Meditation Techniques to Alleviate Symptoms of Menopause
We all need a reason to take a deep breath. Meditation, the act of focus our thoughts and calming our bodies and thoughts, can also help people experiencing perimenopause and menopause manage emotions, sleep better, and reduce cortisol levels, the hormones linked to stress.
According to a recent study, meditation can also help those navigating the roller coaster of hormonal change to home in on their thoughts and emotions, helping to understand how we're feeling in the moment.
The benefits of meditation in menopause
In addition to helping to center your thoughts and relax and body and mind, meditation may actually help your hot flashes. According to the North American Menopause Society, mind/body relaxation techniques can help relieve both stress, the severity, and frequency of these troublesome bursts of heat.
No need to set aside hours of your time. You can start small, starting with an app or just setting aside a few minutes alone to focus on clearing your thoughts and tuning inward.
Since most of us don't have time to go to a spa to unwind, meditation is an easy practice to adopt into our daily lives. It requires nothing more than a quiet space and the willingness to try.
Simple meditation techniques to tryHere are a few ways to begin the practice of meditation, no yoga mat required.
Meditate over lunch
Whether you're working from home or in an office, we all deserve a lunch break (especially when we're experiencing symptoms, such as hot flashes or moodiness). When we're crunched for time, our midday meal can be more of a chore than a chance to sit, eat, and take a much-needed break from our tasks and errands.
Next time you put your plate in front of you, sit down and simply stay still for a few moments without doing anything. Breathe in deeply through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Repeat this exercise several times until you feel the stress gradually leaving your body. Savor your food, you deserve this time.
No need to be a certified yogi. Mindfulness meditation simply involves being mindful of the present moment and being aware of one's thoughts, feelings, and how the body is feeling in the moment.
The best way to begin the practice is to find a quiet, solitary space with no distractions from people or outside noise. Sit in a comfortable position while keeping your back straight. Now close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply. Shift your focus to the points where your body connects (your hips, your shoulders) and perform a full body scan.
Assign attributes to your breath. Inhale positivity and energy, and exhale stress and negativity. Appreciate and accept the sensations that come over your body. If pesky thoughts arise, that's okay! Rather than becoming frustrated, just recognize them and let them go as soon as they arrive. Stay in the present moment and experience your body and your surroundings.
Listen to sounds
Can't escape the world around you? Embrace it! By focusing on the sounds around you, you can focus in a way that's grounding and and meditative. Don't worry if you're not in a natural setting. Even the most mundane sounds of everyday life can help set your mind at ease.
Sit with your back straight and place your hands in your lap palms up. Close your eyes. Now, focus on the sounds around you. It can be your coworkers talking far in the distance, printers working, engine running, or a coffee machine preparing a cup for you or someone else. Try not to think about anything and simply focus on the sounds surrounding you. Breathe deeply.
Good night meditation
We've all been there. The lights are off, we're under the covers but our thoughts won't stop racing. Next time you get in bed, close your eyes, let your body relax and be completely still. Breathe deeply through your nose and out through your mouth. While you are breathing, visualize the air going through your body and reaching your heart, your lungs, your arms, hands, even your feet.
When exhaling, focus on the air leaving your body, taking with it all the tension you have experienced during the day. Think about breathing in as energizing your body and breathing out all the worries and negativity and weight from your day. You might feel like you are drifting into sleep, but this is the goal, so just let the relaxation take over.
Word repetitionHere's a simple technique approved by the North American Menopause Society for meditation beginners. Simply choose a word or short phrase that you enjoy or feel neutral about. Sit quietly in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Start to relax your muscles, starting with your feet and moving to your calves, thighs, abdomen, shoulders, head, and neck. As you breathe slowly and naturally, begin saying your focus word or phrase silently to yourself as you exhale. Continue for 10 to 20 minutes once or twice a day.