Are you anxious, worried, on edge?

by | Jan 11, 2024 | Articles, Pilates for Menopause

It could be Menopause!

Unexplained anxiety is a symptom of Menopause, who knew? Not me! I never considered myself to be anxious but this unwelcome emotion was a feature of peri-menopause that hit me out of the blue.

What is Anxiety

Anxiety is when you are continually worried or tense. It appears to affect almost twice as many women as men and is a common symptom of menopause.

In general, anxiety is characterised by a constant sense of worry over everyday events, much greater than the situation deserves. Although you may realise this, it can be difficult to shake off the feeling so that you are not constantly on edge and irritable.

Oestrogen plays a part

Part of the explanation lies in the fact that oestrogen plays an important role in moderating the chemical activities in your brain. When the level of oestrogen is high you feel well. As Oestrogen levels drop, several symptoms such as low mood and anxiety can set in.

This is because Female sex hormones have regulatory effects on non-reproductive regions of the brain. These include the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, thalamus, and brainstem; these areas are responsible for emotions, behaviour and reasoning.

What can you do to help?

  • Relaxation techniques — mindful practices such as Pilates, yoga, meditation and breathing exercises have been used for years to counteract anxiety. Being able to calm your body and mind can significantly reduce the severity or frequency of anxiety attacks
  • Healthy diet — We have heard it all before, but a healthy diet rich in phytoestrogens (estrogen-like compounds derived from plants) can have a significant impact on how you feel. Sources of Phytoestrogens include fruits like plums, pears, apples, grapes and berries. Vegetables like beans, sprouts, cabbage, spinach, soybeans, garlic, and onion.
  • Reduce caffeine — caffeine is notorious for making people jittery, so consuming a lot of caffeine will only make your anxiety worse.
  • Essential oils – For sleep: Chamomile, for anxiety: Sandalwood, for stress: Clary Sage.

Focus on your breathing

Breathing is under the automatic control of the autonomic nervous system however, unlike other automatic processes breathing can also be brought under our conscious control. The quality of our breathing pattern can vary hugely from person to person and has a significant influence on our overall health and well-being.

Breathing is one of the foundational principles of Pilates and is incorporated into every Pilates Class I teach as we coordinate the breath with each movement.

Mindful Movement Practices like Pilates can help

Anyone who has been to one of my classes will tell you that I am ‘very keen” (putting it mildly) on us paying close attention to the precision and control of the movements that we make and the muscles as they work. This focus inward also introduces elements of mindfulness as we move with our attention wholly in the current moment.

Mindful practices can enhance our ability to regulate emotions and decrease stress, anxiety and depression. So why wait to feel better? Act now and try your First Class for Free and learn a movement practice that could make a huge difference in your life. After all “it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years…”

Join me for Pilates and Yoga Live Online to move mindfully and manage anxiety

Learn more on my Moving through Menopause Podcast

Checkout this podcast is a conversation with Kate Parrott, a Respiratory Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist. Kate is amazingly knowledgeable and she offers some simple practical breathing techniques which can help us to feel better.

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Disclaimer: Please note that any advice we provide in this podcast is for information only, and if you are unsure of its suitability for your specific circumstances, you should consult your medical practitioner if you have any specific health concerns.

Pilates for Menopause for Massage Therapists and Manual Therapists  - NAT Diploma Course with Precizion 10 CEUs

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Interested to learn Pilates or Yoga?

Join Precizion for regular online Pilates and Yoga classes.  All led by Phillipa Butler, a Chartered Physiotherapist, Clinical Pilates and Women’s Health Expert. One-on-one consultations also available.

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