Aging and Emotional & Physical Changes

As we age, we experience many emotional and mental shifts that are directly tied to physical changes. While some are temporary symptoms caused by hormonal imbalances, others can become a chronic problem if they aren’t managed right out the gate. 

For women experiencing perimenopause or menopause, hormonal fluctuation can lead to drastic negative effects on emotional and mental health. Learn how aging and menopause could be linked to your increased anxiety or depression — and learn tools to manage it before they become a bigger problem.

Estrogen and mental health

Because estrogen is thought to have mood enhancing benefits, the sudden loss of estrogen between the ages of 50 and 55 can cause anxiety, depression and mood swings. Panic attacks also become stronger during this time or even develop into anxiety disorder. While this can come as no surprise considering the effect of emotional upheavals through adolescence and pregnancy, the appearance of anxiety in women during perimenopause and menopause is more common than women not in this stage of life. 

While many women experience decreased anxiety after menopause, for those who have physical symptoms of anxiety or struggle with negative life events, symptoms can linger after menopause. Stress, anxiety and menopause can often feel the same due to similar symptoms:

  • irritability
  • mood swings
  • difficulty coping
  • irrational phobias

Because of the shared symptoms, diagnosing yourself can feel a bit like deciding if the chicken or the egg came first. 

Manage Menopausal Anxiety and Stress

Learning to manage these emotional changes on your own can decrease the effects of menopausal anxiety and disorder, and possibly prevent anxiety disorders from developing.

  1. Stay committed to diet and exercise. A balanced diet and frequent exercise can help alleviate many of the symptoms caused by menopause. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise daily. Be sure to include mood boosting foods in your diet such as avocados, raw nuts and fish. It may also be helpful to reduce foods that increase anxious feelings, like caffeine and spicy foods.
  2. Adopt a creative hobby. Engaging your creative, problem solving mind with an artistic or expressive hobby has shown to help people understand and reflect on their anxiety and depression.
  3. Relaxation techniques are key to balancing intense feelings brought on by anxiety and depression. Relaxation can come in many forms, so give yourself permission to explore breathing techniques, meditation or a relaxing form of self care.
  4. Discussing problems help you feel more in tune with your emotions and mood swings. Seek emotional support from friends and participate in social events. This can help keep your perception positive.

Menopause is a stressful, life changing time for most women, and it takes courage to admit you may need help dealing with it. If your menopause induced anxiety, depression or mood swings begin to disrupt your everyday life, call Healing Minds to get help.