Is Anxiety connected to the menopause? I get asked this question a lot. You might think this is one of those questions that has a yes or no answer. You might even desperately want it to have a yes or no answer and you might also just want someone to reach in and fix your anxiety.
Another thing I hear often is, I have been told that anxiety is part of the menopause and I should get some anti-anxiety medication. Then comes the question that opens the can of worms… what do you think?
This is a difficult question to be asked and to even answer. I have had my own experience of anxiety with non-trigger panic attacks and bouts of depression. I know that it was not the menopause that caused these symptoms. But because I had unresolved trauma in my past, I was subconsciously triggering a stress response and this made my menopause journey so much worse.
Here is one response I often use:
- Yes, many women going through the menopause do suffer bouts of or symptoms of anxiety.
- No, anxiety is not directly a symptom of the menopause. Anxiety is a symptom of being over stressed.
- Being over-stressed going into or through the menopause can lead to many health related challenges.
The Cause And Effect Of Stress
When you think of Cause and Effect you can sort of understand what is going on. The cause of anxiety is stress. When you get over-stressed and are triggering the stress response all the time. The effect of being over-stressed = bouts of anxiety (the effect).
Anxiety Is Not The Cause, It’s An Effect
Anxiety is the effect of being over-stressed. Whether you are going through the menopause or not! But anxiety is not the cause of the problem. Lasting success with anxiety comes from working on resolving and retuning the cause – what is causing you to be over stressed?
What has Stress Got To Do With The Menopause
I can hear your question – So what has stress got to do with the menopause? It has everything to do with the menopause. From puberty through to menopause most women have a monthly cycle where hormones like oestrogen and progesterone rise and fall at certain times of the month. Stress can knock your natural rhythm out at any time.
Stress Menopause And Hormones
As you hit 40, or perhaps even before 40 for some women, the progesterone and oestrogen levels begin to drop in the body and the Adrenal Glands are meant to kick in a take up the slack to help you navigate this change. But this cannot happen if your adrenals are already working all the time on keeping you in the flight, fight, freeze mode.
The Adrenal Glands Play A Key Role During The Menopause
The main organ that is meant to take over the production of oestrogen and progesterone is the Adrenal Glands. As the ovaries slow down in producing oestrogen, the adrenals kick in. If the adrenals glands did this, the body would not try and rob oestrogen from others organs like the heart – causing bigger problems.
Stress Will Always Win The Battle
You are built to survive first and thrive second. The Adrenal glands will never secrete oestrogen before cortisol when the body is under stress, even if that stressor is not a life and death situation. If you are stressed or you have somehow managed to be in a constant hyper-vigilant state all of the time, your adrenals cannot help with the menopause journey.
This means you are going to be very lacking in oestrogen – all of a sudden – forcing you to crash land into the menopause, when you should be having a gradual easing into the menopause journey.
Anxiety Comes from Being Over-Stressed – Regardless of the Cause
If the Adrenal glands are under this much constant stress, they will only secrete cortisol. They need a lot of vitamin C and magnesium to help them do this. When Stressed, the adrenals also stimulate the pancreas to shoot off bursts of energy for the body to be able to fight or fly. All these demands on your already stressed body means it will not be able to cope with the added stress of your transition through the menopause – because of the sudden drop in oestrogen.
The result is a very over-stressed you with neurotransmitters all over the place and this is what leads to Anxiety. You can tend to get bouts of Anxiety during the menopause, but that is because you are over-stressed internally, not directly because of the menopause.
My solution is to get yourself de-stressed. I know only too well that this can be easier said than done when you are in this ‘stress-cycle’. That is why I always suggest a grounded and rounded approach.
A Rounded and Grounded Natural Approach to The Menopause Works Best In the Long Run
Through my training, practice and personal experience, I recommend natural ways of helping you calm the stresses.
