Nearly 3 out of 4 women experience hot flashes in their lifetime, and it can be even more difficult when other symptoms of menopause—such as insomnia, night sweats, and mood swings—are present. But the psychological impact of hot flashes can also take a toll on one’s emotional health and well-being. Hot flashes, emotional health, and stress are intertwined and can be difficult to manage. Here, we detail tips and strategies in order to cope with the psychological impact of hot flashes and maintain good emotional health.
Understanding the Link Between Hot Flashes and Emotional Health
Hot flashes, particularly when intermittent and at night, can lead to sleep disturbances, irritability, and impaired concentration. This can leave one feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope, which can lead to developing a more chronic stress response. Indeed, hot flashes can be perceived as a major stressor and can trigger the release of stress hormones.
Strategies to Manage Hot Flashes and Improve Emotional Health
Studies have suggested that yoga, breathing exercises, and mindfulness can all be useful when it comes to managing hot flashes and improving emotional health. Relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and visual imagery can also be beneficial.
Exercise is also proven to aid in improving sleep, reducing stress, and calming hot flashes. A regular exercise program, even if just taking long walks, can help reduce the stress hormones and improve one’s mood and emotional health.
Another tool to utilize is journaling. Writing about one’s feelings and experiences can help release stress, reduce anxiety, and make room for a more positive outlook.
It’s also important to ensure one is getting enough sleep and eating balanced meals. A healthy diet with adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables—as well as lean proteins and whole grains—can help stabilize moods and reduce hot flashes.
Finally, consulting a mental health professional—with experience in menopause-related concerns—to discuss one’s particular situation may help. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been used to address issues surrounding one’s reactions to hot flashes and reducing their overall effects on emotional health.
Hot flashes can undeniably affect one’s mental health and emotional well-being. Thankfully, through proper self-care and seeking professional help, one can learn to cope with the psychological impact of hot flashes and maintain good emotional health.