What’s your body telling you about menopause symptoms like hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings and more?

As almost every adult woman and man knows , menopause has many ‘symptoms’ – I always dislike writing that word in connection with a natural life event – imagine asking someone if they’re experiencing ‘pregnancy symptoms’ or ‘puberty symptoms’, as if any of these conditions is a disease.

Did you know that each one of your ‘menopause symptoms’ is a ‘message’ from your body. Your body’s talking and it’s a really good idea for you to figure out what it’s trying to say, instead of medicating it or adding hormones.

Taking drugs to cover up distressing menopause symptoms is a bit like putting duct tape over the ‘Change Oil’ gage in a car and think that the problem has been solved. Down the road, you can be sure you’ll regret not doing something to address the cause of the problem when you had the opportunity.

So, what is your body saying to your mind when you have discomforts related to menopause?

In her book The Bodymind Workbook, Debbie Shapiro writes that many women see menopause as ‘an end to their femininity and an end to their purpose for being here as a woman.’

After all, menopause means we can no longer use our bodies to create a new human life. And, by the time we achieve menopause we are in our late 40s or 50s, and that time of life presents body image and aging challenges. This is true especially for women in our Western culture that glorifies and objectifies skinny 20-something female bodies as the ideal woman’s shape.

body mind connection to disease, menopause symptomsShapiro writes that the menopause years are highly emotional – “particularly to do with our feelings of whether we are still lovable and desirable…there is a deep need to find the woman inside, not the one that is just a fertile body but the one that goes beyond procreative abilities; to find a deeper purpose for being here…a spiritual direction for ourselves. Menopause, like retirement can be a time for discovering freedom, individuality, tremendous change and challenge. It can also be a rebirth.”

Lise Bourbeau, in her book ‘Your Body’s Telling You:  Love Yourself!’ writes ‘The more difficult your menopause, the more your body is telling you to let go of the fear of growing old…Menopause is a wonderful opportunity to put your family obligations behind you and create your own life.”

Louise Hay and many others have attached meaning to every symptom your body can feel. For example, in her book  ‘You Can Heal Your Life’, Hay writes that insomnia is about fear and not trusting the process of life; menopause problems, she says, are about fear of no longer being wanted; fear of aging, self rejection; not feeling good enough. Pain is about guilt – and guilt always seeks punishment; anxiety is about not trusting the flow and the process of life.

Think you can prevent or cure anything, including menopause, with diet, supplements , exercise etc.? Nope, that’s only part of the solution. The complete answer is more holistic than that!

Dr. Christiane Northrup in her book ‘The Wisdom of Menopause’ writes ‘Despite what we learn daily about healthy exercise practices, healthy diets and good medical care, the bottom line is that the most significant way of contributing to our own good health is through the quality of our thought processes…’

And our beliefs!

Northrup says ‘the key is compassion for yourself. The well-known therapist Gay Hendricks has noted that any area of pain, blame or shame in our lives is there because we have not loved that part of ourselves enough. No matter what you’re feeling, the only way to get a difficult feeling to go away is simply to love yourself for it. If you think you’re stupid, then love yourself for feeling that way. It’s a paradox, but it works. To heal, you must be the first one to shine the light of compassion on any areas within you that you feel are unacceptable.’

She suggests that we ‘reframe our symptoms and see them as our inner guidance knocking on the door…asking us to allow more light and wisdom into that particular area, then we don’t feel victimized by our bodies and we have the opportunity to feel empowered by the life energy that is coursing through us at midlife.’

So how do you manage a problem when you’re in the middle of it?

Northrup encourages women to use ‘mindfulness’ – being a witness to symptoms, not a judge or a fixer. She writes that mindfulness first validates the emotions, and eventually clears away any blockage to your ability to be healthy and fully present in your life. ‘The grace and beauty of this approach is that it allows your suffering to have its time, so it can then flow through and out of you, which it will do…You can also move difficult emotions through more efficiently by crying, moving and breathing fully.’

You might also want to work with a therapist or an Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) practitioner to help release that blocked energy through a tapping and intuition technique that has been found to work when nothing else has.

Curious to know more about the mind-body connection with symptoms and diseases? There are many other excellent books written about it – ‘Anatomy of the Spirit’ by Carolyn Myss;  ‘Guide to Intuitive healing” by Dr. Judith Orloff;  ‘Awakening Intuition’ by Dr. Mona Lisa Schulz; Eastern Body, Western Mind by Anodea Judith; ‘When the Body Says No’ by Dr. Gabor Mate, MD; ‘Love, Medicine and Miracles’ by Bernie S. Siegel, MD; ‘Your Body is Talking; Are You Listening?’ by Art Martin, and many others.

To learn more about EFT, click on the link in the column to the right. You can also use the ‘Search’ box to find previous blogs I’ve written about EFT.

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