How do hormones affect confidence in your appearance?

My Hormonology

How do hormones affect confidence in your appearance?



Ever notice how one day you can feel super-confident about how you look and think, “Not too shabby!” when you look in the mirror? But, then another day, you’ve got zero confidence about your appearance and are focused on so-called flaws whenever you take a peek at yourself?

This dramatic change can come down to where you are in your menstrual cycle, according to a 2019 study from the University of Tübingen in Germany.(1)

According to the study authors, you tend to feel more physically attractive and spend less time gazing less in the mirror at body parts you’re dissatisfied with during the days leading up to and including ovulation (Week 2).

Contrast that to your premenstrual phase (Week 4) when you tend to feel less physically attractive and gaze longer in the mirror at body parts you aren’t happy with.

My Hormonology

Why the difference in how you feel about our physical appearance? Hormones!

Spiking estrogen during your Week 2 helps the brain churn out more brain chemicals that boost mood, self-confidence and self-esteem.

And, plunging estrogen in your premenstrual Week 4 has the opposite effect: It drags down levels of brain chemicals needed to bolster mood, self-confidence and self-esteem, leading to insecurity about how you look.

Why are these hormonal effects on your self-perception important to be aware of? Because knowing that hormones can impact how you feel about your appearance can help you overcome this hormonal challenge. That’s because you can acknowledge that your insecurity is simply due to hormonal effects warping how you see yourself. Then, you can remind yourself of all the things you love about yourself, which can help you create more balance in how you view yourself, boosting your self-esteem back up.

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(1) Kerstin Krohmer, Birgit Derntl, Jennifer Svaldi, “Hormones Matter? Association of the Menstrual Cycle With Selective Attention for Liked and Disliked Body Parts,” Frontiers in Psychology, May 8, 2019

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