The Benefits of Mindful MenopauseAug 05, 2021
Spending a bit more time in the present moment can ease many menopause symptoms.
By Selene Yeager
As your hormones fluctuate and drop, they can take your peace of mind with them, leaving you more prone to feeling anxious, irritable, and depressed. A daily dose of mindfulness may help.
A study of 1,744 women ages 40 to 65 published in Climacteric: The Journal of the International Menopause Society found that women who scored higher on the Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) had lower menopause symptom scores for irritability, depression, and anxiety.
Mindfulness comes up a lot in menopause circles for relieving stress (which is known to rise and exacerbate symptoms during this time) and improving sleep (which also can relieve stress and other symptoms like anxiety).
But what the heck is mindfulness really? It’s really just taking a moment. It doesn’t have to be another thing to add to your daily “to-do.” It’s something you can slip right into your day when you’re feeling frazzled, during a coffee or meal break, or anytime you have a moment where you can just sit and breathe. Because that’s all you need to do. Sit and breathe.
Mindful.org recommends sitting in a place that feels calm (if that means locking yourself in the bathroom for a few minutes, so be it!), setting a timer for 5 minutes, and focusing on your breath. Your mind will naturally wander, but just nudge it back to your breath, without worrying that you’re “not doing it right” because you have thoughts floating around.
Once you start practicing mindfulness, it should start to come more naturally. And the benefits of being more naturally mindful aren’t just fewer menopause symptoms, though that alone is worth it, but mindfulness itself.
If you look at the MAAS questionnaire, it rates daily experiences such as forgetting people’s names immediately after learning them; spilling or breaking things because you’re not paying attention to what you’re doing; snacking without being aware of what you’re eating; half listening to people when they’re talking to you, and a host of other actions that many of us can relate to. Doing fewer of these things less often and living more fully in the moment we are in can help improve just about everything we do, regardless of our menopausal state.
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