My Hormonology

Which week are you on in your cycle?

Week 1
First day of period to Day 7
Today’s hormonescope: It’s easier than it’s been in the past week to overlook someone else’s faults. Your renewed patience comes courtesy of estrogen. As this hormone rises, which it does today, it boosts the feel-good brain chemical serotonin—and this makes you feel more optimistic, upbeat and forgiving.

Week 2
Day 8 to Day 13
Today’s hormonescope: You may get swayed by other people’s opinions or salespeople’s sales pitches. The reason? High estrogen and testosterone make you more easily excited, plus they’re making you more open to trying new ideas and products.

Week 3
Day 14 (or ovulation) to Day 22
Today’s hormonescope: You may notice that energy you put into your career, school or start-up business begins to shift to matters closer to your heart, such as your home, friendships, partner or children. Why? As estrogen dips this week, it makes you less focused on the material world outside; and, as progsterone rises, it boosts nurturing feelings, which makes you place more importance on your personal life. As a result, you may put in less time at the office or on schoolwork and make more dates with your family, paint the bathroom or plant an indoor herb garden.

Week 4
Day 23 to the end of cycle
Today’s hormonescope: Have a stomach ache? Headache? Chills? Your plunging estrogen may have you leaping to the conclusion that you’ve caught some exotic flu as it brings down confidence-building brain chemicals, making you more likely to worry. But, chances are, it’s just plain ol’ premenstrual syndrome. As hormones descend, they cause withdrawal symptoms—similar to quitting cigarettes, coffee and other powerful chemicals. Your body is simply throwing a mini tantrum and sending you a bunch of uncomfortable messages telling you it wants more of what it’s missing. Unfortunately, your body can “Waaa waa waa!” all it wants. Estrogen isn’t making a comeback till Week 1. Till then, treating yourself to fun indulgences—like your favorite TV show, cupcake or bubble bath—can boost mood-enhancing and pain-reducing brain chemicals that plunge during this phase, which can help alleviate some PMS discomfort.

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