3 Things Your Period Might Be Telling You
Written by Usha Anandi, Founder + Creative Director of Womben Wellness
The menstrual cycle is your body’s direct line of communication that brings unconscious information to the light of awareness.
When I bleed, I rejoice! Today, I see my period as a source of my power, but that wasn’t always the case.
I’ve spent years of my life sharing this information with women all over the globe, and now I want to share it with you in a downloadable format that you can access instantly.
I’ll be the first to tell you, I’m a period geek.
Today, I see my period as a source of my power, but that wasn’t always the case.
I used to feel confused by my body and what it was telling me. Why did I have breast tenderness and cramps some months and then others none at all?
I used to feel ashamed of my blood, taught by society that it was dirty, smelly, and something to hide.
I used to hide tampons up my sleeve in school so no one had to see that I was *gasp* actually menstruation. You know, like half the world’s population will at some point in their lives.
I used to power through my fatigue and curse the aches, the sadness, and the feeling of emptiness I felt in my womb when I bled.
This was my life, until I decided it didn’t have to be.
This was someone else’s story. One that I inherited from a long line of women who were systematically kept in the dark about the true nature of their body, it’s cycles, and it’s innate wisdom.
The day I decided to take my power back was the day everything changed. And for me, it all began with menstruation.
As people who bleed, we are lucky enough to have the menstrual cycle to tell us exactly what’s happening in our bodies from month to month.
If your diet isn’t working for you, your menstrual cycle will tell you. If you’re too stressed out and not getting enough rest, your menstrual cycle will tell you. If you’re repressing emotions and refusing to look at an aspect of your inner-life, you bet your menstrual cycle will tell you.
The body speaks. We just have to learn how to listen.
Today, I want to take the time to demystify three of the most common experiences around menstruation to support you in learning about what your body is REALLY trying to say to you.
1. Mood Swings
Many clients and students of mine reach out to me for support with uncomfortable emotions that arise just before menstruation.
In the Zapotec tradition of my teacher, Doña Maria Carmen it is believed that the phase just before menstruation is the most potent and powerful time for the woman.
In the premenstrual phase, the veils between what we previously thought to be true (our current, known reality) and what is ACTUALLY true (the Ultimate truth) thins.
The premenstrual phase offers us the opportunity to look into the depths of our own unconscious mind to see the root cause of why we feel stuck, uninspired, unsupported, frustrated, alone, and all those super yummy feelings that arise right before menstruation 😉
What I’m communicating with you here is that these emotions, no matter how uncomfortable they may be, are coming up for a REASON.
Many of us view our emotions as meaningless or even burdensome. As women, we have been systematically programmed to discount of even shame our emotions that arise as symptoms of ‘PMS’.
Many of us have been taught by caregivers or society as a whole that when we express our emotions we are ‘crazy’, ‘dramatic’, or ‘too much’.
We cannot silence the ‘bad’ while simultaneously opening up to the ‘good’. Only those who have the courage to feel the depths of their pain can truly experience the lightness, love, and joy that awaits on the other side.
As Carl Jung famously shares, “Until we make the unconscious, conscious it will rule our lives and we will call it fate.”
In a world that teaches us to harden ourselves, to be soft, emotional, and expressive is an act of rebellion.
Menstruation offers us the rare opportunity to see parts of ourselves that need tenderness, softness, and compassion. The menstrual cycle opens up a portal of healing for our body, mind, and spirit. The portal is open, it’s up to us to walk through.
If you notice moodiness arise during your menstrual cycle, reflect on these questions…
- What specific phase do you feel the emotions (example: is it right before you bleed, while you’re bleeding, etc)
- If you could label the sensation or mood, what would you call it? (example: frustration, loneliness, grief, etc)
- Do you notice if it’s the same emotion that arises each time? If you answered yes, what is your experience of this emotion and how comfortable do you feel accepting it as a part of your current life?
Accept yourself, and your heart will open. When you begin viewing your emotions as messages of wisdom from your inner-body, your menstrual cycle becomes a blessing instead of a curse.
Pain is a physical and emotional experience.
According to Alan Fogel of Psychology Today, “When people feel emotional pain, the same areas of the brain get activated as when people feel physical pain: the anterior insula and the anterior cingulate cortex.”
