Many of us suffer from anxiety at some point in our lives, but did you know the feelings of anxiety can actually be heightened for women transitioning through menopause?
If you’ve ever suffered from anxiety you may just think that it’s solely linked to a build-up of stressful events that have occurred in your life. However, research shows that your hormones can play a big role in the development of anxiety-related symptoms.
Menopause and anxiety often go hand-in-hand. As your menstrual cycles begin to cease, your hormones fluctuate considerably. In some women, menopause may simply exacerbate the anxiety caused by external stressors. In others, it may actually be the principal cause of what’s known as hormonal menopausal anxiety.
Menopause and Your Hormones
Your hormones are responsible for sending messages throughout your whole body. They affect every process of the body, including:
- physical growth
- responses to stress
- the timing of your periods
When your hormones are in balance, your body is able to efficiently carry out all functions. Menopause is a time of dramatic fluctuations in your hormones and their effects on your body, so it’s no surprise that you might experience reactions that you’ve never felt before.
The Link Between Menopause and Anxiety
Throughout menopause, your levels of estrogen are reduced. This often causes a range of uncomfortable symptoms, including:
- hot flashes
- night sweats
Though everyone has heard of menopausal hot flashes, the psychological effects of this transition seem to take a backseat in common knowledge about menopause.
The fluctuation of hormonal levels may cause you to be more irritable than usual or find yourself easily affected by otherwise small stressors. You might also experience an increase in anxiety-related symptoms and find yourself struggling to pinpoint an obvious trigger for these psychological changes. These symptoms may include:
- a general feeling of unease
- heightened nerves
- immense worry
Often anxiety is accompanied by a restless night’s sleep which only exacerbates the symptoms.
Serotonin, also known as the “feel good” chemical, is also greatly affected when your estrogen levels drop. This can directly influence your thought patterns, since sufficient levels of estrogen are required to both produce and release serotonin in women. This, combined with the effects of your fluctuating estrogen levels, can cause noticeable psychological changes.
Balance Is the Key
While fluctuating hormones are part of the natural process of menopause, it doesn’t mean you have to suffer along the way. There are a number of key factors you can implement into your day that can help to reduce the effects of menopause.
Taking steps to be on top of your overall health is the best approach to reduce the severity of menopause anxiety, and keep a healthy mind and body. Think of this as a time of your life in which you can finally put your needs first and truly focus on your own well being.
Focus On Your Nutrition
The first step is to be more mindful of what kind of food you are eating. Try to aim for food that is derived from nature and limit the amount of processed foods. Unfortunately, much of our food today contain nasty additives, preservatives, colors, and flavors that are only detrimental to your health. Foods that are high in saturated fat, sugar, or any of the above should be consumed in moderation.
A balanced diet will give your body the nutrients it needs to function properly. For example, simply increasing your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables is a great way to introduce more nutrient dense foods into your diet. The USDA actually recommends filling half of your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables at every meal.
By focusing on small changes in your diet, you will be amazed at the difference in your:
- quality of sleep
- thought patterns
- reduction in anxiety
- other menopausal symptoms
Natural Herbal Remedies
A lot of research has been dedicated to showing the effects of natural herbal remedies in managing your mood. It’s a relief to know that there are many natural alternatives to pharmaceutical medication and hormone replacement therapies. Selecting the right naturopath who specializes in the treatment of menopausal symptoms is the best approach for reliable and trusted information.
Another great option is finding specialized health stores that stock herbal supplements. You can find many of these stores either online or in your local shopping center. For example, Tranquilene Total Calm is one herbal supplement that assists with the feelings of anxiety. It can provide an immediate calming effect and can help to correct hormonal imbalances over time.
A naturopath understands that each woman’s experience of menopause can vary immensely. A naturopath will tailor his or her approach according to your specific needs. Many women find that this type of personalized, holistic care can be effective in soothing many of their menopausal symptoms.
Find Your Bliss
Finding ways to reduce your stress will assist greatly in balancing out your hormones and reducing levels of cortisol, aka, the “stress hormone.” Letting go and relaxing is absolutely vital for your overall wellness. So it’s important to take time out for yourself every day. Find the things you love and do more of them!
Whether you enjoy:
- indulging in an invigorating bath with scented candles at home,
- spending time hiking a national park,
- or relaxing on the beach with your favorite novel,
don’t underestimate the importance of taking care of yourself, in order to quiet your busy mind.
As levels of estrogen fluctuate in the transition period of menopause, the body naturally wants to store fat. Thus, it’s a great idea to find a sport or hobby involving physical movement. While it can sometimes be hard to get going when you are enduring hot flashes and mood swings, you might be quite surprised at how you feel by the time you finish. Of course, you should always listen to your body to know whether to engage in light exercise or a full-blown workout!
Because all of our bodies are different and no two women are the same, it’s important to find the right combination of natural therapies when it comes to combating menopause and anxiety. You can take control of your menopause symptoms without them taking control of you! Menopause does represent a new chapter in your life, but it can also be a time of great wisdom and freedom.
How do you tackle the most challenging aspects of menopause? Share your wisdom in the comments section below!