Diet And Menopause
Firstly, you need to take away foods that are stressing your body. Sugar is one of the biggest challenges for women in the menopause. Coffee can be another real stressor for women in the menopause, as can alcohol. As well as taking away some foods that are not helping you, I tend to find that many women need a lot of nutritional support, to help with supporting the energy system through falling oestrogen and progestogen levels.
Mental Support and Menopause
You also need to change the thoughts that are triggering your stress response. Most of these are subconscious and automatic and are connected to past unresolved events and trauma. Sometimes people can be the what cause you the most stress. Many women can find themselves questioning their close relationships as part of their menopause journey, with some needing to leave oppressive or non-trusting environments.
Essential Exercise and Menopause
Next, take a look at your exercise regime. You do not need to be killing yourself, but you do need to be engaged in daily, weight bearing exercise. I have been using Rebounding as my main form of exercise for many years. The health benefits of rebounding are many. You can read more about my Rebound For Wellness Programmes that are for women who need to be exercising but just can’t.
Sleep And Menopause
Now, you need to regulate your sleep pattern. Most of the time this will happen naturally, as you address the other issues already mentioned. But you may also need to address things like watching TV before bed, darkness in your bedroom and having a restful space.
Water And Menopause
One of the key aspects to having is poor sleep is dehydration. Dehydration can cause a stress response. if this happens at night, you will have a stress response.
Where to Start Retuning Your Stress During the Menopause
If you don’t know where to start – pick one thing on the list above and look at it. Take water drinking. Set a reminder on your phone every hour to remind you to drink some water. I recommend you apply the 3 S’s when drinking water: Sip Swivel Swallow. Then when you have this mastered take on another thing, like looking at your exercise regime.
If you would like some help getting yourself into a good routine, you could attend a kinesiologist. In my work I combine kinesiology with Tapping and the Law of Attraction to help women get a good wellness programme going. One that helps them reduce stress, improve habits for wellness and get those past unresolved thoughts retuned to positive uplifting ones.
You could also try my online programme that helps you get into these very effective and natural daily habits. You can learn more here.
The Anxiety Picture
So, hopefully you can see how anxiety fits into the menopause journey. More importantly, you can see how to begin to transform your own menopause journey. My book: Tap Into Success tells of my journey with Anxiety and how I used Tapping to overcome non-trigger panic attacks that have never come back. In the book I also talk you through how to use Tapping to help you retune your anxiety states and symptoms and I give you a bonus chapter with lots of scripts to get you into positive thinking.
Stress Doesn’t Go Away, You Just Get Better At Surfing Its Waves
Stress doesn’t go away. Stress is all around you. But you can get really good at surfing the waves of stress that are coming at you all of the time.For help with this you can book a 1:1 online consultation with me or indeed a face to face if you live local to Dublin 15 – COVID guidelines apply.
Online Self-Study Programmes with Email Access
You can also try some of my online programmes like Beat Your Stress and Boost Your Wellness – Naturally!, or Retuning Anxiety – The Natural Way. You will get a free copy of my book – Tap into Success when you purchase an online programme. You have email access to me throughout your programme and you can take as long as you like to complete the programme – but hopefully not too long because I want you gliding through your menopause journey ASAP!
There are also some Rebounding Programmes on the site to get you started and keep you rebounding for your wellness. These are totally focused on women who are not currently exercising and know they need to. While weight loss and fitness are not the primary goal, you will lose weight and become fitter.
Stress, Anxiety and the Menopause – The bottom Line
Bottom Line is, you need to be active in helping yourself to reduce stress in your life so you can calm the anxiety states and get yourself to a place where you glide through the menopause, like you should be doing. Your health is priceless, don’t let yourself get to the point where you have no choice but to start medications or have surgeries, when taking easy steps to change your lifestyle now could bring you such great relief, boost your energy and fill you with much joy.
Let Today Be Your First Day
Remember today is the first day of the rest of your life. Just pick one area mentioned in this blog and act on making improvements now. You will be very glad you did.
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