How to Remain Upbeat About Menopause

Three Methods:Shaping a Positive Attitude Toward MenopauseEmbracing ChangeBecoming Informed About Menopause

More than 40 million North American postmenopausal women can expect to live a third of their lives (up to 35 to 40 years) after the onset of menopause.[1] However, centuries of negativity about the "change of life" pervade our culture still, and today's medical professionals often view menopause as a point in time focused on estrogen deficiency rather than a holistic process.[2] Much misinformation exists about menopause, aided and abetted by the heavy focus on youth culture and the desire to push aside anything that suggests "aging." It shouldn't be this way! Menopause is a natural and inevitable part of the progression of every woman's life, and is to be celebrated and respected.

Method 1
Shaping a Positive Attitude Toward Menopause

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    Make a choice. You essentially have two choices: you can face menopause angrily and in denial (but it's still going to happen), or you can accept it and make the most of the transition period to set yourself up for the remainder of your life.[3]
    • When you feel negative emotions creeping up, or you find yourself overwhelmed by symptoms, stop and breath.
    • Say to yourself, “I accept this change.”
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    Remember that you're still a woman. In a youth-prone society, it is very easy to fall into the trap of feeling that post-reproductive age, your womanhood is somehow reduced. The reality is that you're no less a woman! In fact, menopause is one of the most unifying experiences for women![4]
    • Use this change as an opportunity to connect with other women.
    • By talking with other women about these changes, you can create new and lasting bonds that are forged through woman-ness.
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    Reawaken your purpose. For many women, menopause is a time of redefinition of roles, interests, and reawakening of purpose. Many women find that this is a time for reflection about where they have been and where they are headed.[5]
    • Is there something that you have always wanted to do?
    • Is it finally time to end or alter a negative relationship?
    • Could this be the time for you to put yourself first and get what you’ve always wanted?
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    Use anti-stress techniques. If you feel stressed during menopause, the fluctuating hormones are probably going to simply add to these feelings. Rather than reaching for a pill, consider ways to reduce the stress.[6]
    • Can you handle your workload differently?
    • Can you take up yoga, meditation, a gym class?
    • Deep breathing exercises can help with hot flashes. It takes practice but is very effective.
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    Maintain good physical health. A healthy body will support a healthy mind and ease you through this transition. Use good food, water, and exercise to fortify you for this change in your life.[7]
    • Use food as a way to improve your mood. Turn to "menopause super-foods" such as unprocessed foods, fruit and vegetables, beans and pulses, fish, sugar-free foods, etc.[8]
    • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. The changing hormone levels affect how the cells in our body retain moisture.
    • Use exercise as a way of maintaining a good mood and good physical health. Exercise has also been proven to lower the intensity and frequency of hot flashes.

Method 2
Embracing Change

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    Accept yourself. It will be harder to do some things, such as keeping off weight. But rather than complaining about this, accept the change. Maybe it is time for you take up more space?
    • If there is a change you struggle to accept, look in the mirror and say, for example, “I accept my new body.” In time, you will believe yourself.[9]
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    Love the clarity of vision that can arrive with menopause. Menopause is a crossroads, a time to rebirth yourself, change your focus, and start exploring your own needs more. It becomes a time when you stop stifling your own needs in favor of others and start making changes needed to forge on with a positive future.[10]
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    Grieve the past. You are leaving behind parts of your life that were once integral to who you are. Find a ritual to farewell that part of your adulthood and to welcome in the next stage of adulthood.[11]
    • Throw a menopause party!
    • Take yourself on a trip.
    • Get that tattoo you’ve always wanted.
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    Pick up where you left off. Before the juggling act of your earlier decades swamped you, you probably had some more plans for yourself. Now is the time to return to those dreams. Resurrect a rusty career, start a new one, go on a pilgrimage, or start a business.[12]
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    Find strength in friends. Look to friends who are experiencing the same as you, or have already gone through menopause.[13] Unburdening yourself in the company of trusted and understanding friends can relieve many concerns and reassure you that you're in good company.
    • Share stories.
    • Support one another.
    • Laugh together.

