Anxiety episodes are common during menopause. They usually present themselves as compulsive worrying that fosters fear, to the point where they may be paralyzing or hinder daily activities. These symptoms do not mean that you're going crazy, but rather that your body is experiencing changes. Anxiety may arise during any big transition in life, and the hormonal imbalance during menopause is a risk factor for anxiety by itself.
One of the main issues when treating anxiety is that people feel a lack of control, because their worries and concerns have built up and begun to eat away at them. Overactive thoughts are a common problem, and it can be hard to break the cycle, but it is not impossible.
Once many people have realized how disruptive anxiety can be to their happiness and health, they may start to seek solutions. It may take quite a bit of effort at first, but the benefits can be truly transformative. These different techniques aim to put you in charge of your emotions once again.
Countless studies have discovered the soothing benefits of meditation. It is a practice that allows you to tame your mind and experience relaxation. It can be difficult at first, but when you continue doing it daily, you will notice better coping abilities in just a few weeks.
It helps to get started with a group of people, so look into the nearest meditation circle or class. If you would like to begin at home, close your eyes, and deeply inhale into your stomach (rather than your chest). Hold your breath for 10 seconds, and release all of your worries while exhaling. Focus on the rhythm of your breath and try to clear your mind of everyday thoughts and worries. Continue for 20 minutes five times a week.
Yoga is a physical exercise that also has mental and emotional benefits. It is great for getting in shape and releasing uplifting neurotransmitters like serotonin and endorphines, and it can significantly reduce anxiety. Yoga is designed for bringing balance to the body, mind, and soul. Worries can be released through this series of balancing, stretching, and strengthening poses. Deep focus and deep breathing also release gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that induces a state of tranquility.
Many times, anxiety symptoms may cause you to avoid social gatherings and remain in familiar, indoor places. This can worsen feelings of anxiety in the long run, since the lack of physical activity and direct sunlight can promote more feelings of depression.
On the other hand, spending more time outdoors and under the sun will boost your vitamin D levels and elevate your mood. Take a nice brisk walk, listen to the sounds of nature, and look at the changing sights.
The most important thing when dealing with menopausal anxiety is to balance your hormones. There are two natural approaches for that: phytoestrogenic (e.g., black cohosh) and hormone-regulating supplements (e.g., Macafem). Also, there are certain herbs that are extremely effective for reducing anxiety, because they have special compounds and nutrients that can relax you and improve your mood.
Kava in particular contains kavalactones, an active ingredient that has been studied for its ability to fight stress, relax the muscles, and improve clarity of mind. It can be found as a tea, tincture, or in tablet form.
If you struggle to achieve restful sleep or to feel calm, passionflower is a milder option that can foster relaxation and let you have a clear day.
During menopause, it can be easy to focus on negative thoughts and emotions. Other symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, and loss of libido can feel defeating. But there are ways you can treat these symptoms through healthy lifestyle choices and natural herbal remedies. For further information on how to deal with anxiety during menopause, click here.
- Harvard Health Publications. (2009). Yoga for anxiety and depression. Retrieved February 21, 2014, from http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mental_Health_Letter/2009/April/Yoga-for-anxiety-and-depression
- National Library of Medicine: Medline Plus. (2014). Passionflower. Retrieved March 21 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/871.html
- NYU Langone Medical Center. (n.d). Kava. Retrieved March 21, 2014, from http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=21785
- Trafton, A. (2011). MIT News: The benefits of meditation. Retrieved February 27, 2014, from http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/meditation-0505.html
- University of Maryland Medical Center. (2012). Vitamin D. Retrieved February 27, 2014, from https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-d