HeartMath Works Well for Managing Peri-Menopausal Stress
When you begin suffering new and unexplained physical symptoms, including sudden surges of rage, heavy periods, hot flashes, insomnia and depression, how can you not worry?
What’s worse, peri-menopause itself causes an increase in anxiety even before you feel the hot flashes. You’re afraid. You suffer even more than your life’s usual stress.
The Cortisol-Oestrogen Stress Connection
One of oestrogen’s many functions in your body is to regulate cortisol, the stress hormone your adrenal glands produce to put you into “fight or flight” mode. Nature designed your body to experience stress intensely, but not for long. In the Paleolithic era, you either survived, or not, quickly. Chronically high levels of cortisol damage your body.
However, as you start going through peri-menopause, your oestrogen levels fall. Therefore, during peri-menopause less of it is there to dampen the frustration you feel when trapped in a rush hour traffic jam or a co-worker contradicts you in a staff meeting.
Other Hormones Encourage the Down Spiral
While you experience peri-menopause, your levels of progesterone and oestrogen are out of balance, which also causes stress. With your pituitary gland and hypothalamus also releasing unprecedented levels of hormones like roller coasters, they push your normal feelings back and forth, causing more stress. Peri-menopause disrupts the hormonal rhythm you’ve become used to.
To make matters worse, the stress you feel magnifies the adverse physical symptoms, making you feel even more stressed, and so on.
HeartMath Reduces Stress
Many people give you lots of advice on how to lower stress, but there’s an organization backed up by scientific studies that’s been helping people deal with stress by creating heart coherence. They have tools, including biofeedback devices, that guide you.
Doc Childre founded the nonprofit HeartMath Institute in 1991 to develop scientific tools and techniques anyone could use to improve their lives and reduce stress by following their heart as a source of intelligence.
The following article on their site gives you a taste of how their techniques, based on scientific research, compare with the usual advice. This infographic on their site clearly makes the case for how much stress damages your health in many ways. Learning the HeartMath techniques for reducing stress will improve your health for the rest of your life, long after your peri-menopause has become menopause, and beyond. Everybody suffers from too much stress.
The Basic Theory
The HeartMath Institute discovered one of the primary factors affecting your emotions is your heart rate variability (HRV). You know your feelings in general; centre on your heart. That’s a truth everybody knows intuitively. Recent research reveals a centre for processing information. It communicates. It sends messages to the brain affecting your emotions and your behaviour. Your feelings drive the physiological changes that you experience as stress.
When you feel stressed, your heart beats in erratic, jagged spikes. When you’re feeling positive, the patterns smooth out like rolling hills. HeartMath‘s goal is to have your heart beat in coherence, creating a feeling of security, counteracting the anxiety of peri-menopause.
This video goes into more detail.
Monitoring your HRV is not something you can do without technological help. You need a monitor designed for that purpose, such as the emWave2, which HeartMath provides.
By showing you the HRV, the device gives you feedback about your heart. As you go through the HeartMath program, such as deep breathing through your heart with a feeling of appreciation, you see how that affects your HRV to create less or more coherence.
Just as your grade on a school test lets you know whether you need to study more, feedback from the emWave2 lets you know how effectively you’re reaching coherence to lower stress. As you practice every day, you learn how to immediately lower your stress.
Therefore, with HeartMath, you can scientifically measure how much you’re lowering your stress. By themselves, hot baths, listening to music and meditation can’t do that.