Saturday, July 14, 2012

Why the menopausal woman gets angry?

During Perimenopause, in the transitional period before menopause, women experience a number of emotional problems and mood swings, including anger, in addition to physical changes. According to experts, perimenopause does not cause anger and other mood swings, but fluctuations in hormone production during perimenopause trigger anger, depression and other mood swings that are already pre-existing.

Many women, at a slightest provocation, would have waves of intense emotions, such as anger go through them. Many would be intolerant of behaviors that transgressed their own limits, and limits of others. Some women would be focused on their sense of outrage and anger, and would intervene, frequently on behalf of others.

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Suppressed Anger

According to a classic psychosocial epidemiological study, suppressed rage is linked with higher mortality rates, elevated risks of certain cancers, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease in both men and women.

A team of researchers at Stanford University in California found that women who repressed their emotions were more likely to show disruptions in the normal balance of the stress hormone cortisol, compared with those who did not. Earlier studies have shown that the unbalanced cortisol fluctuations can predict early death in women with breast cancer that has spread to other areas of the body.

The difficulty with anger in women is that although it is a perfectly natural emotion, few women are taught to express it in a positive way. As girls, many were cautioned that anger is “unladylike,” and expressing it should be avoided at all costs. As adults, these women may have trouble untangling their anger from a knot of other emotions, like anxiety and depression. Younger women may have been raised under looser constraints, yet still find themselves bewildered, guilty, and depleted by their angry feelings, which can simmer just beneath the surface, or explode uncontrollably at random moments.

Anger is extremely powerful. It helps us clarify objectives and propels us to safety — but it can take a big toll on our health, happiness and loved ones. The key to getting the full benefit of anger is to understand its biological and emotional roots, and then to make the necessary changes to put you — not your rage — back in control.

From social perspectives, it is quite easier for men to express their anger, in part because society accepts and “relies” on their aggressiveness for protection. While many can condone a man who explodes, women who voice their anger are often looked down upon.

Biologically, the “male” hormone testosterone has been associated with aggression and irritability in men, at both low and high levels. Women with a testosterone imbalance may evidence a similar tendency to blow. They just usually express it differently. However, it’s still unclear whether people who are angry have more testosterone as a result of generating it while angry or because a deregulation in their testosterone levels might cause excess anger.

What is clear is that men are far more likely to strike out at another person or object in anger, whereas women are more prone to express anger indirectly or at themselves. Younger women are now given more leeway to externally express anger and are doing so — but it’s often misdirected toward a “safe” target (like a spouse or child) instead of the real source. Therefore, many guilty feelings in women can be traced back to misdirected anger, and studies on gender and anger show that women most often feel shame, guilt and resentment in response to angry outbursts.

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Logical Way to Overcome Suppressed Anger

1. Understand that anger has no place inside you. Most people have repressed anger towards someone or something. The biggest problem is that it is very hard to relieve. This is because people have always looked at anger as a negative emotion. That’s the way we have been trained to think, when in fact, there is nothing wrong with anger. It is a natural emotion and an accepted response to negative triggers; it is never meant to be kept within. So as long as it is released and expressed, it does not become a pollutant in your life.

But when you choose to hide, ignore, or deny the emotion, it gets buried in your psyche, and once embedded, it can rot and fester until its effects become so powerful that it negatively affects all aspects of your life.

2. Understand that anger requires a solution. The problem with suppressed anger is that it invites more anger and more problems and conflicts into your life. When something makes you angry, it is a sign that there is a need for change. If you ignore or hide your anger, then the situation that triggered your anger in the first place will not be changed. This leads to the possibility of that same problem to come up again in the future.

Use our Wellness Diary to track your anger pattern. Note whether you become irritable at certain times of the month, after eating certain foods, or under certain circumstances. These triggers are stressful to your body, and will set off your alarm. Learning to spot them in advance helps you retrain your reaction, giving the “thinking” part of your brain the upper hand. This is why counting to ten before you react really works! It may take practice, but working on it each and every time your anger emerges will make a big difference over time.

3. Use it positively. Remember, anger is energy, a powerful force. So just think about it: if it can create such powerful effects when used negatively, it can also be used to wield positive effects. There is a way for you to transform anger into a positive emotion. All you have to do is be in control of it, instead of let it control you.

  • Be responsible for your anger. Recognize your own emotion and make a personal decision to release it and transform it into a positive force in your life.
  • Express it in your own way. Find some way to express your anger. One of the most effective and safe ways of doing so is to express it in writing. You don’t even have to worry about grammar or spelling. What’s important is to let the feelings out. Even if you don’t emotionally express the anger, writing about it is one way of letting it out so it does not get trapped and start poisoning you from within.

4. Learn to forgive. It is impossible to overcome anger towards a person if you do not learn how to forgive that person. Forgiving does not mean you have to go right back to the previous relationship you had with that person. Many people are not willing to forgive because they think forgiveness will benefit those who wronged them. But the truth is, when you choose to forgive, you are the one who benefits from it because you are finally freeing yourself.

