Menopause and Anxiety: Cultivating Calm

by | Feb 14, 2024 | Moving Through Menopause Podcast, Podcasts

In this podcast episode, I learn more about anxiety management during menopause with anxiety warrior Heather Lillico. Heather shares her own experiences of anxiety and how she found holistic solutions to feel calm. We highlight the importance of diet, meditation, and yoga as a three-pillar approach to shift the mindset and manage anxiety.

Heather is busy building a community and offering support on her app, ‘Cultivating Calm’. We explore how her three Pillars of anxiety management practices can help balance hormones and how they can fit into any daily routine.

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00.00 Introduction
00.00 Understanding Anxiety and Meditation
00:32 Welcome to Moving Through Menopause
01:06 Dealing with Anxiety and Overthinking
01:43 The Three Pillar Approach to Managing Anxiety
02:34 Heather’s Journey with Anxiety
10:29 The Role of Diet in Managing Anxiety
16:49 The Power of Yoga in Managing Anxiety
21:30 The Impact of Meditation on Anxiety
33:59 The Importance of Community in Managing Anxiety
37:18 Conclusion: The Power of Holistic Practices

Cultivating Calm

Understanding Anxiety as a Menopause Symptom:

Menopause is a significant period of transition for women and can sometimes cause a surge in anxiety levels. This is due to the changing hormonal levels that influence the emotional centres in the brain including the Hippocampus. Anxiety can lead to panic attacks, they present as rapid heartbeats, sweaty palms, a sense of impending doom, and an inability to think logically. Despite its uncomfortable nature, anxiety isn’t dangerous to the body. and we can learn to recognise these physical symptoms and deal with them.

Managing Anxiety Using Yoga:

Yoga may not be your cup of tea, but it can help us to manage our emotions including anxiety. Yoga isn’t just about striking the perfect pose – it is about appreciating the body, being present in the moment, and finding peace within. We can use movement as a way to support the body rather than using exercise as a form of punishment. Yoga can help us to realise that anxiety is not a life sentence and discomfort can be tolerated, leading to an overall improved quality of life.

Role Of Mindful Eating And Holistic Nutrition:

Nutrition plays a crucial role in managing anxiety levels. The choice of food we give our bodies can either heighten our anxiety or help to fade it out. Processed sugars, for instance, have adverse effects on gut health and can cause anxiety, while naturally occurring sugars, like those in fruits and vegetables, can be beneficial.

Caffeine—instead of fueling the body—can cause it to enter a fight-or-flight state, potentially leading to heightened anxiety. Choose caffeine-free alternatives such as dandelion root tea that provide the same energising effects without adverse consequences.

Positive Effects of Meditation for Anxiety:

Meditation might not appeal to you Many people tell me I couldn’t meditate because “I can’t lie still and empty my mind”. But like all skills we get better the more that we practice and meditation can help us to learn to get comfortable with discomfort. A crucial lesson from meditation is separating yourself from your anxiety, and understanding that anxiety is a feeling you feel and it doesn’t define you.

Creating Healthy Habits to beat Anxiety:

We must not underestimate the importance of cultivating healthy habits for anxiety regulation. Making practices such as yoga, mindful eating, and meditation can boost our feelings of self-worth and self-determination, which can significantly impact anxiety levels.

Consistency is key; tiny, everyday changes like spending a few minutes in meditation, moving the body in a supportive way, or incorporating mood-boosting foods can lead to significant transformations in your life.

Try it out for yourself

Anxiety and menopause might seem like an insurmountable challenge, but it is entirely possible to navigate this path and come out stronger with an improved quality of life. The combined effect of engaging the mind and body using yoga, adjusting food habits, and practising meditation can work wonders in managing anxiety. As Heather rightly points out, consistency and regularity in these actions can lead to positive and transformational changes in dealing with anxiety during menopause.

Thanks to my guest

Heather Lillico

Get your free trial of the Cultivating Calm App

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Disclaimer: Please note that any information we provide in this podcast does not constitute medical guidance and you should consult your medical practitioner before making any changes that could impact your health.

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