Anxiety in Perimenopause: Utilizing Breath, Imagery, and Affirmations
Anxiety in perimenopause can be linked to many causes. Fluctuating estrogen and progesterone levels, for example, adrenal fatigue, and even thyroid dysfunction. It can also be exacerbated by fatigue and exhaustion from insomnia as well.
In my opinion, it is probably one of the more difficult symptoms of perimenopause, right up there with raging mood swings. What is even more unfortunate, however, is that far too many physicians would rather simply write prescriptions for anti-anxiety medication than try to get to the root cause of the problem. Worse still, many women simply just accept it because they don’t feel they have any other options.
But they do.
If you are currently taking anti-anxiety medication for anxiety in perimenopause, I’m not advocating that you stop taking it. I’m all about doing whatever works. But if you’re looking for alternatives to drugs or medication, utilizing positive imagery, affirmations, and even deep breathing techniques can be extremely helpful.
You can take it from me—I have had more than my fair share of anxiety and panic attacks, both during, before, and even after perimenopause. So believe me, I know these techniques really work.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Your Words
I don’t know about you, but I can be the queen of negative self-talk. Sometimes I catch myself quietly berating myself with no self-awareness about it at all. By the time I realize how negative my thoughts have been, it has usually gone on for half an hour—no wonder I get stressed!
It’s also a well-known fact that our thoughts have a direct impact on how stressed we might feel. But, harnessing our thoughts, and deliberately directing them to be kind to ourselves, can also be a powerful weapon against stress and anxiety.
In retraining our mind to make positive confessions about ourselves, such as, “You are a good person who is worthy of love,” we can actually calm and sooth ourselves, and dispel anxiety and stress.
Focus on Your Breath
Slow, deep, controlled breathing has also been shown to relax and calm the body. If you are experiencing anxiety during perimenopause, take some time during the day to sit quietly somewhere without any distractions. While you are practicing your positive self-talk, breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose, expanding your belly.
Be careful not to push, stress, or strain while you’re doing it. Just slow, controlled, deep breaths. As you exhale, focus on your breath. Use imagery at the same time you are focusing on your breath, to visualize yourself as calm, peaceful and relaxed; letting go of the tension and the stress with your breath. Do this for about 10 minutes several times a day.
Walk, Talk, Breathe
I personally utilize these techniques when I exercise. While walking I will focus on breathing deep and exhaling slowly, while holding mind pictures of myself happy, content, peaceful, and relaxed. I repeat positive affirmations to myself such as: “You are a strong, intelligent, capable woman.” “You are kind, you are good, and you are loved”
It’s Not a Quick Fix Solution
I will admit, it takes time for these techniques to work. Especially if you have been stressed with perimenopause symptoms for a while. And they won’t magically fix all of your symptoms either
But, if you take time to practice them, you might be surprised at just how effective they are!
Magnolia Miller is a certified healthcare consumer advocate in women's health and a women's freelance health writer and blogger at The Perimenopause Blog.