Many women find the time around menopause stressful. This may be partially due to hormonal changes and resulting bothersome symptoms such as hot flashes and disrupted sleep. In addition, family and personal issues such as the demands of teenage children, children leaving home, aging parents, midlife spouses, and career changes often converge on women during these years.
Chronic stress is not good for anyone’s health. It may cause increased blood pressure and heart rate, headaches, gastric reflux, depression/anxiety, and, over the long term, an increased risk for heart disease. Some believe that chronic stress may affect our immune system, making us more susceptible to illness, infections, and even cancer. Stress affects not only our health but also our relationships, work performance, general sense of well-being, and quality of life.
There are many tried-and-true ways to reduce stress and maintain calm:
Another effective method is to use deep-breathing exercises to reduce stress. Try this simple exercise and practice often:
Finally, we all know that vacations reduce stress, but what can you do if currently there’s no extra time or money? Try a brief mental vacation using “guided imagery” to achieve a state of deep relaxation. Close your eyes and visualize a scene from your memory that brings joy. Try to get lost in that event or image for several minutes, allowing your mind to return to that pleasurable experience.
Learn more from the Canadian Mental Health Association and the National Institute of Mental Health.
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