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    Learning to Relax During Menopause

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    Because stress can make the symptoms of menopause worse, it is important to learn how to relax.

    How Can I Relax During Menopause?

    In order to learn how to relax during menopause or any other time, you need to become familiar with your own breathing patterns and change them in ways that will help you relax. Your breathing pattern is often disrupted by changes in emotion. People who are anxious tend to hold their breath and speak in a high-pitched voice as they exhale. On the other hand, people who are depressed, tend to sigh and speak in a low-pitched voice as they exhale.

    Below are a few relaxation exercises. Find a quiet location that is free of distractions, a comfortable body position, and a good state of mind. Try to block out worries and distracting thoughts.

    Rhythmic breathing: If your breathing is short and hurried, slow it down by taking long, slow breaths. Inhale slowly then exhale slowly. Count slowly to five as you inhale, and then count slowly to five as you exhale. As you exhale slowly, pay attention to how your body naturally relaxes. Recognizing this change will help you to relax even more.

    Deep breathing: Imagine a spot just below your navel. Breathe into that spot, filling your abdomen with air. Let the air fill you from the abdomen up, then let it out, like deflating a balloon. With every long, slow exhalation, you should feel more relaxed.

    Visualized breathing: Find a comfortable place where you can close your eyes, and combine slowed breathing with your imagination. Picture relaxation entering your body and tension leaving your body. Breathe deeply, but in a natural rhythm. Visualize your breath coming into your nostrils, going into your lungs and expanding your chest and abdomen. Then, visualize your breath going out the same way. Continue breathing, but each time you inhale, imagine that you are breathing in more relaxation. Each time you exhale imagine that you are getting rid of a little more tension.

    Progressive muscle relaxation: Switch your thoughts to yourself and your breathing. Take a few deep breaths, exhaling slowly. Mentally scan your body. Notice areas that feel tense or cramped. Quickly loosen up these areas. Let go of as much tension as you can. Roll your head in a smooth, circular motion once or twice. (Stop any movements that cause pain!) Roll your shoulders forward and backward several times. Let all of your muscles completely relax. Recall a pleasant thought for a few seconds. Take another deep breath and exhale slowly. You should feel relaxed.

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