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Women who practice mindfulness are less affected by menopause

A new study has revealed that practicing mindfulness may lead to fewer menopausal symptoms for women. The researchers found that the positive effects are the strongest among menopausal women struggling with depression, anxiety, and irritability.

Study lead author Dr. Richa Sood is a general internist and women’s health specialist at the Mayo Clinic.

“In this study, we found that midlife women with higher mindfulness scores experienced fewer menopausal symptoms,” said Dr. Sood. “These findings suggest that mindfulness may be a promising tool to help women reduce menopausal symptoms and overall stress.”

Mindfulness involves the acknowledgement of emotions, thoughts, and feelings in the present without any judgment. Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness can reduce stress and improve quality of life.

On a daily basis, around 6,000 women in the United States reach menopause. The most common symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and mood changes.

The study was focused on more than 1,700 women between the ages of 40 and 65 who received care at the Women’s Health Clinic in Rochester from 2015 – 2016. The participants completed questionnaires that rated their menopausal symptoms, perceived level of stress, and mindfulness.

The study results showed that women with higher mindfulness scores were less affected by menopause. In addition, the link between higher mindfulness and reduced menopausal symptoms was found to be stronger among women with the most perceived stress.

Dr. Sood explained, “Essentially, the first step in being mindful is to become aware that our minds are on autopilot most of the time.”

“The goal during mindful moments is not to empty the mind, but to become an observer of the mind’s activity while being kind to oneself. The second step is to create a pause. Take a deep breath, and observe one’s own space, thoughts and emotions nonjudgmentally. The resulting calm helps lower stress.”

The study is published in Climacteric: The Journal of the International Menopause Society.

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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