If you start to feel pangs of remorse in your premenstrual Week 4, say, for not going back to school when you had the chance, cutting off a relationship you realize you shouldn’t have ended or for another misstep from your past, you’re not alone. A study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology reveals that ruminating–churning negative, regretful thoughts over and over in your mind–is a common complaint during this phase of your cycle as plunging estrogen robs your brain of feel-good chemicals, making you prone to dwelling on mistakes.
So, what can you do? Try one of these three techniques: Look for a silver lining (for instance, maybe you learned a good lesson that stayed with you and prevented you from making a bigger mistake), make a joke out of the situation or simply accept it for what it is. In a study from the UK’s University of Kent, participants dealing with thoughts of failure who tried any of these three methods were significantly happier than those who tried other ways of dealing with pain from the past, such as venting to friends or trying to ignore the issue and hoping it goes away on its own. As the researchers explain, unlike other coping mechanisms, these three reverse negativity by turning your thoughts in a more positive direction.