Ever unexpectedly splurge on a gift for a friend or family member? Or impulsively donate money or time to a charity or political organization?
The reason for your extra generosity could be due to where you are in your monthly cycle.
What they discovered: During most of the luteal phase of your cycle–your Week 3 and Week 4, which spans the day after ovulation through the day before your next period–you tend to give more gifts to loved ones and contributions of money and time to organizations compared to earlier days in your cycle.
Why? The researchers believe it comes down to the way women are biologically wired: During the luteal phase, your body believes you could be pregnant. So, you get a push from your brain to make stronger connections with those around you in case you need extra support, protection and resources to help you through a pregnancy.
One way you create a closer alliance is by giving someone a gift, say, buying that person a book or plant, or (as any friend of mine can tell you) baking her or him a cake. This shows that you’re willing to use your own resources to make that person happy, which will hopefully inspire a reciprocation in generosity if needed during pregnancy. After all, cribs and strollers aren’t cheap!
Another way you get closer to those around you is by donating money or time to a cause. This method is a less direct route to a bevy of baby shower gifts, but evidently one that’s no less effective. As the researchers explain it, when you make a contribution–whether it’s to save the animals or support a political candidate–this shows you’ve got traits (such as being kind or trustworthy) that make you a person who’s worth supporting in a pinch. Naturally, you’d have to let others know about your generous donation to reap this benefit, so you may want to practice casually slipping a mention of your contribution into conversation or a social media post without coming off like you’re outright bragging, which could obviously cancel out those positive traits you wanted to display.
How can you use this information?
If you’re on a strict budget or have a tight schedule, you may want to keep in mind that you tend to be more generous with your money and time during the second half of your monthly cycle. This way, when you’re tempted to splurge or commit lots of hours, you can take a moment to figure out if that’s really the wisest choice for your wallet or to-do list.
PS: Once this study makes it out into the world, expect charities and political organizations to double-up on their requests for donations and volunteer hours from you since they’ll be trying to catch you during your luteal phase. Or, even more sneakily, the study authors suggest that these organizations could make note of your last contribution and hit you up at the same time of your monthly cycle hoping to catch you during your most generous phase. Talk about using your cycle against you!
Want to use this cycle information to your own advantage? Send this study to your friends and family members and tell them that after ovulation, you become a lot more generous. So, if they want an unexpected surprise to show up at their door, they may want to be extra-nice to you during these cycle days.
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