Mind over Menopause
Guest blog by Pat Duckworth, Cognitive Hypnotherapist, award-winning author and international public speaker, expert on menopause management.
Menopause, for most women, is a natural phase of life that occurs as the level of your reproductive hormones decline in your forties and fifties. Of course it can occur earlier due to illness or medical treatment.
You may think that your experience of menopause is entirely governed by your genetics. Your mother’s and female relatives’ experience are indicators of what you might expect, but there are other significant factors such as nutrition, lifestyle and attitude.
That last factor, attitude, is very important. Research in 2010 found that women who feel supported during menopause have a better experience of this time of life. International research has shown that women living in societies where older women are valued and have a special status have less significant symptoms of menopause. This is evidence of the power of the mind to influence physical and emotional symptoms.
So, how can hypnotherapy help and which symptoms can it help with? Let’s start with the symptom that is most likely to send women running to their doctor for help – hot flushes/flashes and night sweats. A study of women experiencing hot flushes due to hormone treatment for breast cancer concluded that ‘Hypnosis appears to reduce perceived hot flashes in breast cancer survivors and may have additional benefits such as reduced anxiety and depression, and improved sleep.’
The technique used in this trial was for the hypnotherapist to induce relaxation and then guide the subjects to visualise cool images such as waterfalls, rain and snow. While under hypnosis, the women were also given suggestions for relaxation, and positive suggestions and imagery for the future. By the end of the five week study, the frequency and severity of the hot flushes had decreased by 68%
You can have a go at this powerful self-help technique:
Sit or lay down somewhere comfortable and close your eyes.
Focus on your breath, noticing the rhythm, sensation and sound of your breathing.
Start to make your out-breath longer than your in-breath by counting as you breathe in and counting for slightly longer as you breathe out. Let go of any tension in your body.
Picture a cool image. It could be rain running down a window or a snow scene or imagine yourself diving into a cool lake. One of my clients imagined putting her feet into Wellington boots full of cold water! The clearer and more detailed you make the picture, the more effective it will be.
Notice what happens to your temperature.
The more you practice this technique and find your perfect cool imagine, the more you will be able to use this technique quickly and effectively.
There is powerful mind/body technique that is commonly used by athletes to control their body temperature. It involves relaxing and picturing a control room in the brain. Locate the control for your body temperature and move the indicator to ‘cool’, ‘normal’ or ‘comfortable’ or whatever makes sense for you. Notice what changes as you use the control. One of my clients, who was experiencing up to 50 hot flushes a day, got immediate relief from this technique. She was able to reduce the severity and frequency of the flushes.
Another symptom of menopause is weight gain. Gaining weight during the perimenopause years is often accompanied by changes in body shape as fat is laid down around the waist to store oestrogen. Weight can also rise due to the slowing down of the metabolic rate, stress, poor sleep or an underactive thyroid.
Many women know what a healthy diet should include to support their bodies at this time of life but they still find themselves eating and drinking things that make their symptoms worse. Emotional eating frequently occurs when women experience emotions such as boredom, frustration, loneliness and anger. Physical hunger comes on slowly and is associated by symptoms such as loss of energy and light headedness. These symptoms go away when you eat. Emotional hunger comes on quickly and is not satisfied by food. In fact most women tell me that they feel worse when they finish eating their ‘comfort’ food.
Hypnotherapy can help women to relax, deal with stress and sleep better. It can also help you to deal with the emotional connection to food. Once that connection is broken you can eat and drink when you are physically hungry and become more sensitive to the signals your body sends you to let you know when you have eaten enough to maintain a healthy body weight. That is the best long term strategy for weight loss.
You can download FREE Sleep Welland Mindful Weight Losshypnotic recordings at www.hotwomencoolsolutions.com