Are you a Nervous Nellie, a Worry Wart or a Hand Wringer?

Well I never used to be, but unexplained anxiety is definitely something I have struggled with for a few years now through my perimenopause, and it shows no sign of abating even now that I am in the menopause proper.  

Anxiety is when you are continually worried or tense. It appears to affect almost twice as many women as men and is a common symptom of the menopause.

In general, anxiety is characterised by a constant sense of worry over normal everyday events, much greater than the situation deserves. Although you may realise this, it can be difficult to shake off the feeling so that you are not constantly on edge and irritable.

Part of the explanation lies with the fact that oestrogen plays an important role in managing the chemical activities in your brain. When the level of oestrogen is high you feel well. As Oestrogen levels drop, a number of symptoms such as low mood and anxiety can set in.

What can we do to help?

  • Relaxation techniques – mindful practices such as Pilates, yoga, meditation and breathing exercises have been used for years to counteract anxiety. Being able to calm your body and mind can significantly reduce the severity or frequency of anxiety attacks
  • Healthy lifestyle – We have heard it all before, but a healthy diet and lifestyle can have a significant impact on how you feel.
  • Reduce caffeine – caffeine is notorious for making people jittery, so consuming a lot of caffeine will only make your anxiety worse.

Breathing is one of the foundational principles of Pilates and is incorporated into every Pilates Class I teach as we coordinate the breath with each movement.  Breathing is under the automatic control of the autonomic nervous system however unlike other automatic processes breathing can also be brought under our conscious control.  

The quality of our breathing pattern can vary hugely from person to person, and has a significant influence on our overall health and wellbeing.  This week's podcast is a conversation with Kate Parrott, a Respiratory Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist. Kate is amazingly knowledgeable and she offers some real insight and some simple practical breathing techniques which can really help us to be healthier and feel better.  Link to podcast

Anyone who has been to one of my classes will tell you that I am ‘very keen” (putting it mildly) on us paying close attention to the precision and control of the movements that we make and the muscles as they work.  This focus inwards also introduces elements of mindfulness as we move with our attention wholly in the current moment.  Mindful practices can enhance our ability to regulate emotions and decrease stress, anxiety and depression. So why wait to feel better? Act now and try your First Class for Free and learn a movement practice that could really make a difference to your life. After all “it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years…”