Is it them or is it me? Do you find yourself questioning who is to blame for the emotional rollercoaster you seem to be on? That’s because it’s all about timing and the menopause seems to catch us at exactly the wrong time: our children are teenagers and challenging everything we say or ask them to do; our parents are ageing and needing more support more often. All those issues you thought you’d parked while you concentrated on raising a family, building a career and creating a home resurface and can manifest into physical symptoms. Your mind seems to have been tipped upside down and everything goes into flux. It could be your menopausal mind?
Any change can be unwelcome. The older, survival part of our brain, where habit and routine also reside, rebels against change, seeing it as a threat to the status quo and therefore our safety. Instinctively, therefore, we fight against change because we all prefer to be comfortable and hate discomfort at any level. But this is actually fighting ourselves and results in strong emotions such as sadness, fear and anxiety dominating our behaviour.
Time to stop, take a look at our habits and routines, and then engage with thought processes we’ve not even been aware we’re capable of. Humans are amazing machines and, of course, we are able to adapt, think and resolve all kinds of complex situations, but how often do we apply that to our own lives?
Fundamental to coping with the turmoil into which our hormones throw us as we enter menopause is the ability to delve deep into our psyche and rediscover who we really are, what our skills are, what our true beliefs are. We need to use our ‘thinking’ brain to train our ‘survival’ brain to work in a more positive way for us.
This is where cognitive hypnotherapy can be useful because the approach is individualised. Personal mantras work better than generic ones and, if we use them on a regular basis, new and more positive habits are formed. Eastern models all place emphasis on making sure we embrace change and allow ourselves to go on a journey of rediscovery. From turmoil comes wisdom, but only if we ride the ups and downs.
In fact, the Chinese believe the menopause is The Second Spring, but first, we need to travel through autumn and winter, which can be times of letting go of old habits, dealing with physical or emotional discomfort and accepting we may need to delegate some tasks to others or hand over responsibility to a young adult. We need to learn to see ourselves as different, new and fresh, not different, tired and unattractive.
As we come through the storm with this new level of acceptance we begin to realise that it is quality of life that matters, not quantity. We are still the anchor of the family, but instead of feeling exhausting, it begins to feel good. This is because we have learnt to see ourselves in a different way and accept that change is positive. This is all part of looking after ourselves better and embracing our Second Spring.