As if middle age wasn’t already a time that anxiety becomes more prevalent in our lives we now have a pandemic to keep us up at night as well. There have been times in my own life that as stressors started to build I had to seek out ways to decrease my anxiety symptoms just to function in my daily life. And the ways that we cope with the stressors in our lives and our resilience can vary from person to person. Therefore, the treatment of anxiety can vary as well.
Anxiety is one of the most common concerns I hear from my patients, especially in perimenopause. But fortunately it can also be the easiest to treat. There are numerous options for treatment that include mindfulness and meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy and medication. And often, the most effective therapy is a combination of all of these things.
Mindfulness teaches you to recognize negative and worrisome thoughts. It involves recognizing a thought as just that and not a part of who you are or necessarily even your current situation. Anxiety is by definition worry about the future and potential threats. With meditation, when you’re only living in the current moment, it is easy to recognize the thoughts that are only focused on what COULD be, instead of what actually is.
Meditation can be so powerful it has been shown in studies to actually improve anxiety, depression and even chronic pain.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is typically done with the guidance of a licensed therapist. It includes learning guided relaxation techniques, coping self talk, identifying triggers and creating a personal resource of coping strategies. These tools can be very effective in treating various types of acute and chronic anxiety conditions.
There are also numerous FDA approved medications available for the treatment of anxiety. It is best to discuss these options with your healthcare provider so they can easily target your symptoms and what might be the most effective therapy agent.
When considering how to cope with our anxiety it is most important to remember there are very effective therapies and we do not have to suffer with our negative thoughts and physical symptoms of our mental state. With a holistic approach we can find ways to distinguish between a necessary problem solving thought and a nagging worry about the future that has no benefit to us in the current moment.
And it helps to have a friend or community remind us that we are not alone in our fears and anxieties and there are resources to help us through these tough times.
Please reach out to your healthcare provider with concerns about your mental health. Many of them are offering telemedicine visits and you can get help in the comfort of your own home while social distancing.
Perimenopause symptoms are rough, and they can make life feel pretty tough. If you are in perimenopause, join our community of incredible women and perimenopause experts for support, advice, and a little bit of humor. See you in the Perry Community!
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice, does not take the place of medical advice from your physician, and is not intended to treat or cure any disease. Patients should see a qualified medical provider for assessment and treatment.
Meet the Author
Perry Babe Carmen, MSN, FNP-C, WHNP-BC, a Family and Women's Health Nurse Practitioner, nationally recognized by both the AANP (American Association of Nurse Practitioners) and the NCC (National Certification Corporation). Her specialties include family centered care, perimenopause/menopause, high risk obstetrics, cardiovascular health, disease prevention and mental health.
She is passionate about helping women cut through the marketing noise in the wellness industry, clarify misinformation, and drop honest advice you can trust in a community of solidarity amongst like minded women. With over 10 years of experience as a Nurse Practitioner and over 20 years in women's healthcare, she is on a mission to help women like you improve their health and wellness through preventative care and clinical insights. She is passionate about educating women on the information and the confidence needed to advocate for their own health and wellness in and outside of a doctor's office.
She lives with her husband and three boys in the Minneapolis area and works as a Nurse Practitioner in a private OBGYN practice. She is the author of the blog Wits & Wellness and leads a community of women discussing health issues in an online forum.