09 December 2020
Have you ever been suddenly inspired and in search of where that bolt of creative energy came from? Good news – your cycle is about to solve the mystery. Some research shows that estrogen levels can directly impact your creativity. That’s right, look no further than your menstrual cycle to find the muse behind your creative genius.
When studying the way creativity and cycles relate to each other, scientists tend to nod to factors like divergent thought processes, the ability to think laterally, and degrees of motor perseveration. In other words, “the tidal waves of signals and impulses in our brain that give birth to those more subtle, dreamy mental processes that we often view as strokes of genius or lightning bolts of inspiration.”
So when exactly in your cycle will your creativity be at its peak? And when should you put down the paintbrush? Here’s the 4-1-1:
Estrogen Levels 🔥
Bad news for all my creatives — day one of your menstruation is the lowest your estrogen and progesterone hormone levels will be throughout your cycle. The first days of your menstruation will feel sluggish. Embrace the suck, because the good news is that these levels will start to rise over the next few days. Don’t hop right into your creative project just yet, but now is a great time to begin the ideation process as you’ll start to feel more optimistic, less fatigue and mentally sharper as the days progress. Have no fear, your creative surge is on the horizon.
Estrogen Levels 🔥🔥🔥
With estrogen levels soaring in the week before ovulation, your planning and organizational skills are at their peak, and so is your creativity. An experiment, led by psychologist Rosemary Krug, tested 17 women between the ages of 21 and 31 who participated in a number of creative thinking tests throughout each stage of their cycle.
It was found that their creativity was usually greatly improved during the preovulatory stage, when motor perseveration is notably decreased but estrogen levels are at their highest point.
Estrogen Levels 🔥🔥
During ovulation your estrogen levels are still high, so it’s likely that your creative energy will last through the beginning days of your ovulatory period. You should still feel sharp, optimistic and motivated, but because of other hormones at play this could also be coupled with some anxiety, brought on by heightened emotions. Some people say that suffering can become art, this time of the month is the perfect time to embrace that notion, and create something beautiful as your creative flow merges with those less-than-pleasant symptoms that happen during this time of your cycle.
Estrogen Levels 😵
Hate to say it, but you should call it a day during the luteal phase of your cycle. During this time, levels of estrogen will deplete, which will lower your mood. Don’t be surprised if during this time of the month you feel low or snappy. That’s normal, and this is a wonderful time to take some well deserved rest after a long month of creativity. On the positive side, some find a low mood is combined with a new-found desire for physical interaction. Go see your pals and share your completed creative project! You deserve it.
The mystery behind how your creative energy flows with your cycle is officially solved.
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Krug, Rosemarie, et al. “Effects of Menstrual Cycle on Creativity.” Psychoneuroendocrinology, Pergamon, 24 Mar. 2003, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0306453094900566.
“The Ovarian Cycle: the Basics.” Moody, https://moodymonth.com/articles/female-hormone-cycle-the-basics.
Reed, Beverly G, and Bruce R Carr. “The Normal Menstrual Cycle and the Control of Ovulation.” NCBI, 5 Aug. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279054/.
“Your Cycle Affects Your... Creativity.” Period!, 14 Dec. 2015, www.period.media/factsfigures/cycle-affects-creativity/.