Washington D.C.: A Mayo Clinic Study recently published in Climacteric: The Journal of the International Menopause Society now says that mindfulness maybe associated with fewer menopausal symptoms for women.
Researchers discovered that being mindful may be especially helpful for menopausal women struggling with irritability, anxiety and depression.
The general internist and women's health specialist further added, "These findings suggest that mindfulness may be a promising tool to help women reduce menopausal symptoms and overall stress."
Notably, mindfulness involves focusing attention on the present moment, and observing thoughts and sensations without judgment.
Prior research has shown practicing mindfulness can reduce stress and improve quality of life.
According to the study, everyday, an estimated 6,000 women in the US reach menopause. The study adds that by 2020, the number of women aged 55 and older is expected to top 46 million.
The study involved 1,744 women ages 40 to 65 who received care at Mayo Clinic's Women's Health Clinic in Rochester between Jan. 1, 2015, and Dec. 31, 2016.
Participants completed questionnaires that rated their menopausal symptoms, perceived level of stress and mindfulness. Researchers found women with higher mindfulness scores had fewer menopausal symptoms. The higher a woman's perceived level of stress, the greater the link between higher mindfulness and reduced menopausal symptoms.
Interestingly, according to Dr. Sood, one surprising outcome of the study is that the higher mindfulness scores were not associated with lower hot flash and night sweat symptom scores.
One theory as to why is that the amount of distress experienced from night sweats and hot flashes may have more to do with individual personality traits rather than the symptoms themselves.
n exciting finding in the study, according to Dr. Sood, was the association of higher mindfulness scores and lower symptom scores for irritability, depression and anxiety in middle-aged menopausal women.
Fortunately, mindfulness is a skill that can be learned.
"Essentially, the first step in being mindful is to become aware that our minds are on autopilot most of the time," Dr. Sood says, adding, "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 non judgmentally. The resulting calm helps lower stress."