What does the menopause mean for you?

emotionally upset woman

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Many women view the menopause as something to dread. A time of their lives associated with unpleasant symptoms that need to be gone through, and something that possibly needs fixing with various treatments. Indeed doctors are taught to view the menopause as a deficiency disease.

However the menopause is a natural state, something all of us women will eventually go through and it should be regarded as a rite of passage; an event which signifies the movement into a new phase of our lives. In more traditional cultures the wise women, or elders of the tribe, were always women who had gone through this physical and emotional change.

In itself the menopause brings about physiological effects as a woman’s hormone levels change. These may or may not bring various physical symptoms such as hot flushes, migraines, weight gain, osteoporosis etc., but these can be addressed by good nutrition and associated supplements.

But alongside the physical changes there are the changes in emotions. These emotional changes are perfectly normal but can be unfamiliar to many women. A woman may start to become more aware of her emotional body as she starts to shift her focus in life from focusing on others to focusing on herself.

Commonly experienced emotions include anger, feeling needy, feeling devalued, sad or feeling out of control. But instead of giving in to these emotions and seeing them as a bad thing, look on it as an opportunity for examining your emotional health. Ask yourself “How do I want the second half of my life to look?”

Emotionally balanced woman

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This time of your life can be an opportunity to improve your emotional health and the depth of your relationships with your partner, children or friends. It is a time when you can acknowledge and work through past traumas and suppressed emotions. A time when you have the space to consciously create a healthy, happy, and fulfilling life.

Emotions are simply messages which tell us what is happening in our body and mind, and whether we are meeting their needs. Physical needs include good nutrition, rest, sleep, exercise, warmth and shelter. Emotional needs include; the need for security, giving and receiving positive attention, intimate close relationships, status, privacy, meaning and purpose and connection with the wider community. Emotions become a problem when we sedate, control or deny them.

Healthy ways of dealing with emotions are to feel them fully, accept them and allow them to pass through your awareness, or to discharge them through physical activity or by sharing them with others. Unhealthy ways of dealing with emotions include allowing them to overwhelm you and acting them out; supressing or resisting them through food, drink or drugs, or repressing them altogether.

Emotional avoidance strategies include excessive busyness, overeating, excessive control, compulsive judging of others and oneself, lying, people pleasing, drinking alcohol, gossiping, excessive TV viewing, addictions, avoiding intimacy and overworking.

What are your emotional avoidance strategies?

A couple of  healthy alternative emotional management strategies you can use include developing ‘mindfulness’ or developing a ‘gratitude attitude’.

Mindfulness: a way of paying attention to and seeing clearly whatever is going on in your life. Just take a few moments to acknowledge in a detached manner what is happening around you and how you are feeling about it. Just bring in an attitude of openness, curiosity and acceptance to the reality of whatever it is we are noticing.

Gratitude Attitude: Each day write down two things you appreciate about yourself and two things you are grateful for. (These must be heart based, i.e. you must feel the gratitude). Then set an intention for your day, (and follow it through!)

Comments

  1. Thank you for your article. I think it explains some of what I am going through. I have also, been thinking of what I am grateful for too. Thank you.

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