As seen on CORA'S Blood + Milk
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) can cause wild, emotional mood swings for some women. In one day we can go from an angry outburst to a crying spell, followed by an anxiety attack. These emotional rises and falls are usually due to our fluctuating hormones. The good news is, we can become more strategic in how we heal the underlying causes of these symptoms in order to live without mood swings, depression, and anxiety. For most women, successfully healing PMS can occur with changes to lifestyle and diet. Here are some ways to begin addressing underlying causes and access your healing.
Sex and self-pleasure not only have you feeling great but also have hormonal health benefits. If you’re feeling cramping and/or bloated, sex or self-pleasure can improve circulation to organs in the pelvic cavity, promote healthier estrogen levels, and provide relaxation by boosting estrogen levels and flushing out cortisol. Sex also increases levels of oxytocin, the hormone of bonding and success, which is linked to passion, intuition, and social skills. If you’re experiencing PMS during your ovulation phase, sex can be the estrogen detoxing ticket. If you are in the second half of your luteal phase, you may need more lube to help stimulate your connection with your sensations. But you’ll soon feel connected to yourself, juiced, and relaxed.
GET YOUR HERBS
Rhodiola rosea is an herbal medicine that regulates your stress response, reduces anxiety, and give our adrenals much-needed TLC! Rhodiola will shelter your brain from cortisol. Take this herb right when you have signs of depression and anxiety during PMS; however, it’s most effective to take daily for three months. The recommendation is 150-300 mg per day with 2 percent of the active constituent rosavin.
Each month, through menstruation, we go through an internal transformational process of letting go and being reborn. Our uterus sheds its lining and we release from the past and set free into the future. It is a time when deeply repressed and ignored emotions from the past month are brought to the surface, and into consciousness so we can acknowledge them, seek expression, and let them go. When we disregard or ignore our feelings or simply don’t give ourselves enough time to switch off and reconnect, PMS is likely to surface. When you feel anxious, angry or depressed, remember your greatest wisdom is already within you. Stop and listen. Have a conversation with your mental and physical sensations. Say, “Thank you for showing up so I can live a better life. Now, what do you want to tell me?” Also look at your relationships and creative outlets. Where are you silencing your authentic self? Find time to admire your uniqueness, follow your heart, and do things your way. Your unique opinions and authentic self is the reason you are here and loved.
MEDITATION TO MASTER YOUR MOODS
Kirtan Kriya is a meditation chant that comes from Kundalini yoga. The practice uses repetitive finger movements to help break habits and assist you in going through any life changes. It can also help heal negative sexual memories and traumas. Kirtan Kriya is believed to stimulate your pituitary and pineal glands, which allows you to become more active and balanced. It’s very helpful in connecting and balancing your menstrual cycle and the moon energy centers.
Here’s how you can try Kirtan Kriya for yourself.
The mantra includes primal sounds that reflect the wheel of life. The mantra is Saa (birth) Taa (life) Naa (death) Maa (rebirth).
Lie on your stomach and place your chin on the floor. Keep your head straight. Place your arms alongside your body, with the palms of your hands facing upward. Begin mentally chanting Saa Taa Naa Maa. Focus your eyes on your brow point. Imagine the sound current passing through your head in an L shape, entering the top of your head and flowing out through the center of your forehead. As you chant Saa, press your index finger to the tip of your thumb; on the Taa, press your middle finger to your thumb; on Naa, press your ring finger to your thumb; and on Maa, press your little finger to your thumb. Continue for 3 to 31 minutes. You can do this meditation when you want relief and insight from the emotional swings of PMS, and it can be done as a 40 day meditation practice. Observe how you feel before and after your practice. There are great insights when you stay still for a minute after the practice.
UPPING YOUR SEROTONIN
Certain foods can affect the balance of our biochemistry. When we eat foods high in sugar, insulin is quickly released out of the bloodstream. At that time, insulin removes all of the amino acids except for one, tryptophan. Tryptophan is the precursor for our pleasure and happiness hormone, serotonin. Sugar cravings during PMS can then lead to increased amounts of serotonin in the brain. Our bodies seek out substances that balance us out biochemically. If we have low serotonin, we will seek out substances that raise serotonin levels. Foods that are high in sugar are a way for us to do this. When you experience mood swings, try eating complex carbohydrates to stabilize your serotonin levels. Apples, avocado, cucumbers, and carrots are great pick me ups when you are on the go and feel the sudden sugar cravings! My favorite is roasted sweet potatoes, which remind me of my childhood. When you’re PMS, nothing beats the cozy feeling of home and comfort.
Since serotonin is critical to mood, low levels of serotonin can be directly linked to the depression, irritability, and mood changes experienced by women with PMS.
In addition, serotonin is important to sleep regulation. Low serotonin levels may affect the onset and quality of sleep. In addition, low serotonin levels also mean low melatonin levels. Melatonin is key for our sleep cycle, which has a direct impact on our hormonal balance, so when we don’t have enough of it, we might experience a significant disruption to the sleep-wake cycle.
It’s essential to have a night time ritual so your serotonin and melatonin can work properly. This might include a calming and relaxing activity before bed like reading a book or taking a bath. You should also keep electronics out of your bedroom and try using blue light technology in front of electronic devices.
GO GET STARTED
You have undoubtedly fought a monthly uphill battle. With these simple tips and becoming more aware of your PMS symptoms, your hormones will respond to help your body get balanced. When you feed and move your body in ways that work with its natural rhythms and use your body as a resource, you will tap into your personal best self and live the life you want to live.