Whenever pain arises during menstruation, I encourage you to look at both the physical and emotional elements of the sensation that they’re experiencing.
In our modern world, we are increasingly taught to turn away from our pain. Many of us use various ways of distracting ourselves from emotional and physical pain like medication, television, mindless scrolling, drugs, alcohol… the list goes on.
Many women carry an internalized belief that bleeding is painful. We are taught that cramps, pain, and achiness are a ‘normal’ part of menstruation.
Your period doesn’t have to cause you pain.
One of the best ways to mitigate pain is to actually listen to what it’s trying to tell you. Next time physical pain rolls around and you feel the same old emotional response (frustration, annoyance, anxiety, etc…), think about this…
What if pain wasn’t something to turn away from?
What if pain was your body saying…
Practice for Tuning into Pain:
Next time you feel pain during menstruation (or at any other point in your cycle) use this technique to uncover the real message your body is trying to relay to you.
- Using your awareness, scan your body and locate the area where pain or discomfort is arising
- If it feels comfortable for you, continue to rest your awareness there. You can even guide one or two hands to that area if you feel you need extra support.
- Notice what’s happening with your breath as you send your awareness into the pain. Can you continue to breathe into the sensation with smooth, deep, and long inhales and exhales?
- As you breathe into the sensation say to your body “I am here, and I am listening. What are you trying to tell me? How can I support you?”
- Ask this question as many times as you need until you receive what feels to be an answer for you.
- How can you move forward with this new information given to you by your body? What changes need to be made?
You can use the practice above whenever pain arises to strengthen the connection between your somatic and mental experience.
3. Quality of Blood
A woman who knows the color, texture, and quality of her blood is a woman who cannot be shamed.
Menstrual blood is both antimicrobial and antibacterial and helps to protect the vagina from an overgrowth of harmful bacteria and fungus that are cause common health challenges like UTIs, yeast infections, and bacterial vaginosis.
But that’s not all! Menstrual blood communicates the overall health of our vaginal flora, blood, lymph, hormones, and vital organs. Getting to know the color, texture, smell, and general quality of your blood is an important part of understanding what’s happening in your body.
So the next time you bleed, take a moment to observe your blood.
For those who use non-dyed pads or a menstrual cup, this will be the easiest as your blood will be unchanged by dyes or absorbents and ready for observation.
Healthy menstrual blood is a rich, bright, and vibrant red. It flows effortlessly with very few clots and contains no fishy, ‘off’ smell. Remember, the quality of your blood may vary month to month, which is why it’s important to continue to observe what’s happening in your body every cycle to tune in to what your body needs in terms of diet and lifestyle.
Dark brown or dark red blood
- may symbolize the beginning or end of a period
- possible stagnation in the flow of circulation to the uterus
Note: for those who are healing in postpartum, release of dark brown or dark red blood is called lochia and is a normal, healthy bodily response to rid itself of excess fluid after pregnancy. If you continue to experience heavy bleeding after the first few months of postpartum, see your primary health care provider right away.
Light pink blood
- may symbolize low estrogen
- high-stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) that are affecting estrogen production
Gray or orange blood
- sign of possible infection (STI) or imbalance of vaginal bacteria like bacterial vaginosis
Today I get to share with you the Lunar Living eBook – Your Guide to Reclaim the Magic of Your Menstruation.
I believe that you DESERVE a menstrual cycle education that is firmly rooted in scientific understanding AND spiritual Truth.
This book breaks down each individual phase of the menstrual cycle in an accessible way and shares the hormonal, emotional, and spiritual changes that take place during each unique phase.
You will be able to access:
- A guided, written journey to gain clarity on where your current perspective of your menstrual cycle may come from.
- A comprehensive overview of each unique phase of the cycle (if you didn’t know – there are four!)
- Easy to digest, accessible education on the hormonal and physical changes of your body during each phase.
- An overview of the emotional and psychospiritual changes associated with each phase of the cycle – because we’re emotional, spiritual beings too!
- A list of healing foods for each phase to support hormone balance
- A ritual or practice tailored to the four unique phases to support you in living your life from a more feminine, connected, and truly aligned place.
If you’re ready to start your journey, click the button below to purchase your Lunar Living eBook and gain access instantly.