The Positive Side of Menopause
Part of RhondaNP’s mission is to empower women to understand the positive side of menopause and aging. We tend of focus on physical symptoms associated with perimenopause and menopause. It is important to pause on this positive piece of the puzzle. You may not believe that there is an optimistic side to menopause. Especially, if you experience some of the nasty symptoms associated with this transition. (These symptoms include but aren’t not limited to, hot flashes, weight gain around the middle, mood swings, anxiety, loss of libido, etc.)
It comes down to that mind over matter thing. Being positive is a mindset. If you set that perspective in place, the lens by which you view this time in your life will completely change.
Perhaps you’ve seen some of these stories of women of advanced age doing some amazing things:
- The 87-year-old who created her own book about deep water running.
- Ann Kahl, 86, who wears a shirt that says, “You’ve been passed by an 86-year-old” when she participates in running events.
- Samples of other feisty women and their achievements include travel to the North Pole at 84, topping the music charts at 97, practicing medicine at 103, running a marathon at 93, and publishing a book at 90.
Don’t you love it? What the mind believes, the body achieves. Mindset fuels your menopause journey.
All these examples show society leads us down the wrong path as it relates to age being “the end” of so many things. Due to our conditioning, these unexpected illustrations both delight and shock.
The constant theme here is the power of the mind and attitude and its positive effect on the physical body. Each of these women is an inspiration in a different way. They are hopeful, daring, endearing and speak to the power of the human spirit.
Far into their 80s, they are whooping it up, achieving new things and enjoying the heck out of every minute. I’m not talking about making a new craft at the senior center here. These folks achieve remarkable things. From starting a new business in their 80s, to being active in sports in their 90s, all are having a darn good time.
And here’s your first “aha” moment. These women went through menopause decades before where they are now. During menopause, they didn’t stop moving, thinking, creating, dancing, laughing, achieving, and believing in themselves or their abilities. Heck no, they embody the power of positive thinking.
Menopause’s Aha Moment – There is a positive side.
It may have been when your period first skipped a month (and you knew you couldn’t be pregnant!) or you had your initial hot flash, that your body provides you with that first poke. It’s a warning to let you know that something different is starting to happen.
If you are like most women, it catches you completely off guard. You may have even thought that you were dying, or you had some terrible disease. (Sometimes we can be so dramatic!)
Your first reaction to perimenopause depends on what you’ve heard from girlfriends, mom or the media. Hint: it’s mostly negative.
But wait a minute. This first poke can be your “aha moment”, the point at which the power of positive thinking comes into play. If you begin to nurture your “Menopause Mindset” at the beginning it becomes the foundation of your menopause experience. Your next half of life has no boundaries.
Positive Thinking and Your Health
Research shows that the power of positive thinking affects everything from happiness to health outcomes. Here are a few examples:
- One example is from Johns Hopkins. People with a family history of heart disease who also had a positive outlook were one-third less likely to have a heart attack or other cardiovascular event within five to 25 years than those with a more negative outlook.
- The “broaden-and-build” theory of positive emotions asserts that people’s daily experiences of positive emotions compound over time to build a variety of consequential personal resources. (In other words, positivity is a resource you can access to provide increased mindfulness, purpose in life, social support, and decreased illness symptoms.) Ladies, bank those positive vibes and dip into them throughout your life!
- Few outcomes are more important than staying alive, and optimism is linked to life longevity. Maruta, Colligan, Malinchoc, and Offord’s (2000) large longitudinal study examined whether optimism (or lack of) served as risk factors for early death. The researchers found that for every 10 point increase in a person’s score on their optimism scale, the risk of early death decreased by 19%. Menopause Mental Note: think positive!
Lauren Bacall once said during midlife, “I am not a has-been, I’m a will-be.”
Well said Ms. Bacall!
The second half of your life offers an unparalleled chance to embrace the positive. Some call it a “mind-body revolution”. It brings you the biggest opportunity for personal growth since your adolescence.
This time in your life is full of opportunities if you can open your mind to the positive side of things. Your choices include the quality of your relationships. Acknowledging and using the positive wisdom that you’ve learned over time. This knowledge includes self-control, self-care, emotional resilience, body acceptance and the ability to distinguish the motives of others, just to name a few.
Your “amazing” achievements after 50 may or may not not look like the ones described here. But that’s OK, you define what is right for you. You are in the driver’s seat.
- One of the ways to focus on all the positives in your life is to maintain a gratitude journal.
- For a little inspiration – check out this great site.