If you are having difficulty forgiving, use positive affirmations and visualization. Visualize your life without anger and use subliminal messages to teach your subconscious to let go of negative emotions that hold you back.

It is even more important and occasionally is more complicated to forgive yourself!

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Practical Recommendations on Dealing with Anger

Smart Anger Channeling

Seek out a safe place to be furious. Before confronting the object of your rage, talk with a trusted friend, co-worker or counselor who can help get to the root of what's pressing your buttons. Thinking it over with someone safe may help you figure out less hostile, more instructive ways to express your feelings with a loved one, colleague or boss.

Approach the person who sent your blood boiling in the first place. As a general guideline, the more significant the relationship, the more important it is to articulate feelings in a constructive way. She suggests trying something like, "This is bothering me. Something has to change. How can we deal with it?"

Identify the reason behind the rage. There's always something underlying an angry reaction. The trick here is to find the trigger. If it's not obvious, keeping a log of anger experiences may help you uncover patterns. For some people, professional help may be needed to delve through deep-rooted feelings of shame and anger that started in childhood.

Physical Exercises

Simple changes in your life style can lessen stresses, such as, anger and other mood swings, during the period leading to menopause. Following an exercise regimen is one good way of reducing anger during menopause. Exercise, a great stress-reliever has antidepressant and anxiolytic (anxiety relieving) effects. Regular exercisers typically have fewer mental and physical health problems, and brisk walks three times a week will help you during Perimenopause to reduce the severity of anger and other mood swings.

Exercising also stimulates endorphins, hormones that reduce the sensation of pain and affect emotions, such as anger, and boosts Serotonin levels. Serotonin regulates cyclic body processes. In addition, exercise helps you sleep better, and controls weight gain, which is normally associated with perimenopause and menopause. It is far better to take out your pent up emotions and anger on the jogging/walking track and the gym equipments, than on your family, friends and colleagues!

If you have a medical condition, consult your doctor before deciding on an exercise regimen. It would normally take several weeks, as much as four months, before you will see improvements in your mood swings and anger.

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Release anger through creativity. Depending on your personality and situation, a soothing activity that feeds your soul can be very healing. Allow your true colors to show through your creation — whether it’s a meal, painting, craft, song or dance — any creative pursuit that allows you unfettered self-expression can help you let go of your anger and move on.

Cooling Off

Take several deep breaths. If you find yourself blinded by heat-of-the-moment anger, try to buy some time to cool off a bit, especially if you think you're at risk of harming someone physically or emotionally. You may even need to walk away from the situation for a while. Remember, though, that in the long run, fleeing the scene won't help you express yourself. So ask for a few moments to collect your thoughts and then say what needs to be said.

Use this break to practice useful relaxation techniques achieved through breathing. Standing or sitting, stretch arms out to the side just away from the body while mentally sending the tension down the inside of the arms and out through the fingertips. Then do a few minutes of even meditative breathing to calm the body-mind. Example: breathe in one count; breathe out one count; breathe in one count and continue.

If you have a bit more time to cool off (like 5 minutes), you can try walking meditation approach. Take a walk, swinging your arms back and forth - when your right foot steps forward, your left arm swings forward, and when your left foot steps forward your right arm swings forward. Keep your breathing even, such as 2 steps to breathe in and 2 steps to breathe out. While walking, think about the reasons you get angry in the first place? Frustration with others or yourself?

Anti-Anger Diet

Effect of Diet on Anger During Menopause For women in perimenopause and menopause, diet has a great effect on the emotional aspects, such as anger. Diets rich in protein and especially Omega-3 fatty acids, reduced intake of sugar, caffeine and carbohydrates, etc, should be highly preferred. Salmon, tuna, and other cold-water fish and flaxseed oil are the sources of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Red clover helps to regulate female hormones due to its high content of phytoestrogens, plant-like compounds that act like estrogen on a woman's system. By reintroducing the estrogen-like properties with red clover, a woman's body may be able to more easily regulate a hormonal imbalance triggering irritability, anger and other emotional changes.

Black cohosh has some estrogenic effects on the body and provides many of the benefits of estrogen without the danger of artificial hormone replacement therapy. It has been used for centuries by traditional herbalists to balance women's hormones and is still used to relieve menopausal symptoms, including irritability, anger, mood swings and depression.

The Indian spice saffron is used frequently in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of menopausal symptoms related to depression, anxiety, anger, irritability, insomnia, mood swings and other emotional upsets.

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Along with adding diet and exercise to your lifestyle, you can add supplements to help with symptoms of anger during perimenopause and menopause:
  • Amino acid tryptophan - a natural relaxant that reduces anxiety and depression by increasing serotonin levels.
  • Gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) - It works as a natural tranquilizer.
  • DLPA (D, L-phenylalanine) - It bolsters mood-elevating chemicals in the brain and blocks a nervous system enzyme that amplifies pain signals. It is a more effective pain reliever in combination with GABA.
  • B-complex vitamins also can play a role in boosting mood and improving tension and stress levels in menopausal women.
  • Tyrosene - It is a natural stimulant and very appropriate to get rid of mood swings.

Sources and Additional Information:
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