Body & Fitness

Just another plus to practising mindfulness – a new study shows it helps reduce menopause symptoms too

The researchers are now pushing for mindfulness to be used as a treatment option.

The benefits to practising mindfulness seem endless, enabling people to not only live their lives ‘in the moment’ but also sleep better, feel better, maintain a healthier weight and generally keep a whole raft of mental health issues at bay. Now a new study has shown that it can help reduce symptoms of menopause too.

The January 2019 Mayo Clinic study, which was published in Climacteric: The Journal of the International Menopause Society, involved surveying 1744 women aged 40 to 65 who were cared for at the Women’s Health Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The study was carried out over a two-year period from January 2015 to December 2016 and found that women who were considered more mindful had fewer menopause symptoms.

The link between mindfulness reducing menopause symptoms was especially strong with women who had high levels of perceived stress.

Richa Sood, MD, a Mayo Clinic women’s health specialist confirms the exciting finding: “In this study, we found that midlife women with higher mindfulness scores experienced fewer menopausal symptoms. These findings suggest that mindfulness may be a promising tool to help women reduce menopausal symptoms and overall stress.”

WATCH: How to practice mindfulness with registered psychologist Jacqui Maguire – story continues below:

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If you’ve resisted joining the converted masses, and haven’t tried practicing mindfulness, the question becomes ‘how do you do it?’

Registered psychologist Jacqui Maguire explains in the video above, “Mindfulness is the practice of training your brain to stay present in the moment and non judgemental…

“Harvard have done some research that says 50 per cent of your day your brain will either be ruminating over things that happened that haven’t gone so great or they’ll be worrying about the future. And when you think about your mental wellbeing, your stress levels… if you’re worrying about the future or stressing about the past it’s really unhelpful [to your mental health].”

Practise mindfulness in small doses every day, she advises. After a while you start to shift how your brain is working and your cortisol (stress) levels start to drop. This, in turn, helps you to sleep better.

For some women, the perimenopausal years (the years leading up to when you lose your period, which are typically in your forties) can be particularly difficult – often characterised by hot flushes, mood swings, depression, tearfulness and/or feelings of anger. We know that stress exacerbates this.

Some women find that taking menopause supplements or HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) help, and a rundown of their pros and cons can be found here: Treatments and herbal remedies that can help menopause symptoms

Sood and her fellow researchers are also now pushing for mindfulness as a potential treatment option.

At the very least, it may help you take more joy from the little moments in life.

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