Before menopause your ovaries are the main source of oestrogen manufacture, but as progesterone levels decline, the hormone oestrogen becomes dominant, causing an increase in cortisol, the fight or flight stress hormone. As the ovaries become less active, the balance shifts, and eventually at least half half of the body’s oestrogen and progesterone is made in the adrenal glands. At times of stress your adrenal glands always prioritise the secretion of the stress hormones over the creation of sex hormones – that’s their prime function. Stress reduction is therefore a key factor in keeping your body hormonally balanced from your 40’s onward.
There are several ways to keep your stress levels under control:
The first choice is always to tackle what is stressing you out. Identify what the problem is and address it at source. This is not an easy option and sometimes you have to opt for treating the symptoms rather than the cause.
Tapping/EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique): tapping is a great way to reduce feelings of despair, anxiety and many other negative emotions. If you’re feeling stressed, you can use it to reduce the feelings of stress you have. Measure your feelings on a scale of 1-10 before you start and when you’ve finished. You will see a reduction in your feelings of stress. For more information check out our post on tapping.
Meditation: Calm your mind by developing a meditation habit. Reduce stress by devoting a few minutes each day to yourself for meditation. Focus on your breathing and calm yourself down. It helps if you can find a special meditation space which you can call your own. You can start slowly, 5 minutes a day is a great start and you can build up as you become more practiced. There are lots of meditation videos on YouTube for guidance.
4-7-8 breathing technique: Place the tip of your tongue behind your top teeth. Breathe in through your nose for a count of 4, hold for 7 and exhale through your mouth for a count of 8. repeat this 4 times. Read more about how to do this here.
Get a good nights sleep: An ideal amount of sleep is 6-8 hours per night. Of course if you are feeling stressed, your worries may keep you awake at night. For more on getting a good night’s sleep check out our blog post here.
Be kind to yourself. Something that a lot of us get out of the habit of. Give yourself little rewards for a job well done. they don’t have to be big things. Try taking time out to read your book, a lovely bubbly bath or a nice meal with your favourite foods can all make you feel better.
Talk it out. A problem shared is a problem halved. Choose a trusted confidante and talk through what is stressing you. Just getting things off your chest will help and the person you speak to may have some helpful insights into your stresses.
What are your tried and trusted ways of dealing with stress? We’d love you to share them in the comments.