How the media's portrayal of the menopause affects us
It does so annoy me that the majority of articles in the press focus the negative side of the menopause and that the horror stories, especially of famous women, are plastered everywhere. While I realise that the heading ‘I had a Wonderful Menopause’ doesn’t exactly grab your attention I do wish that we could read more of the ‘good stuff’.
All these negative articles do influence younger women and the ones I have talked to all believe that they are going to have a tough time and believe it or not having that negative idea can be enough to influence your symptoms!
Going through the menopause, even if it is an easy one, does stress the body generally and if you couple that with negative thoughts about how awful it is you have already pre-programmed yourself to expect the worse.
The importance of positivity
I was really happy to come across an article called ‘Self-compassion may help ease the burden of menopause symptoms’. This recent study from Australia found that women who were kind to themselves can have an easier time dealing with hot flushes and other menopause symptoms! Apparently, what you think about when you are having a hot flush can have a big impact on the severity and length of them. And it’s true, isn’t it that when we get a hot flush we do think negatively such as ‘Oh no, not again’ or ‘Help, everyone is going to look at me’ or ‘This is so embarrassing’.
The study suggests to try to become aware of our thoughts during a hot flush and substitute negative thoughts with positive ones such as ‘It’s ok I am here for you in this moment of suffering’. I know this sounds a bit hippy-dippy but the study does prove that this change of thought can have a beneficial effect on symptoms.
Thinking about this made me look at how I view myself and I realised that I can be quite horrible to myself. We’ve all done it, haven’t we – when we first look in the mirror in the morning do we gaze into our eyes and say ‘I love me, I look wonderful’? No, it’s usually ‘What a mess, look at those bags and wrinkles’ or ‘Where did that spare tyre come from, I look awful’
So, I am going to be kinder to myself and try to stop the self criticism – although I do realise that there are many years of this engrained in my psyche so it will be a tough one!
How do you view yourself? Why not try the positive thoughts during a hot flush and let me know how you get on.
If you're interested...
If you want to see the article in full:
A good book to read on positive thinking and how it can help you is:
It’s The Thought That Counts: Why Mind Over Matter Really Works by Dr David Hamilton