BETWEEN the hot flushes and nightmarish brain fog, it can be difficult to step back and think about how your thoughts can affect your menopause.
It could make a real difference to how you experience symptoms though, says one life coach.
Menopause is no longer âsome deep dark secret that no one can talk aboutâ – in part thanks to The Sun’s awareness raising Fabulous Menopause Matters campaign – says Transformational Change Coach Jessica Vassallo. âCher said: âI didn’t realise I was 40 until I turned 60,â – yes!
“We’ve got lives to get on with, we haven’t got time to lock ourselves away in an attic somewhere apologetically.â
Jessica hopes to help women through debilitating perimenopause and menopause symptoms – like low self esteem and anxiety – through the power of mindset.
âWhen people change their mindset, it in turn helps change their habits, their behaviours, and their attitude in life,â she explains.
She uses neuro-linguistic programming (changing negative thought patterns), positive psychology and talking therapy âto help people feel more empowered and change their lifeâ – whether theyâre overeating, struggling with anxiety, or dealing with menopause.
What is mindset?
âMindset is the attitude that we choose,â says Jessica. âIt’s the idea of being able to be forward looking and not saying, âI can’t,â but saying, âHow will I?â
She adds: âItâs about creating the life you want without lots of baggage holding you back.â
Which first involves raising awareness of your habits and how you talk to yourself – meaning critical self-talk.
âBy being aware of that negative voice we direct at ourselves, we have the choice to shut it up,â says Jessica.
âOne of my clients calls it their âdirty parrotâ – they have to brush it off their shoulder, stop its squawking so they can focus positively on how they do want to think and therefore feel.
âIt really helps people reset and go back out into the world and feel strong.â
How can mindset affect menopause?
The prospect of menopause affects people in different ways.
âSome woman will approach it with a âwoohoo, my periods have stopped, Iâm free, I’m liberated, the kids have left home, this is my time!â attitude,â says Jessica.
âWhile for other people their world is completely rocked, they feel they have no purpose.â
She points out that the very origins of the word menopause is the idea of âstoppingâ or that you should stop, along with your periods.
âIt can rock their being and identity so they lose confidence. And that can play out in work and at home.â
Shifting a personâs mindset can help them âride the waveâ of menopause, ârather than being blown around in the stormâ says Jessica.
She adds: âIt’s resetting so you can look towards your future more positively.â
Understanding the unconscious mind
You might think you have a handle on how you think and feel about menopause, but your unconscious mind might also be at play.
âOur unconscious mind does so much for us that we’re not consciously aware of, like blinking and breathing. We just do it,â says Jessica.
âWhen we start to become aware of changes in our body, we add societal and genealogical meanings to that to inform our experience.
âBut we are not our grandmothers or our mothers, we are women of our generation.
âI would love more women to know that they can consciously create a new menopause experience.â
One way to do this is through hypnosis, says Jessica, and dissociation, which can help âease symptoms of anxiety and hot flushes, so we can get on with our livesâ.
She focuses on coaching the unconscious mind and âunderstanding that it believes it’s helping us.
âHowever, it can get its wires crossed and operate from outdated information from our younger self, so we give it new information – like a system upgrade.â
Jessica says women must remember that in perimenopause and menopause âthey can choose their way forward, they need to think about how their life will be now their children have left home and they might not be needed in that way, but we can redirect that purpose.â
She adds how important it is to have the information you need to make decisions about your health too: âTo have enough knowledge and awareness to be able to see through all the confusion and be able to make a choice that feels right.â
Whether thatâs hormone replacement therapy (HRT), talking therapies, hypnosis and/or lifestyle changes.
You can download Jessicaâs Menopause Toolkit from www.jessicavassallo.com.
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