Life & Travel

The Scientific Reason For Why We Have 'I Feel Ugly' Days

I’ve said before that learning about the most random of things is one of my absolute favorite pastimes (I get it from my daddy). When it comes to this particular topic, though, what inspired it was a conversation that I was having with one of my clients about how to deal with her husband, who is “up” about 70 percent of the time — oh, but when he has a bad day, his energy tends to suck the life out of the house. He’s not mean, he’s just…low. And when she asks him why that is the case, he tends to say nothing more than “I’m just having a bad day.” (When I asked him for myself, he said that stress tends to overwhelm him at times.)

As she was asking for tips on how to deal with him when he’s in that kind of headspace, I ended up reading about the science of bad days, in general. The intel behind it? I don’t think that it will shock a lot of y’all. What it all basically boils down to is, if we think that we’re going to have a bad day or we’re in a bad mood and choose to stay that way, a bad day is exactly what we’re going to have. In other words, our mind has more power than our emotions to create whatever it is that we want (always remember that).

For instance, some studies reveal that more accidents tend to happen on Friday the 13th because a lot of folks put so much focus on it being a “bad luck day” that they end up cultivating circumstances for bad things to happen, oftentimes without even being (fully) aware of it.

Hmm…so if that’s the case when it comes to bad days overall, could there be some sort of correlation between why we have days when we feel way less attractive than others? Let’s do some digging and see.

Is There Really Such a Thing As “Waking Up on the Wrong Side of the Bed?”


Okay, so before we get into the feeling ugly/unattractive part, since sometimes we call that “getting up on the wrong side of the bed,” how much truth is there to that saying? Good question. Again,when we get science in on all of this, it actually holds some weight and relevance. Probably the easiest way to explain it is our bodies naturally go through what are known as “mood cycles,” and it would appear that our lowest points happen around 5 a.m. while our highest is at 5 p.m. (right after work?!). What can intensify us having a lower mood is if we didn’t get a good night’s rest (or we dreamed something crazy because apparently there is a correlation betweendreams and the state of our mental health) — and well, there you have it: waking up on the wrong side of the bed.

So, if there is a scientific reason for being in a bad mood when you get up, can there also be one for not feeling like you look all that great as well?

Why Do You Feel Ugly Some Days and Not on Others?


It’s another message for another time,all of the backstories behind whywe feel “ugly” sometimes. From the toxicity of the media and its beauty standards to whatever we heard from our parents and caregivers (about what beauty is and isn’t) to how we compare ourselves with our peers to the fact that all of us battle with self-esteem issues at some point or another — the reasons are vast. What I’m tackling today is why it seems like some mornings, we can wake up and grin back at our reflection while, just 24 hours (or a few days) later, we can damn near hate all of what we see…when the reflection hasn’t really switched up much at all.

Are you ready for what I found? When it comes to women, specifically, once again, you can “thank” your period. The word on the street is that when we go through what is known as the luteal phase (which is when our uterine lining thickens in order to prepare for the possibility of a fertilized egg), the increased levels of estrogen and progesterone can wear us all the way out by leading to fatigue, erratic mood swings and, at the end of the day, just feeling kind of crappy overall (especially since that can be when we end up with period pimples and bloating too).

And what if you’re older and you’re shifting out of consistent menstrual cycles as you head towards the latter part of perimenopause and then menopause (and post-menopause)? There is also something known as “perimenopause depression,” where your estrogen levels significantly drop, and that can result in irritability, weight gain, and yes, feelings surroundinglow self-esteem.

In fact, sinceestrogen fluctuates pretty much every month — that can be another cause of semi-unpredictable “ugly” days: when your estrogen is low, you just don’t feel as great as when it is high(er); this is especially the case if your “feel-good hormones” like serotonin and dopamine aren’t where they need to be too.

What Do You Do on Days You Feel Ugly?


So now that you’re able to somewhat connect the dots when it comes to the reasons why you sometimes just don’t feel your best, is there anything that you can do about it — or do you just have to avoid all mirrors and hope that the next day will be better?

I’ve got a few tips that just might help.

Balance your hormones out (just a bit). Believe it or not, there are certain things that you can do that can help to balance your hormones out rather quickly: exercise; consume more protein (it can help to decrease stress and anxiety); eat less sugar (it can have your hormones going all over the place); take care of your gut (check out “80% Of Your Immunity Is In Your Gut. Take Care Of It Like This.”), and take a quick nap (so that you can “recharge”). Also, stepping out into the sun and hanging out with friends can help elevate your serotonin while listening to music and meditating can increase your dopamine.

Put on your favorite color and scent. Color psychology really is a thing (check out “Understanding Color Psychology Will Sharpen Your Lens On Life”). So, when you’re not feeling great about yourself, opt for a hue that professes otherwise.For instance, while yellow represents happiness and, green represents balance, pink represents love and blue represents calm. Also, believe it or not, there are scents that can help you to feel better about yourself, too.Some of those include citrus (it makes you feel joyful and energetic), lavender (it can make you feel more feminine),and sandalwood (it can make you feel sexier).

Do what makes you feel beautiful. I don’t know about y’all, but on the days when I’m “mirror dodging,” it’s easy to stay in that rut. Now I’m in dark colors, I’m rolling my eyes at putting on lipstick, and it’s easier to stay negative throughout the day. If you can certainly relate, the thing to keep in mind is there is “feeling ugly,” and then there is “believing that you are” — and your thoughts are stronger than your feelings.

That said, do what makes you feel beautiful by thinking about the actions that you can take to help with that. Paint your toes another color. Wear something that makes you feel extra pretty. Soak in a long and luxurious bath. Jot down a quick list of things that you love about yourself. Have some really amazing sex! At the end of the day, by definition, "beautiful" is about pleasure and satisfaction — so put your focus on what will cultivate those feelings for you.


One of those “days” is coming (again). Hopefully, all of this makes them make more sense.

Sis, you don’t have to take an “I feel ugly out of nowhere” day lying down.

When your hormones are clowning, now you know what to do to feel like your ole’ beautiful self — again.

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Featured image by Clementine Morel/Getty Images




This article is in partnership with SheaMoisture

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