When it comes to menopause, you need all the help you can get, especially when it comes to reducing your stress. That’s where meditation can help. This popular mindfulness practice has multiple benefits for menopause (not to mention other areas of your life). Read on to discover how meditation can help with menopause symptoms, plus tips for getting started with meditation.
How Meditation Can Ease Menopause
Meditation helps provide menopause relief in several different ways. First of all, meditation reduces your stress, and stress is a major trigger for many people’s menopause symptoms, including hot flashes. Meditation helps you take a step back from your life and recenter yourself, putting things into perspective and focusing on what really matters. Meditation also helps you sort through your thoughts and calm your stressed-out mind. If you’re trying to balance work and family as well as your own health, meditation can help you find the balance that you crave. By reducing your stress, meditation can ease the severity of your menopause symptoms and devote more energy to taking care of yourself.
Meditation can also improve your sleep, which often suffers during menopause. Nighttime hot flashes, nocturia, and other symptoms often combine for a sleepless night. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation makes hot flashes and other menopause symptoms worse by increasing your stress and making you more sensitive to triggers. Lack of sleep also encourages you to drink caffeine, which is known to contribute to hot flashes. If you haven’t been sleeping well, try meditating before bed for five to 10 minutes to help put yourself in a calm, relaxed state before sleep.
Meditating during a hot flash can sometimes reduce the severity of the symptoms and shorten the length of the hot flash episode. If you are stressed or agitated, you will feel the effects of the hot flash more strongly, so meditating once you start to feel symptoms going on will help you calm down and feel better faster. If you have trouble meditating at the start of a hot flash, try some deep breathing exercises first to bring your heart rate down, and then start meditating once you feel a bit calmer.
Getting Started with Meditation
Meditating can seem intimidating if you’ve never done it before, or if you have gone a long time without meditating. Thankfully, meditating is an easy habit to build with daily practice. You just need to be consistent about it. If you’ve never meditated before, then start with a small amount of time, such as five or 10 minutes, that feels doable to you. As you get more experienced with meditation, you can increase the time as you go.
Most people find it easier to meditate at either the beginning or the end of the day, so they can work it into their morning or evening routines. Pick a time that works for you and build daily meditation into your schedule. Set up reminders that will prompt you to meditate. You can set up phone alerts or simply leave an object around that will remind you to meditate.
Once you’re ready to meditate, get in a comfortable position. Most people like to sit on a comfortable chair or couch, but you can also lie down on your back if that works better for you. Try to clear your mind as much as possible. If you notice your thoughts wandering, don’t obsess over it or criticize yourself about it. Simply re-focus on meditation and keep going until your time is up. If you simply cannot sit or lie still, some people like to practice meditation while moving, such as doing yoga for menopause or pelvic floor exercises.
Some people find that certain environments really help them meditate well — for example, playing calming instrumental music, diffusing a particular essential oil, or lighting scented candles. Start experimenting with various things to see if they help you meditate or not. You may find it helpful to create a little “ritual” that you do before each meditation session to cue your body and mind that it is time to meditate.
There are also different types of meditation, and some of them may work better for you than others. If you are new to meditation, try out different techniques to see which ones work best for you. If one type of meditation doesn’t work for you, don’t give up on meditation altogether. Try out another technique to see if that one is better. Here are some different types of meditation that everyone should be familiar with:
Mindfulness meditation is what most people think of first when they think of meditation. Mindfulness meditation consists of noticing each thought that passes through your mind and then letting it go without judgment. You can look for patterns, but don’t overanalyze your thoughts. You may also find it helpful to pair this with focusing on your breath or other bodily sensations.
You can also try body scan meditation. Most people prefer to do a body scan meditation while lying down. Start by taking a few deep breaths and bring awareness to your feet. Notice any particular sensations, comfortable or uncomfortable, and breathe into them until they release. When you’re ready, move your awareness up your entire body, going one part at a time until you reach your head.
These are just two common types of meditation, so if neither of them speak to you, then try another one! Meditation is an ongoing journey, and it won’t be perfect right out of the gate. However, if you stick with this daily habit, then you will see benefits for both your menopause symptoms and the other areas of your life.
WRITTEN BYSofia & Grace