Your menstrual cycle has a more significant impact on your day-to-day life than you might think! Even your shopping behavior may be affected.
The menstrual cycle’s impact on decision-making
Hormonal fluctuations during your menstrual cycle can subtly influence how you make decisions. During the follicular phase (the first half of your cycle), rising levels of estrogen can enhance your mood and cognitive abilities, potentially leading to more careful, thoughtful decision-making.
On the other hand, during the luteal phase (the second half of your cycle), progesterone increases and estrogen decreases. These hormonal changes may result in feeling more impulsive or emotionally driven, which might affect your decision-making process.
The connection between your cycle and impulsiveness
Your menstrual cycle may also play a role in impulsivity. Studies have shown that during ovulation (around the middle of your cycle) when your fertility is at its peak, there can be a slight increase in impulsiveness and risk-taking behavior. This is thought to be nature’s way of encouraging mating behavior.
In the luteal phase, high progesterone levels can lead to feelings of restlessness or impulsivity, which may impact decision-making, from little shopping sprees to larger life decisions.
Menstrual cycle and shopping behavior
Research suggests that shopping habits can be influenced by the menstrual cycle. For instance, in the days leading up to and including ovulation, you might find yourself more drawn to clothing or products that enhance your appearance, as this is the phase when you’re most fertile.
In the luteal phase, particularly in the days just before your period, you may experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms, such as cravings, which can lead to impulsive purchases, especially of comfort foods or self-care items.
Ways to navigate these changes
Understanding these hormonal influences can help you better manage your behavior and decisions throughout your menstrual cycle. Here are some strategies:
- Mindfulness: Practicing mindfulness can help you identify when hormonal shifts might be influencing your decisions, allowing you to take a step back and make more informed choices
- Healthy habits: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep can mitigate some hormonal impacts on mood and impulsivity
- Planning ahead: Knowing when in your cycle you may be more impulsive can help you prepare and possibly curb unnecessary shopping sprees
- Making lists: If you have to go shopping during your impulsive phrases, make a list of things that you need and try to stick with it
- Bring a shopping buddy: Tell your friend that you need someone to help remind you to think twice before checking out
Recognizing that the natural fluctuations of your menstrual cycle can influence your decision-making and shopping behavior, can empower you to navigate your cycle with a newfound sense of understanding and control. Take the time to observe your own patterns and respond in ways that feel right for you.
Dr. Sirichet Anekpornwattana (Fertility doctor) (1 July 2023)