How to Remain Upbeat About Menopause – WikiHow

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From WikiHow

More than 40 million North American postmenopausal women can expect to live a third of their lives after menopause, up to 35 to 40 years.[1] Centuries of negativity about the “change of life” pervade our culture still, with today’s medical profession viewing menopause as a point in time focused on estrogen deficiency rather than a holistic process.[2] Much misinformation exists about menopause, aided and abetted by the heavy focus on youth culture and the desire to push aside anything that suggests “aging”. Yet, taking what is a natural occurrence in women’s lives and turning it into a disease or a syndrome in need of treatment leaves many women feeling anxious, afraid, and ashamed of what is happening to them during menopause.

 

It shouldn’t be this way: menopause is a natural and inevitable part of the progression of every woman’s life, and is to be celebrated and respected. Looking at menopause with a more positive attitude is something this article aims to help you to achieve. Happy journeying!

Steps

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    Become informed. If you don’t know what to expect from menopause, you’ll be more vulnerable to the horror stories, the pressure to undergo treatments that you might not necessarily want to have, and the worry that your changes are out of your control. Information is power; power to make informed choices, to understand what is truly involved in menopause and to realize that many women have undergone this passage of life and grown in strength and wisdom as a result.

    • Read books about menopause, especially those written by women who have experienced it, or who work with it. A good book to begin with is Dr Christiane Northrup’s The Wisdom of Menopause: The Complete Guide to Physical and Emotional Health During the Change,[3]. Reading about other women’s experiences will help you to understand the variety of possibilities during menopause, as well as reassuring you that you’re not experiencing menopause alone.
    • Knowing what to expect will help when you’re feeling irritable, dissatisfied, or impatient. Tracing these moods back to the reality of menopause will help you to work through them, rather than viewing yourself as suddenly ill-tempered.
    • There are plenty of stories about the dreadful journey women go through when experiencing menopause, often published in women’s magazines. The reality is that these stories highlight the less usual experiences; the more sensational and unusual the experience, the more newsworthy but that doesn’t mean it’s a reflection of the average experience. Take heart that it’s a minority of women who suffer discomfort,[4] and that there are plenty of good ways of minimizing discomforts associated with menopause.
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    3. Shape a positive attitude toward menopause. You have two choices – you can face menopause angrily or in denial (but it’s still going to happen), or you can accept it and make the most of the transition period to set yourself up for the remainder of your life. In the first instance, you’ll allow yourself to get bundled up in the negativity associated with menopause and potentially increase the unpleasant experiences through increased stress and unhappiness. In the latter instance, your proactive approach to menopause will help you to face the challenge with a positive mindset that lets you re-evaluate your life’s purpose.
    4. Keep in mind that you’re still a woman. In a youth-prone society, it is very easy to fall into the trap of feeling that post-reproductive age, your womanhood is somehow reduced. The reality is that you’re no less a woman than prior to menopause! You’re simply a woman who has undergone reproductive changes, not changes to the essence of what makes you a woman.
    • For many women, menopause is a time of redefinition of roles, interests, and reawakening of purpose. Many women find that this is a time for reflection about where they have been and where they are headed. It can mean the end of some relationships, careers, lifestyles, and the start of completely new ones. It can mean that you finally do what it is you always wanted to do. Much of the reflection comes from the fact that menopause is a real mortality reminder that we’re only here for so long, so we’d better make the most of it.
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    2. Take a proactive approach to medical interventions. If you’re experiencing some of the unpleasant effects accompanying menopause and these are causing you to feel down, depressed, or in pain, discuss it with your doctor in an informed manner, with a view to asking hard questions and getting quality answers. Do your research on what you’re experiencing beforehand so that you can raise possible solutions that you’re comfortable with. This is better than feeling that you’re being pitied as a victim or being railroaded into taking treatments that you don’t wish to.
    3. Avoid the temptation to take treatments at the first hot flash. See if you can find non-medical interventions to cope with the unpleasant side-effects of menopause before rushing in to take pharmaceutical solutions.
    • Look for alternative treatments. There are numerous plant-based remedies available for helping ease the symptoms of menopause. Research the options in constructive discussions with your doctor and alternative health therapist. (Avoid taking plant-based approaches without knowing what you’re doing – plant remedies have their own potential for toxicity or causing other symptoms.)
