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Menopause & Mental Health: How to Alleviate Symptoms

Menopause, yes, I said the "M" word. I'm happy to see that more women are talking about menopause instead of whispering about it. Menopause encompassing perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause, marks a significant transitional phase in a woman's life. Alongside physical changes, it often brings about a plethora of symptoms that can affect mental well-being. While medical interventions are available, integrating mental techniques can provide additional support in alleviating these symptoms.


What many don't know if that perimenopause starts around age 40 but can start as early as age 30.



Let's explore how mental techniques can be powerful tools in navigating the challenges of perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause.


Understanding the Phases: Before delving into mental techniques, it's essential to grasp the phases of menopause:

  1. Perimenopause: This stage typically starts in a woman's 40s but can begin earlier. Hormonal fluctuations lead to irregular periods and various symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, and sleep disturbances.

  2. Menopause: Defined by the absence of menstruation for 12 consecutive months, menopause usually occurs around the age of 51. Symptoms like vaginal dryness, decreased libido, and cognitive changes may persist.

  3. Post-Menopause: Post-menopause refers to the years following menopause. While some symptoms may diminish, others like osteoporosis and heart disease risk may increase due to hormonal changes.




Mental Health Techniques for Alleviation of Menopause:

  1. Mindfulness Meditation:

  • Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. It can help manage stress, anxiety, and mood swings associated with menopause.

  • Practice mindfulness for a few minutes daily. Sit comfortably, focus on your breath, and observe thoughts without getting caught up in them.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): 2. CBT is a therapeutic approach that helps identify and change negative thought patterns. It can be effective in addressing mood swings, irritability, and anxiety during menopause.

  • Work with a therapist trained in CBT techniques to learn coping strategies and challenge unhelpful beliefs. 3. Relaxation Techniques:

  • Incorporate relaxation techniques like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or guided imagery into your daily routine.

  • These practices can reduce stress, promote better sleep, and alleviate physical symptoms such as hot flashes.


4. Yoga and Tai Chi:

  • Both yoga and Tai Chi combine physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation. They promote relaxation, improve flexibility, and enhance overall well-being.

  • Participate in regular yoga or Tai Chi classes tailored for menopausal women to reap their benefits fully. 5. Positive Affirmations:

  • Engage in positive self-talk and affirmations to counteract negative beliefs about menopause.

  • Repeat affirmations like "I am strong and resilient," "I embrace change with grace," or "I prioritize self-care and well-being." 6. Social Support:

  • Maintain connections with friends, family, or support groups of women going through similar experiences.

  • Sharing concerns, seeking advice, and receiving empathy can provide significant emotional relief and validation.

Conclusion

While menopause presents unique challenges, integrating mental techniques into your routine can empower you to navigate this phase with greater ease and resilience. From mindfulness meditation to positive affirmations, these practices offer holistic support for managing symptoms and promoting mental well-being. Remember, seeking professional guidance and support when needed is essential in crafting a personalized approach to menopausal care. Embrace this transition with self-compassion and a commitment to nurturing your mental and emotional health.


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Much love,




Jenny Gaston, MS, LPC, NCC

(267) 291-4558


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