smileMy husand, Douglas, and I recently had dinner with another couple and we were comparing the reasons we all moved down to Saint Petersburg, Florida–them from Chicago and us from New York City. We told Kat and Kurt that certainly the year-round sunny, warm weather, beautiful sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico and no state tax played key roles in our decision. But, so was seeing so many happy faces.

Our friends turned to each other, then back to me and Douglas and exclaimed, “Us, too!”

See, here in Saint Petersburg, people generally walk around in a pretty upbeat mood. And the tourists who visit to enjoy our beaches are downright delirious. You can drive up and down Gulf Blvd., which is the road that hugs all our coastal beaches, and see one beaming face after another. And, you can’t help but “catch” that joy, too. Whenever I need a mood boost, I know all I need to do is drive up and down Gulf Blvd.

Contrast that to when I lived in New York City and was surrounded by endless droves of dour-faced, irritated New Yorkers and the millions of stressed, apprehensive tourists who visited.

And, our friends echoed the same sentiment about the folks who lived in and visited Chicago–they all looked miserable.

So, what in the world does this have to do with your monthly hormone cycle?

Well, research (such as this and this) shows that during the second half of your cycle (spanning the day after ovulation through the day before your next period), you’re more prone to catching someone else’s bad mood. It’s a side effect of progesterone, which makes you more aware of angry, scared or disgusted faces as a way to keep you safe in case you got pregnant during ovulation.

But, luckily, other research proves that looking at someone else who’s happy–like the tourists we pass on our beaches–tends to buoy our own mood, making us feel more uplifted.

So, I’m suggesting that when you’re in the second half of your cycle, if you can, walk away from folks who look stressed-out and irritated to avoid dragging your own mood down.

And seek out happy scenes and smiling people, for instance, kids running around a playground, people dancing at a club or folks relaxing in the sun, to get your mood climbing!

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Gabrielle Lichterman is a longtime women’s health and lifestyle journalist whose articles have appeared in dozens of major magazines and newspapers around the globe including Cosmopolitan, CosmoGIRL, Glamour, Marie Claire, The New York Daily News and Woman’s World. Gabrielle began developing Hormonology® and the Hormone Horoscope® in 1999 and has been sharing menstrual cycle-related research and tips through her apps, blog, book, newsletter and magazine articles ever since.

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[Photo: Daniel F. Benavides]