Findings of a new Mayo Clinic study have shown an association between mindfulness and menopausal symptoms. Researchers also found that being mindful can be particularly beneficial for menopausal women who experience anxiety, irritability, and repression.
Menopause In Women
Women are considered to be in menopause if they have gone through a year without a menstrual cycle. About 6,000 women in the United States reach menopause per day.
Although menopause is a natural phenomenon, it comes with inconvenient and at time stressful symptoms which include night sweats, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and mood changes.
Mindfulness involves focusing awareness on the present moment and observing thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations without judgment.
Earlier studies have shown that practicing mindfulness meditation can improve resilience to stress. A clinical trial backed by the National Institutes of Health found that practicing mindfulness can help individuals with anxiety disorders. Another study found meditation and breathing exercise can help boost brain health.
The new study, published in Climacteric: The Journal of the International Menopause Society, showed another benefit of mindfulness.
Mindfulness And Menopausal Symptoms
Mayo Clinic general internist and women's health specialist Richa Sood and colleagues involved 1,744 women between 40 and 65 who rated their menopausal symptoms, perceived level of stress, and mindfulness in questionnaires.
Researchers found that those with higher mindfulness scores tend to have fewer menopausal symptoms. They also found the link between reduced menopausal symptoms and higher mindfulness is stronger in participants with higher perceived level of stress.
Mindfulness As Treatment Option For Menopausal Women
Sood said that more studies are still needed but doctors can talk with their patients about the potentials of mindfulness as a treatment option for menopausal women.
For those who have not tried mindfulness meditation, Sood assured mindfulness is a skill that can be learned.
"Essentially, the first step in being mindful is to become aware that our minds are on autopilot most of the time," Sood said. "The goal during mindful moments is not to empty the mind, but to become an observer of the mind's activity while being kind to oneself. The second step is to create a pause. Take a deep breath, and observe one's own space, thoughts and emotions,"