How Our Monthly Cycle Affects Our Brains

The menstrual cycle is something women are taught, in mainstream society, to be ashamed of at worst and to tolerate at best. Rarely do we think something good, let alone brilliant, can stem from its processes. We associate our period with cramps, mood swings, bloating, and rage, and we see the ups and downs of the rest of the month as our alter egos creeping up to sabotage our relationships, creativity, and overall happiness. We try our best to turn from them or even control them.

But can we take a second to slow down and look at our cycle a little more objectively? Half of society has a menstrual cycle. So why aren't we more accepting of it? Why don't we try to see that there actually is a reason for it? It's not just about sexual reproduction and shedding our uterine lining. We get waves of emotions and feelings because females are incredibly intuitive beings. Oftentimes, these "crazy" feelings are our intuition trying to tell us something important in an abrupt manner. 

Menstruation is a miraculous part of our existence. Off birth control and around other females, our periods naturally sync with the full moon. We are guided by the gravitational pull of the moon just like the ocean's tides. And just as the moon has phases, so do our periods. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. Let's take a look at the four hormonal phases and what our bodies are telling us at those times.

Follicular Phase:

Otherwise known as pre-ovulation. Physically, an egg is growing and developing and immune system cells are also developing in the wall of the uterus. Mentally, most women are filled with enthusiasm, immense creativity, and altruism/a desire to help others. Some say this is because within us, we are creating eggs (potential consciousness) and therefore are filled with creative energy in general. This is a good time to start planning creative projects.

Ovulation Phase:

 During ovulation, there is a rise in both estrogen and testosterone levels, meaning an increase in left-hemisphere brain activity (math, logic, etc.) and right hemisphere activity (creativity, arts) and an increase in libido/sexuality. Your brain is performing optimally on all levels. Your confidence and extroversion is at an all time high at this time of the month. This is because we are physically ready to become pregnant, and we're radiating on all levels to receive that. This is a good time to talk to your boss about a raise, give a presentation, or go on a first date.

Luteal Phase:

 This is when women are "most in tune with their inner knowing, and with what isn't working in their lives." (drnorthrup.com). We are almost magically in touch with our subconscious wisdom. Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are at their very highest, and then their very lowest right before menstruation. We may become easily irritated this week, as dealing with others isn't ideal at this time of introspection. Saying no and staying in may be beneficial for our comfort. Premenstrual issues and tears should not be ignored. They are related deeply to our intuition at this time, and are connected to a lot of meaning and the direction we want our lives to head in or not. Don't feel ashamed of these feelings. Try to look at them objectively and ask yourself why you are really thinking and feeling this way. This is a good time to get organized physically and mentally.

Menstruation:

 At this point, we are the most analytical we can be. Estrogen and testosterone are at their very lowest, and the left and right hemispheres of the brain are the most in sync. This means, it's a good time to think about the facts and logistics of the big picture of your life. It's less about intuition, and more about mathematically what's working and what isn't. It's a good time to handle your finances, for example. 

Don't let the "ups and downs" of each month make you feel crazy. In fact, you should feel quite the opposite. Instead of running away from, and criticizing, the way you are feeling, understand that these feelings are in place to grow the most successful you that you can be. Lean into these phases. Learn from them. Trust them. It's no coincidence that we all feel them. 

If you want to start tracking your four phases, I highly recommend the

MyFlo app

. It's $2 and creates a smart calendar that tells you when you are in each phase, and what to do to optimize your time in it. I've been having a lot of fun using it.

Fun side note - I asked my boyfriend what he thinks menstruation does to our brain and he said:

"Well - Starts with a day of crying and then it ends up becoming like a hyper awareness to everything and then that hyper awareness is, like, exacerbated by extremely opinionated defensiveness sometimes second guessed by overwhelming period doubt, in quotes. And then you wake up and the flow is gone and everything is back to normal." Is he right? I think maybe 15%, but the rest I don't understand LOL.