The menstrual cycle has been a hot topic of research since 1930. The latest studies reveal that, in fact, the menstrual cycle has an effect on how the female brain functions.
There are definitely some power-ups that happen to the brain due to hormonal activity, causing the brain to go through some awesome cycles – let's learn how to harness this, shall we?
Your Menstrual Cycle and Brain Power
A little known and more interesting fact is what happens in a woman's brain during her cycle.
Here is where it gets intriguing... it's not a widely known fact but the menstrual cycle affects a woman positively! They become more adept in certain skills like Spatial Awareness and Communication, and for a part of the cycle there is actually an increase in brain size. What’s really going on here?
Can hormones have such a profound effect on a woman’s brain and behavior?
Throughout the menstrual cycle, the brain changes – as does everything from spatial skills to sexual desire (Credit: Yoko Miyagawa/BBC)
The short answer is - Yes!
At the start of ovulation, ovaries produce more estrogen and progesterone, to thicken the womb and prep for the release of an egg. This has far-reaching effects on the brain, affecting behavior and leading to improved communication... memory seemed to improve during the ovulation period too! Women are also better able to recognize fear and are better at social skills as their hormones peak each month.
Interestingly, spatial awareness returned to normal when hormone levels dropped.
During a part of the menstrual cycle, the hippocampus as well as the amygdala in the brain are bigger – which had an evolutionary function of identifying the most masculine men for the continuation of the species, the ability to make better moral judgments, and even tell creative fibs.
Harnessing our feminine superpowers
Our menstrual cycle can be harnessed as an asset to our work. By harnessing our different cycle phases, we can best schedule our work accordingly to deliver greater results. For ease of reference, we will divide the menstrual into 4 phases:
Phase 1: Pre-ovulation or ‘Energy’ Phase – Energized with greater ability to rationalize
Phase 2: Ovulation or ‘Socializing’ Phase– Empathetic and caring
Phase 3: Pre-Menstruation or ‘Creative’ Phase – Intuition and creativity
Phase 4: Menstruation or ‘Contemplation’ Phase – Calm and Reflective
Now you can harness your superpowers by starting new projects, complete a task that requires greater focus, calculate and budget, strategic plan, and learn something new like the multitasking maven you are during your Pre-Ovulation phase and tap in on those Rational, Logical, and Male Energy spikes.
During your Pre-Menstrual phase definitely tone things down, perhaps going easy on meetings. Instead focus on problem-solving, brainstorming, and tackling those organizational tasks you have been putting off. Really make those intuitive and idea generation vibes work for you.
Making big decisions and reflecting should be taken on during the Menstrual Phase, when you are calm and in the general mood of letting go of negatives and things which do not serve you.
During your Ovulation Phase, you want to make the most of those meetings, nurture business relationships, have your team 1:1’s, or get that blog. Make the most of the spike in language, communication, empathy, caring instinct, and general feminine energy.
Since each woman's cycle differs in length, there is no exact measure to clearly define the four distinctive phases within a cycle. If you closely pay attention to your moods you will soon be able to distinguish when each phase peaks in tandem with your hormone changes as your cycle goes through Follicular, Ovulation, Luteal, and Menstrual phases.
I bet your monthly planning and scheduling took on a whole new light, huh? Well, this is information you can use to maximize your productivity and efficiency in tandem with your cycle.
Imagine knowing when to increase your productivity and get your creative juices flowing. You can finally understand why on some days you don’t want to get out of bed and let go of those feelings of feeling guilty. Indeed, every woman is unique and may experience her cycle and each cycle differently to the next. It is important to listen to what your body is telling you, and follow your intuition when it comes to doing what is right for you.
With this perspective comes a sense of relief and empowerment!