- Mindfulness can reduce the severity of menopausal symptoms such as anxiety, depression, mood changes, and irritability and improve the quality of life in menopausal women
- Mindfulness refers to the process of focusing one's attention on the present only and observe one's thoughts and sensations in a detached manner without making any judgments or reacting
- Mindfulness is a skill that can be easily trained to follow and can be suggested as a potential tool to help menopausal women cope with their symptoms and stress
Practicing mindfulness regularly can decrease menopausal symptoms in women according to a recent study by the Mayo Clinic study led by women's health specialist Richa Sood, M.D.
The findings of the study appear in Climacteric: The Journal of the International Menopause Society
‘Mindfulness is a skill that can be easily acquired and can become a potential tool in treating menopausal symptoms and stress in women.’
Mindfulness and Menopausal Symptoms
- As part of the study, about 1,744 women were enrolled between the ages of 40 to 65 who were treated at Mayo Clinic's Women's Health Clinic in Rochester between 1st January 2015 and 31st December 2016
- The women filled questionnaires asking about their stress levels, menopausal symptoms and practice of mindfulness
- The study showed that women with higher mindfulness had fewer menopausal symptoms
- The benefit of practicing mindfulness was greatest in women with more severe menopausal symptoms and distress
- Mindfulness did not influence the degree or severity of menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats
This finding suggests that discomfort caused by hot flashes
and sweats are influenced by the woman's personality rather than the nature of the symptoms themselves.
- Specifically, higher level of mindfulness was associated with lower levels of scoring of irritability, depression and anxiety in middle aged women undergoing menopause
The findings of the study suggest that practicing mindfulness can significantly benefit women having menopausal symptoms such as anxiety and depression.
"While more studies need to be done, doctors can consider discussing mindfulness as a potential treatment option for menopausal women,"
Dr. Sood says.
What is Menopause?
A woman is said to be menopausal if she has not had periods for at least one year
. The usual age of menopause varies between 47 to 55 years. Statistics estimate that every day 6000 women in the US reach menopause
and by 2020 the total number of women 55 years and older is expected to reach 46 million.
Troublesome symptoms associated with menopause in women include hot flashes, sweats, vaginal dryness and mental symptoms such as irritability, anxiety and depression.
How to Practice Mindfulness
Here are few tips that will help you in practicing mindfulness in day-to-day life.
- Choose a quiet and comfortable space free of clutter and where you are unlikely to be disturbed.
- Assume a comfortable posture and keep the back (spine) straight
- Close your eyes and observe and pay close attention to your breathing and the movement of your chest and belly with each breath.
- Gradually focus attention on each and every part of your body and release the tension by loosening the muscles from every part until you feel completely relaxed and tension free.
- Begin initially with a short time of about 5 to 10 minutes and increase as you feel comfortable.
When one practices mindfulness, their attention is focused only on the present, particularly attention to their breath or a specific object. If your attention wanders and other thoughts enter the head, try not to react or judge these thoughts and remain calm and undisturbed until the thoughts go away and turn your attention back to the present. Do not let thoughts from the past disturb you or worry about the future. Stay in the present.
Mindfulness has its origins in Buddhist meditation
but is increasingly being viewed as a tool that can be practiced to reduce stress in several situations and places including hospitals, clinics prisons, schools and veteran centers including by anyone at home.
Mindfulness can be easily learned and regular practice has been shown to significantly reduce stress
and achieve relaxation and inner peace. "Essentially, the first step in being mindful is to become aware that our minds are on autopilot most of the time,"
Dr. Sood says. References :
- Mindfulness may ease menopausal symptoms - (https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mindfulness-may-ease-menopausal-symptoms/)
- What is Mindfulness? - (https://www.mindful.org/what-is-mindfulness/)