Dealing with stress vs anxiety during menopause
Author: Magnus Wood
It’s easy to feel both stressed and anxious during menopause. Knowing the differences between stress vs. anxiety is the beginning of helping you feel more positive.
Changes in our bodies, relationships with all of their ups, downs and complications, and now the worry that robots might take our our jobs! During menopause there is so much to be stressed and anxious about. But when we say we feel these emotions what, exactly, do we mean? They are two words I hear often used but also often with a lack of clarity about each actually is and what the causes are. One of the first things I do with women who are stressed and anxious is help them understand what the differences are; this understanding creates a foundation to start dealing with them.
“I’m really stressed about everything that’s going on at the moment, and I’m anxious about what might happen.”
When everything is getting on top of us and we can’t see a clear way through, all of us will have said something like this many times in our lives. Without realising it, what we’ve done is define the differences between anxiety and stress.
Stress = our body’s physical and mental response to over-stimulation
Anxiety = our body’s mental response to things that might happen; which creates stress
We feel stressed when we believe that we cannot cope with the demands being placed on us. Too many work deadlines, family situations we feel we can’t deal with, bills… The list of stressors – things that we feel we struggle to deal – with goes on and on. Our body reacts to stress through our ancient ‘Fright, Flight, or Fight’ reaction which evolved to deal with the many dangers in our environment. When we are stressed we can have difficulty sleeping and we are more susceptible to becoming ill. We can eat and drink too much; so in our attempts to get relief from stress, we can make poor choices that also affect our health.
Apprehension, fear, and feelings of impending doom caused by worries about uncertainty. Our mind races about the things that stress us, we imagine the worst, we think things might happen that we couldn’t possibly predict. Anxiety is mental distress caused by the fear of the known happening, and fear of the the unknown that could happen. Anxiety causes our body to kick in our ‘Fright, Flight, or Fight’ reaction; stressing us even more.
How can we deal with stress and anxiety?
Positivity is a powerful way to deal with the many stresses in life. We know it can be hard to deal with stress during menopause; that’s why we developed our ‘7 Positivity Principles’, which you can read about at How to regain positivity during menopause when you’re feeling low
Most bad things you worry about either never happen, or as not as bad as the nightmare scenarios you create in your mind. A lot of the really bad things that happen, such as illnesses and accidents, you simply can’t predict. As Mark Twain said, “I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” Many bad things that do actually happen you could have stopped happening if only you had done something about them earlier. Action is your best cure for anxiety. Doing something, anything, helps you to start feeling like you are regaining control.
If something is starting to make you feel anxious, here’s a sequence of five things that you can do to deal with it:
- Take several deep breaths
- Ask yourself: “Is there a real reason to believe that something is wrong?”
- Then: “What is the specific evidence in front of me that something is truly wrong?”
- Then: “Thinking about it calmly, is there a chance I am blowing this out of proportion?
- Take several deep breaths and decide what, if anything, you are going to do about it.
You can read more about anxiety and how to deal with it at Anxiety during menopause – causes and lifestyle solutions
We all feel stressed and anxious but most people don’t stop to think what they
Knowing the differences between stress vs, anxiety is your first step in dealing with them. Good luck, and we’d love to hear your insights and experiences.
About the Author
Magnus Wood is a life coach who works with women during menopause to regain their positivity and create the changes they want in their life. This is a time of tremendous change – not just physically but emotionally, and often at work and home life too. Magnus supports women throughout all of these changes with one-to-one coaching, either face-to-face or using Skype. If you would like to discuss coaching with Magnus, please email email@example.com