You gotta breathe anyway, why not make those breaths count? Especially when adjusting the way you breathe may actually help reduce your menopause symptoms.
Though this may sound hard to believe, there are effective strategies to control your symptoms just using your breath. That’s right, breathing techniques have found to reduce the impact of some of the most common symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, and anxiety. Hear us out…
Why Breathing Works
Breathing exercises help menopause symptoms on three different levels, biologically, emotionally and cognitively. Breathing differently than we normally would alters the amount of oxygen received by our brains and bodies. Taking deep breaths and expelling them slowly, for example, slows the heart rate and produces a feeling of relaxation in the mind and body.
Reduction of Hot Flashes
Many studies have shown that deep breathing and other mindful practices are effective for hot flashes, night sweats and psychological symptoms of menopause. The reason is the reduction of something called sympathetic activation. As it turns out, many of our menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats are connected to increased stress levels. Breathing exercises reduce stress and this in turn reduces the vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes, night sweats) that come with menopause. Pretty cool, huh? Using our breathing in the right ways can actually offer us freedom to manage menopause symptoms naturally.
Improves Mental Functioning
The use of breathing exercises can help reduce cognitive symptoms that can interfere with our quality of life in menopause. Scientists have found that in-breaths (through the nose) helps improve our ability to think and process information. This makes sense when we think about what happens when we are on high-alert and breathing fast. (Our oxygen levels are higher, and we are prepared to take action). The increased oxygen by breathing faster prepares us for quick-thinking and movement. Deep breathing and other focused breathing exercises can offer the same benefits to our mental functioning and help boost mental energy as well as physical energy, depending on what techniques are used.
Another cognitive and emotional benefit of breathing exercises during menopause is the reduction of stress hormones within the body. Deep breathing helps our bodies deal with stress hormones. The increase in oxygen during deep breathing reduces the stress hormones in the blood stream. This is helpful for those who struggle with the emotional impact of menopause. Sometimes depression or waves of anxiety can feel debilitating but learning how to use breathing techniques to reduce those symptoms can be a game changer.
Using breathing exercises on the regular is all about making it a habit. Clio makes it easy.
- Start practicing: Clio has targeted breathing exercises and mindfulness sessions that you can use to help with hot flashes, sleep problems and other common symptoms. You can access them through Quick Relief on the Clio app anywhere and anytime.
- Create goals: Plan to do breathing exercises at a certain time each day. Establish a routine as if this were another task for your day. Clio’s Daily Goals feature reminds you to practice every day, and helps you feel accomplished when you check off your goals!
- Keep track: Use the Clio Log to record your daily activities (such as practicing mindfulness) and symptoms. This will help you observe whether and how how your practice is impacting your symptoms over time.
As we deal with menopause mayhem, it is empowering to learn simple yet powerful techniques that we can use to control our health and experience. If you start using breathing exercises along with other mindfulness skills, you’ll be calm and cool (figuratively and literally!) before you know it.