any ways you could have tackled your goals differently? Keep it in mind for next time around, and make sure to recognize the things you did achieve during this cycle. When life feels a little too much, just remember: If you can deal with the chaotic energy of the full moon period, you can do it all.