Big change coming up? How your hormones affect how you handle it

My Hormonology

Big change coming up? How your hormones affect how you handle it

race1If you’re planning to make a big change sometime soon–say, starting a new job, launching a big project, taking a trip or moving–keep in mind that your hormones can influence how you react to a major upheaval.

Here’s what to expect as you undergo a big change each week of your monthly cycle:

Week 1: You’re more hopeful
Day 1 (first day of period) to Day 7
Your estrogen level starts out at rock-bottom on Day 1 (the first day of your period) and slowly rises all week. Not too coincidentally, your outlook and optimism follow a similar path–starting out low, then increasing day by day. That’s because as the level of this hormone rises, it boosts levels of feel-good chemicals in the brain. The result: The further along you get into your Week 1, the more hopeful and positive you feel about the big change coming your way. You’re more prone to focusing on the benefits of this experience and more likely to resolve to overcome any challenges that might pop up so you can make the best of the new transition.

Week 2: You’re easily excited
Day 8 to ovulation (Day 14 in a 28-day cycle)
Thanks to high estrogen, which is pumping up feel-good brain chemicals to cycle-long highs, you’re more open to embracing change and tend to get more enjoyment out of breaking out of old ruts and forging a new path. You’re also likely to find a silver lining in each aspect of the new experience–whether it’s a clear benefit, say, a bigger paycheck–or what could have been seen as an obstacle–such as different work hours.

Week 3: You’re cautious
Begins day after ovulation and lasts 8 days (which is Day 15 to Day 22 in a 28-day cycle)
Lower levels of estrogen combined with safety-loving progesterone can make you slow to embrace a big change. That’s because this hormone combination makes you more concerned about the long-term results (for instance, whether a new project can help further your career) as well as all the little details involved (for example, which moving company to hire). As a result, it may take you far more time to make all the many decisions associated with the big change you’re undergoing because you’re endlessly weighing the pros and cons of each option.

Week 4: You’re prone to second-guessing
Final 6 days of cycle
As estrogen plunges in your premenstrual week, it’s dragging down your confidence with it. As a result, you may worry whether you’re doing everything required of you for this big change the right way, for instance, you may fret that you’re not following a new boss’s instructions correctly or that you’re not going to find the right airport gate to catch your flight. When anxiety overtakes you, take a few deep, slow breaths. Then resolve to double-check and triple-check all details so you can be confident that you’re doing everything the exact way you’re supposed to. And remind yourself of past times you got key details right, so you remember that you’re capable of doing so again.

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