The Menopause Mindset
It is a truth NOT universally acknowledged that the changes in hormone levels around menopause can have a major impact on mental health. Dr Louise Newson, the menopause specialist who set up Balance Menopause, reports that 98% of women attending her clinic have psychological symptoms. Often women don’t realise that their emotional distress is related to fluctuating hormone levels. Women over fifty are a neglected group in healthcare research. Alongside an A-Z of symptoms ranging from anxiety and brain fog to concentration issues and depression women often report losses of confidence, identity and sense of purpose. Much of the current spotlight on the menopause focuses on physical rather than psychological wellbeing and on the problems rather than the potential in this chapter of life. The treatment for the menopause is focused on hormone replacement therapy (HRT), however positive psychology has much to offer to strengthen emotional and psychological wellbeing post menopause. From PMS to Post-Menopause Strength.
While the menopause represents the end of the reproductive years it also signals a time of new beginnings where you get to centre your own needs, shed a skin and birth a new sense of self. It’s hard to be an ageing woman in a world that appears to favour youth and beauty over wisdom and experience. Ageing has a bad rap however contrary to all the scaremongering there are many positives to being post menopause.
Happiness goes up after fifty rather than down. We get better at emotional regulation and confidence grows. New strengths begin to emerge and multiple forms of intelligence grow stronger. The glow of youth may be missing but nothing beats the savoir faire of a female elder! The fifties and sixties are often the best decades of a woman’s life.
The Menopause Mindset aims to reframe the post-menopause years as a time of awakening and activation of your best self. The workshop, based on positive psychology, will help you realise the potential of these years and move towards mature happiness. There are five pathways to post-menopause wellbeing in the Menopause Mindset. The strategies give you a toolkit to be happier and stronger and step into your power.
MM1: Resilience is a set of learnable skills that can help you cope better in challenging times such as the menopause transition. Fluctuating hormone levels at menopause play havoc with mental and emotional wellbeing. Optimism is a major practice that combats the pessimistic thinking that undermines resilience.
MM2: Positivity. Awe, bliss, calm, delight, ecstasy. Or fed up and grumpy? Low mood becomes more frequent as oestrogen levels sink. Positive emotions not only feel good they do us good too broadening our minds and building resilience resources. Positivity practices can help you feel better naturally.
MM3: Strengths. I feel like I’ve lost myself’ is a common complaint at menopause, coinciding with a loss of confidence and self-esteem. Knowing your strengths is the antidote. They are the positive you, how you are at your best and hold the key to moving forwards in positive directions. You might even discover new strengths that have emerged like wisdom and perspective.
MM4: Meaning and purpose are vital ingredients for wellbeing and menopause often coincides with a loss in sense of purpose. Many women find themselves at a crossroads in their professional and personal lives. Now is a time to reset your sense of purpose and maybe embark on an encore career – work in the second half of life that has a greater sense of meaning. Using your strengths will help you to success.
MM5: Relationships. Having a sense of connection and belonging is one of three vital ingredients for wellbeing. It’s the people in our lives that make us truly happy. Yet being down in the menopausal dumps can lead us to withdraw from social connection – the very thing that can lift us up. That’s why it’s important to nurture existing relationships and open up to new ones. A network of gal pals can cheer you on in the good times and console you in the bad.
“Royal Holloway has been keen to strengthen our support around ageing and the menopause. We had the privilege of discovering Miriam who delivered innovative, practical and truly engaging courses on post-menopause wellbeing and positive ageing. Our colleagues absolutely loved these sessions and we will certainly be asking Miriam for more. This is such an important area that organisations need to support and Miriam brings the perfect combination of expertise, wisdom and warmth.” Dr Katerina Finnis, EDI Manager, Royal Holloway, University of London
“I enjoyed the course very much. For such a vast field, I thought the facts we learnt were great, well chosen and pertinent. I also very much liked the practical, interactive side of the course, for example, the strengths questionnaire and all the thoughts and interaction it provoked. I came out of the course having learnt a lot and felt optimistic and energised (I also felt that about the Positive Ageing course which I did before this one). I give it top marks and would definitely recommend.”
What elements of the event did you find particularly useful or enjoy? “I found it re-affirming and great to have the opportunity to talk to others facing the same issues.” “The character strengths profile.” “Small group. Very informal and relaxed.” “Being reminded to focus on relationships – my friendships have always been the most important thing to me, but have somehow been crowded out by responsibilities in the last few years – time to make time!”
If you would like to book a Menopause Mindset workshop for your organisation, please get in touch with Miriam.