Going inside the body
Most of us spend our time stuck in our heads with very little awareness of what’s going on. So, when the body begins shouting at us, our heads can take over, with thoughts like “how can this be happening?” “How can I make this stop?” “I’m too young to be starting menopause now” “it’s not fair”. And so on. All this mental resistance is actually working against us – and may make our physical symptoms worse in the long run. So, although it may seem counterintuitive at first, we need to start getting back in touch with our bodies.
Feeling our feelings
When we were young, we had no trouble feeling our feelings. We lived in the moment and experienced everything around us with clarity and energy. When we were upset or angry, we knew about it, and so probably did the rest of the neighbourhood! During menopause, we need to rewind and practise getting back into that state. Why? Because, as the poet Robert Frost wisely said – “the only way out is through”. Only through feeling the sensations in our body, and allowing emotions to be present, can we let them flow through us.
If we’re used to repressing our feelings, or intellectualising and explaining them away, we will have years’ worth of stuck pain, anger and fear within us. And these stuck feelings will be contributing to a lot of the physical symptoms of stress and anxiety that fluctuating hormone levels are making worse. If this is new to you, you need to go very gently and ease yourself in so that you’re not overwhelmed by your feelings.
In the next post, we’ll look at some practical techniques to do this.