Emotions and the menstrual cycle
”You are very sensible today”, “don’t get aggressive or defensive” or “there is no one that can understand you”. Yes, sometimes we are all of those. Even we could be in all those different emotional states in just one day. Because we are not linear, we are cyclical, changeable. As the seasons sometimes we can jump from wanting to dance incessantly to wanting to be alone and in silence in minutes. And the worst you can do is to consider it a problem or a flaw. Who said that it is good to be always the same? Don't they tell us that variety is great? Or better yet: instead of underestimating changes or fighting against them, why not learn and understand yourself better and become friends with all these thoughts and emotions that come to us?
Yes, I know. To almost start crying over something that you know is not important can be a little annoying but… so what? Think about it: sometimes we force ourselves into a way of acting according to society norms that has never taken into account cyclicality and this way we forget to listen to our bodies and take care of ourselves. It’s true that we all have obligations we can't change, but there are many other things that you can do to live your cycle better, to feel good with yourself emotionally and, by default, in other areas of your life. To respect your emotions will do your periods calmer, I can assure you this .
Because when you go against your emotions or thoughts you create stress and anxiety and, even if you don’t notice it, you are creating reactive hormones as consequence. Yes… The hormones! They seem little devils circulating through our bodies and making us change, but they are not, instead they are little warriors trying to equilibrate everything so you can feel good. Listening to them doesn’t hurt and if you ally with them, it will be for sure beneficial for you.
To understand them, let’s review what we know (or you can check out our previous article for deeper information about the hormones and the menstrual cycle here): the menstrual cycle is composed by several phases and it has a duration of approximately 28 days, although it can last between 21 and 35 days and still be normal. There are different hormones: the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH) and ovarian hormones - estrogens and progesterone, which are secreted by the ovaries in response to the hormones FSH and LH.
These hormones are not secreted in constant quantities along the whole cycle, which is why they affect your emotions depending on which hormone is the one predominating in each moment of the cycle. Moreover, don’t forget that there are many other factors that can influence, but it is clear that depending on the moment of the cycle that you are in it, is can be easier or harder to adopt one attitude or another.
How am I emotionally and personally in each phase of the menstrual cycle?
It is the phase with less hormonal activity. It is the moment to rest the body and the mind. It is the ideal phase to think, reflect and meditate, in fact meditation is a great way to connect with your body in this phase and can be very beneficial. These are introspection days, that prefer calm and that seek connection with what really matters. You may experience more personal reflection and you may be thinking more about your feelings regarding many topics. Your sensitivity is very high, not just emotionally, but also to experience for example art: music, movies, painting… It will get to you on a deeper level. It is also a phase in which, if you have a tendency to it, you will be more creative.
TAKE ADVANTAGE TO…
- Rest as much as you can and lower the pace: resisting and not doing it in this phase will make you feel worse on the physical and emotional levels.
- Think over and extract insights on those emotions and situations that don’t make you feel good and think if you want them with you.
- Reconsider what you want in life and prepare yourself to put it into practice during the next phase.
- Don’t block your emotions or thoughts that come to you even if you are sensitive. Neither give them a major bearing, just live them and if you think there is something important, write it down and read it in one week time to see if still seems as important to you.
The power phase in which you think “I can accomplish anything”. In this phase, you will have a faster, more decisive and dominant thinking than in other phases. You see things clearly in the organisation and in the future. During these days you will have a more stable mood, although without fancying big social or group plans, neither in the workplace nor with the family. In this phase you are also a lynx for the details, nothing escapes from you because these are days in which you feel active, effective, dynamic and competitive; the best organising. It is the ideal moment for physical work: synapses between neurons are improved and more endorphins will be produced. Individualism and positive ego will claim space in this phase, it will be difficult to work in groups.
TAKE ADVANTAGE TO…
- Do those things that you are normally too lazy to do!
- It is the ideal moment to set new goals, start work and personal projects, diets, quit smoking, etc.
- Finish all those heavy tasks and procedures faster and more easily than in other phases.
- Fight for what you consider fair but be careful with your strong and dominant thinking.
- Delay social commitments if you can: the individualism is rising in this phase.
- Give yourself some space for this productive phase, take advantage of the future vision that you have.
- It is a good moment to make lists, schedule work, do what we feel laziest to do, study and put mental and physical order. Leave everything ready for the rest of the cycle, you will appreciate it.
In this phase, you will be kinder with the relationships. You will be more empathetic, receptive, willing to negotiate, comprehensive and flexible. You can be the ideal friend who listens with patience to others, you will be very communicative. Moreover, the altruism is greater in these days, you even become more protective. Also, you are more flirty in this phase, it is the ideal moment for sexuality: High libido! Your sensuality and the desire to flirt are waking up! Without noticing it you may end up spending more time thinking of what to wear, taking care of some personal details and paying attention to the way your hair looks when in other phases you just don’t care. Intellectually it is harder to study or go for a deep read.
TAKE ADVANTAGE TO…
- Meet with friends, it will make you feel good in these moments.
- Network, work in groups and engage in all kinds of collective activities.
- A good moment for social media.
- A good moment to argue with your partner (if you have one) as you will understand better the other person and mediate with more success.
- A good moment to ask for a rise or, for example, to renegotiate agreements since you will have a greater negotiation capability.
- The aesthetic sense is refined: take the opportunity to redecorate, inspire yourself, go shopping, …
- Enjoy your fantasies, live them as they come and explore your desires.
This is the feared phase, the one that has a bad fame. It is true that you will be more vindictive, less patient, tolerant and harder, you may even have some rage in certain moments and especially around the arrival of the menstruation. But it is important to acknowledge that in this phase the feelings are shown with most honesty: all that irritates or bothers us will be manifested in this phase and in the next one in a physical and emotional way. We can find ourselves sad and in a bad mood without knowing why. Criticism towards others and yourself seems to have no limits in certain moments. It is also a phase of high intuition and very high emotional sensibility. At the end of the phase, you may feel the physical symptoms such as low back pain, headache, chest pain, swelling, acne, etc. So please do yourself a favour and reduce gradually your life pace and the stress.
TAKE ADVANTAGE TO…
- Don’t fight against what you feel: you will only make your symptoms, negativity and anger worse.
- It is not a good moment for making decisions.
- It is not a good moment for arguing, if you can resist…
- Doing exercise will help to produce endorphins and improve your feelings.
- Be careful with the negative thoughts and the intolerance: pay attention to the message behind those thoughts.
- Reduce the pace as the phase progresses and spend a few minutes every day only for yourself.
- Diet can affect a lot the mood in this phase.
As you can see, there are many different ways to live your cyclicity. Moreover, each of us has a personal character that we have to understand in each state and phase: a shy or not very talkative person won’t live or experience the same as an extrovert or straightforward one. Thus, the best is to take notes now that you know the tendency in each phase of the menstrual cycle and how to take advantage of yourself with one goal in mind: to boost your emotional and personal well-being.
Written by our expert in Sexology,
Menstrual Therapist and Affective-Sexual Therapist.