Method 3
Becoming Informed About Menopause

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    Read books about menopause. Pay specially attention to those written by women who have experienced it, or who work with it! Reading about other women's experiences will help you to understand the variety of possibilities during menopause, as well as reassuring you that you're not experiencing menopause alone.
    • A good book to begin with is Dr Christiane Northrup's The Wisdom of Menopause: The Complete Guide to Physical and Emotional Health During the Change.[14]
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    Learn what to expect. Use books or the internet to research physical and emotional symptoms. Knowing what to expect will help when you're feeling irritable, dissatisfied, or impatient. Tracing these moods back to the reality of menopause will help you to work through them, rather than viewing yourself as suddenly ill-tempered.[15]
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    Seek out a variety of stories. There are plenty of stories about the dreadful journey women go through when experiencing menopause, often published in women's magazines. The reality is that these stories highlight the less usual experiences; the more sensational and unusual the experience, the more newsworthy but that doesn't mean it's a reflection of the average experience.[16]
    • Look for books and articles that reflect good or neutral experiences, rather than simply bad ones.
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    Talk to other women. If you don't know what to expect from menopause, you'll be more vulnerable to the horror stories, the pressure to undergo treatments that you might not necessarily want to have, and the worry that your changes are out of your control. One way to combat this is to simply hear first hand accounts from women that you know! This will expose you to a variety of unique experiences.[17]
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    Trust what you know. Information is power that leads to wisdom. As you absorb information on menopause, trust your own intuition, your critical thinking skills, and especially your body to tell you what is true for you.[18] You probably know much more than you think!


  • The completion of menopause is said to be when you have not had a period for 12 months.
  • Know your facts. Most women tend to go through menopause in their forties, with the last period happening around 49–51 years of age. Smokers tend to have earlier final periods and lower bone density as a result of the smoking.[19] These are only averages; a number of women experience their periods finishing a lot earlier. The important thing is to not listen to Great Aunt Agatha without doing your research. Family experiences are not necessarily yours.
  • Know your symptoms. All women are different – some women experience few or no symptoms, other women experience many, and others are in between. Typical symptoms include:
    • Hot flashes (approximately 40 percent of women do not have this experience)
    • Night sweats
    • Vaginal dryness
    • Periods can vary all over the place: lighter, heavier, flooding, erratic, regular, more frequent, total disappearance.
  • You still have estrogen after menopause. It is just not being produced by your ovaries anymore, in anywhere the quantities prior to menopause. The hormone androgen (produced by the ovaries and the adrenal gland) gets converted into estrogen still. As this conversion occurs in body fat, women with higher body fat ratios tend to produce more estrogen post menopause.
  • The history of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) presents a good example for the need to do your own research and ask deep questions. At one stage HRT was considered safe as a one-size-fits-all treatment for menopause. However, studies in the early 2000s revealed increased risks from HRT for certain diseases, including breast cancer, heart disease, and gallbladder disease.[20] While the medical and legal arguments still rage about HRT, the number of women taking the treatment dropped dramatically, as did rates of breast cancer. This caused Barbara Ehrenreich, who suffered breast cancer following HRT, to note that "bad science may have produced the cancer in the first place".[21] If you strike the tendency of the medical profession to medicalize menopause rather than to treat it as a natural process, learn as much as you can and always ask questions.
  • Menopause is the cessation of menstruation. It is often termed "the change", or "the change of life". As well as the end of periods, hormone levels change and there may be mood swings.


  • Toss the things that don't work for you; just because your equally menopausal friend likes a certain menopausal remedy doesn't mean it's right for you. By all means try it if you're convinced but be ready to ditch it if it doesn't improve things or even makes things worse for you!
  • Don't confuse menopause with stress or aging. Stress and aging carry their own bundle of challenges, which include irritability, forgetfulness, depression, anxiety, disinterest in sex etc. While studies have tried to pinpoint these feelings on menopause, there is no absolute causal link (for example, refer to the 1987 study performed by Sonja and John McKinlay in Massachusetts).[22] The reality is that it's a complex bundle of all of these issues – menopause causes you to reflect about aging which in turn adds to existing stress. And if you were stressed easily prior to menopause, that won't change; your perspective can, however, provided you want to work on it.
  • Don't rely on not getting pregnant during menopause. While it is highly unlikely, it does happen and ignoring the possibility is not a great form of contraception. Increased likelihood of birth defects occur in older mothers (and fathers), let alone the fact that raising a young one at a time of life when you hope to be freed up after years of child raising can be very distressing for some women.
  • There are plenty of things that might or might not be caused by menopause. For example, night sweats can be a sign of an illness such as cancer. If you're not sure and are worried, seek medical advice. You might need to be very assertive though if your doctor tries to pinpoint the problems on menopause when your hunch is that it is something else. Ask for second opinions, specialist advice, tests, etc.

Things You'll Need

  • Reliable reading material on menopause; books written by women with medical, therapy, and personal experience in the field make an excellent start

Sources and Citations

  1. Lillian Chan, The Wellness Options Guide to Health, p. 82, (2003), ISBN 0-14-301376-9
  2. Lillian Chan, The Wellness Options Guide to Health, p. 82, (2003), ISBN 0-14-301376-9
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