    • Provided they’re not health or life-threatening, consider doing nothing about the changes beyond talking with others, and just letting them happen. Radical, but it’s what most women have done throughout history. The problem is often in our perception that menopause needs treatment. On the whole, for the majority of women, it simply doesn’t. More likely it’s the emotional symptoms that accompany it that are in need of treatment: the anxiety, the sense of purposelessness, the worry about self-esteem, etc. Reflect on this carefully and seek support through counseling if needed.
    • Dr Christiane Northrup thinks that some of the reactions women experience during the menopausal transition are the body’s message about what most needs changing in your life, and she says that the “wisdom of this system is very precise” and leads women to discover their inner wisdom.[5]
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    2. Learn to use anti-stress techniques. If you feel stressed during menopause, the fluctuating hormones are probably going to simply add to these feelings. Rather than reaching for a pill, consider ways to reduce the stress. Can you handle your workload differently? Can you take up yoga, meditation, a gym class? Perhaps you might be in need of offloading a lot of negative self-talk that has built up all these years – getting counseling can be a good way out for someone in this position.
    3. Deep breathing exercises can help with hot flashes. It takes practice but is very effective.
    • Use exercise as a way of maintaining a good mood and good physical health. Regular, moderate exercise can reduce your sensitivity to the impacts of menopause and will lift your mood. Exercise has also been proven to lower the intensity and frequency of hot flashes.
    • Use food as a way to improve your mood. Avoid food that makes you feel hot or irritable, such as spicy food and drinks, hot drinks, excess animal protein, etc. Turn to “menopause super-foods” such as unprocessed foods, fruit and vegetables, beans and pulses, fish, sugar-free foods, etc.[6] Basically, eat healthy and nutritiously! Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. The changing hormone levels affect how the cells in our body retain moisture.
    • Look into such treatments as acupuncture, aromatherapy, acupressure, and homeopathy as possible helping hands through the transition. Consider a combination of Oriental and Western medical approaches.
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    2. Embrace change. Many of us aren’t that good at embracing change at any time of our life, struggling to deal with any transition period. That’s only natural; change can be painful emotionally because it challenges us and presents us with the unknown, the new. This is why keeping informed is important. But it’s also important to actively embrace change: this is the next important and valid stage in your life. It’s also a time when more freedom comes for many women as families grow up, and a new independence can be one reward of life at this time.
    3. Seek a place of acceptance. It will be harder to do some things, such as keeping off weight. But rather than complaining about this, accept the change and see it as an opportunity to reassess unhealthier or less productive aspects of your life prior to menopause. It’s quite possible that changes to exercise, nutrition, and pampering yourself are well overdue anyway!
    • Love the clarity of vision that can arrive with menopause. Menopause is a crossroads, a time to rebirth yourself, change your focus, and start exploring your own needs more. It becomes a time when you stop stifling your own needs in favor of others and start making changes needed to forge on with a positive future.[7] With children grown sufficiently, or already having left the nest, time comes back to you and becomes yours again. Think back to the disparities you felt in household responsibilities 10 years before. You don’t need to make those sacrifices now because the time and space become your own again.
    • Allow yourself to grieve the past. You are leaving behind parts of your life that were once integral to who you are. Find a ritual to farewell that part of your adulthood and to welcome in the next stage of adulthood.
    • Pick up where you left off before the juggling act of your earlier decades swamped you. Resurrect a rusty career, start a new one, go on a pilgrimage, or start a business.
    • Expect to flare up now and then. This is a time when many women learn to speak their mind, when old resentments bubble up and need to be confronted to allow you to transition to the next stage of life. For some women, this will result in the end of relationships, even marriages. For other women, it becomes a time of new relationships or growth within an existing one.
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    2. Find strength in friends. Look to friends who are experiencing the same as you, or have already gone through menopause. Share stories, support one another, and have frequent, good laughs together. Unburdening yourself in the company of trusted and understanding friends can relieve many concerns and reassure you that you’re in good company.

From WikiHow

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