What is the association between thoughts (cognition) and behaviour (how we process and react to things) and why is it relevant?
Cultural attitudes towards ageing and the stigma attached to menopause in our society and its association with getting older can create a cycle of negative thoughts and feelings around the time of the menopause transition. This can make symptoms more overwhelming and difficult to cope with.
Around the point that the menopause happens, many women experience an accumulation of other life stressors at the same time- career pressures, ageing parents, teenagers with their own hormones or children leaving home- all of which can add to the feeling of being overwhelmed and unable to cope. This in turn can create a veil of anxiety and stress that can feed into those negative thought processes, affecting self-esteem, mood and our ability to react positively to situations.
Emotional and physical symptoms often interact, which can make physical symptoms more distressing. When we feel anxious and stressed, our thought process around experiencing a physical symptom, in a certain situation is affected. This can negatively influence the way we feel and respond to that particular scenario, thereby enhancing the strength of our bodily reaction/ physical symptom.