Menopause is a time of great change and this difficult period of transition is often a time for reflection, inspiration and a great opportunity to focus on your mental health. It’s a time when little daily actions of self-care can make a big difference to the way you experience menopause.
Many women find themselves not only experiencing the physical toll of estrogen levels dropping like night sweats, headaches etc. but also the effect our hormones have on our mood leading to menopause anxiety and depression and mindfulness is a simple yet effective way to combat these emotional difficulties.
Keep an Eye on Your Thoughts
It’s easy to think that we have absolutely no control over the changes that happen in our bodies but the reality is we can most certainly make the journey smoother: Studies show that negative beliefs women held before menopause caused them to be worse, showing the powerful effect the mind has on our bodies! For example the more negative you think about hot flashes and predict how bad they will be the worse it gets! Our thoughts are constantly racing and imagining the worst. What we need to remember is that what goes on in our heads plays into our physical health.
It’s really difficult to “downplay” the horrible physical toll the menopause can bring on your body but try not to imagine the worse and focus on the positives in your life as difficult as that may seem at the time. A great way to reduce anxious & negative thinking is to keep a gratitude diary. Every morning when you wake up make note of a few things you are thankful for, this could be anything: your kids, that you have a roof over your head, that your family is healthy, a stable job, chocolate, cats, cocktails etc.
Menopause Mindfulness, Stay in the Moment
Staying in the moment means not worrying about the future and not dwelling in the past. Easier said than done. Mindfulness means you focus attention on the present moment, and observe your thoughts and sensations without judgment.
It is associated with fewer menopause symptoms. A doctor from a Mayo Clinic study confirmed just how powerful mindfulness can be for menopause: "In this study, we found that midlife women with higher mindfulness scores experienced fewer menopausal symptoms"
How to Practice Mindfulness?
Mindfulness takes practice, it’s not something you pick up and master straight away, it’s a meditation practice that takes time & practice. Practicing mindfulness means that you take some time out for self-care, just 10 minutes a day is enough to work on staying in the moment and the more you do it the more it becomes ingrained and a skill you can easily tune in to and use when you need it most!
Essentially, the first step in being mindful is to become aware that our minds are on autopilot most of the time," Dr. Sood commented. "The goal during mindful moments is not to empty the mind, but to become an observer of the mind's activity while being kind to oneself. The second step is to create a pause. Take a deep breath, and observe one's own space, thoughts and emotions nonjudgmentally. The resulting calm helps lower stress."
You can find videos on youtube (guided meditation) but I recommend using an app called headspace. I used it myself for anxiety and it really helped. It gives you daily meditations taking you from beginner to advanced and has great explainer videos to go along with it.