In a recent workplace workshop on Managing Menopause, the women attending confessed that they had all avoided writing the unmentionable word in their diaries. Menopausal symptoms can be a source of shame as much as they can be uncomfortable and disruptive.
The cultural myth that the end of our fertile years marks the end of our worth is a pervasive one. Yet this has not always been so and its incongruence with the many strong and wise women in each of our lives and the emergence of silver haired goddesses trail blazing into positions of power and influence makes it hard to sustain.The trend of young women dying their locks in elegant shades of grey is reflective of this emerging zeitgeist.
Not only that, we are starting to refuse to leave our female bodies at the door. We have dared to bring pregnancy and motherhood into work with us, paving the way for fathers to carve out their needs too. Now it is time to welcome menstruation and menopause, along with the challenges and gifts they bring. Hypnosis provides us with a way to access our vast, unconscious mind, that part of our mind which speaks directly to our bodies. As such,it is an excellent tool to navigate this biological shift and its emotional and physical challenges.
1. Eliciting the relaxation response The Relaxation Response is the lesser known counterpart to the Fight or Flight Response. Seen on a continuum, our bodies range from a state of hypervigilance and alertness to one of absolute tranquillity and calm.Whilst the Fight or Flight response rallies the body to fuel a rapid retreat or a physical attack (rarely the most appropriate response in a world where your stressor is more likely to be a long to do list than a raging tiger), the Relaxation Response utilises those valuable resources for general repairs and ‘house-keeping’ in the body. At a time when your body is undergoing renovations and in need of a little TLC, it is essential that we learn techniques which facilitate healing and restoration as frequently as possible. One of the principle benefits of hypnosis is that it is an extremely effective method for producing this beneficial state.
Our thoughts cause tangible shifts in our bodies. Have you ever shuddered at the thought of something unpleasant or felt the pleasant quivering of butterflies as you anticipate something wonderful? Our bodies are like shrewd PAs, constantly listening for ques on how to prepare us for our day. Next time you feel a hot flush rising, pay attention to the thoughts that arise and ask yourself how your PA might respond. You may find that anxious thoughts arrive, pushing you into the fight or flight response. Perhaps you have thoughts of heat, warmth and discomfort. Changing your thoughts as the symptoms of menopause arise can dramatically affect their impact. Learning to visualise a wintery landscape or taking a sip of water with ice cubes clinking against the glass can be a very useful tool to dowse the heat from a flush. 3. Challenge deep seated beliefs For many of us, the menopause signals the beginning of the end. We misunderstand our bodies and assume they are failing us but menopause is a change of function, not a malfunction. The domesticating hormones that have rewarded us for altruistic behaviours have subsided, lifting the veil on our lives. It's time to reconnect withyour own passions and drives. Now is the time to edit your life, get rid of fears and limiting beliefs that may have held you back in the past and find out what you are truly capable of. 4. Learn to access your wisdom
If you haven’t already learned to appreciate your unique beauty and character then now is the time to do it. You have learned lessons, uncovered gifts and honed your skills. You have your unique wisdom to impart and to rely on. Whilst your conscious mind can only grasp a handful of thoughts, your unconscious mind is a treasure trove with a life time of wisdom. 5. Dreaming up your future you Post-menopause, most women have 30-40 years to enjoy and it's crucial that we take time to pause, take stock and decide how we want to spend those years, as well as finding the best ways to take care of our bodies and maximise our health. Who do you want to be now the veil has lifted? Hypnosis is the perfect space to explore the possibilities of an unfettered you.