Careful of getting hooked in the first half of your cycle

My Hormonology

Careful of getting hooked in the first half of your cycle


In a recent Hormonology Tip, I recommended that you save special once-in-awhile indulgences that treat your senses (like a massage or exotic meal) for the first half of your monthly cycle–which is the first day of menstruation through ovulation. That’s because rising estrogen on these days sharpens your senses and revs feel-good brain chemicals, making these types of activities even more enjoyable.

However, I feel I need to add to this bit of advice to help you avoid disaster:

If you’re planning to do something that gives you a huge rush of pleasure, but is potentially wallet-draining (like gambling), a possible health risk (such as B.A.S.E. jumping) or could be seriously addictive (for instance, drinking your first frozen mochaccino ever) during the first half of your cycle, you may want to be a bit careful and institute some kind of measures to stop yourself from going overboard while doing them.

That’s because several studies, including this 2007 study from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, reveal you’re more likely to get hooked while seeking a thrill, making you want to do the activity again and again.

The reason comes down to rising estrogen, which prompts more activity in reward areas of the brain, giving you a more intense surge in positive feelings when doing these deeds.

While this is great in the short-term since it means they’ll be even more pleasure-inducing, the not-so-fun potential outcomes include losing your shirt at the blackjack table, splatting into the side of a mountain and never being able to pass a coffee shop without involuntarily veering in to purchase an expensive high-calorie frothy beverage.

I think it probably goes without saying that the same addictive effect in your cycle holds true for the usual addictive baddies, like cigarettes or drugs. But, since we both know you’d never ever do those, I won’t harp on them. But, I just wanted to throw that out there in case you know someone who knows someone who would ever contemplate it.

Okay, so to sum up: If you’re doing something during the first half of your cycle that’s pleasurable, but has a potential downside if you do it too much, be proactive to avert your hormonal tendency to abuse it by setting limits, for instance, bringing only the amount of cash you’re willing to lose to the casino, stopping at your first successful B.A.S.E. jump landing rather than pushing your luck and looking at the calorie and fat content of a frozen mochaccino every time you’re tempted to get yet another one.

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