Today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I'm going to be giving you four tips to help with anger.
Why does menopause make you angry?
It's amazing how many women come to me and they're really concerned or surprised about how angry they get over things. It's mainly due to falling oestrogen. And the main thing that's happening here is that, as your oestrogen falls, it's actually releasing your emotional control on your feelings.
So, instead of being in a situation where you feel angry and thinking, "Oh, I can't be angry. I've got to be nice. I've got to have a smile on my face," that self-control disappears and the anger just bursts forth. Of course, there are lots of problems with this.
It can be also accompanied by things like irritation and impatience and, sometimes, there can be a combination of high testosterone as well. Although we tend to think of oestrogen and progesterone as our main hormones, women have a small amount of testosterone as well.
And, when your hormones are starting to change, that balance can go topsy-turvy and testosterone levels can end up higher than oestrogen and progesterone. It's the high testosterone that can give you more kind of 'masculine' traits like the anger and the aggression. And some women find, too, in this situation, that they start to get hair growing in places where they don't want it, like on the chin and the upper lip as well.
What can happen here is that the anger can be very frightening because, if you're used to being in control of your emotions and suddenly you're just letting rip every day, not only is it shocking others, but it can really shock you as well. And then afterwards, you will probably start to get really annoyed and angry with yourself for losing control, maybe for being not very nice to the person who was on the other end and that then creates this whole guilt scenario which makes you feel worse, and it just gets like a vicious, vicious circle.
It can be very disconcerting and hurtful for close family members because, suddenly, they are seeing someone before them that they don't recognise. It can also be hard when you're at work, especially if you have the type of job where you may spend a lot of time with members of the public, where there may be a little bit of confrontation anyway.
I know one lady who told me that she got so fed up with her boss, she just basically stamped her feet, walked out and said "Goodbye" - because she literally got so angry with the whole scheme of things there.
For some people though, they actually enjoy the anger. I had one of my colleagues just the other week come to me saying, "Oh, that menopause anger kicked in the other day".
Basically, a stranger had confronted her when she was out walking her dog and she said that, normally, she would've said nothing and just bowed her head and walked away. But she said, "I went straight in there and it actually felt really good". And another friend of mine loved her little anger phase because she said it was the first time in her life that she could be totally honest and truthful with people. I'm not quite sure what her friends and family thought, but for that little phase where she had these emotions, it felt really good for her.
How to control your anger during menopause
Here are some things you can do to help yourself, especially if you feel that your anger is really getting out of control or people are starting to comment on the fact that you're being very, very short-tempered.
Exercise is great for a variety of reasons. It can release that kind of pent-up feeling, especially if the anger has been building up over the day or maybe through a period of your work, something like that.
Yoga & deep breathing
The exercises that I think you would find really good are things like yoga and deep breathing. These can be very calming, and can be very solidifying exercises that can ground you. The next exercise is completely the opposite...
It's things like boxercise where you can really thump away all that anger, frustration and irritability. I must admit I like that one. Not only could it get rid of everything that's pent up emotionally, but it's really good for strengthening your shoulders and your arms as well.
The other one is just walking. If you can get out, have a nice, reasonably brisk walk at some point during the day. If you're somewhere lucky where you can get a little bit of fresh air, and plants, and trees, and the sunshine, that can go a long way to calming you down and making you feel that little bit better.
Number two would be diet. It's amazing how many foods and drinks can contribute to irritability and anger, things like your caffeine, your high salt and sugar foods, your fizzy drinks, and your fruit juices. If you find that you're getting the anger at the same time every day, then that's the point when you can try a food diary.
Just write down everything that you're eating and drinking, and you might find that the anger pops up because you've recently had a very strong cup of coffee, or you've had half a packet of biscuits, or you haven't eaten or drunk for a while, so this could be a very useful one. That will then give you much more control over these anger outbursts.
Just take a look at your diet generally. Are you eating enough good foods to give your nervous system plenty of support? The more stable your nervous system is then the less likely you're going to lose control and get angry. So, number three is looking at supplements and herbs.
Magnesium. It's great for absolutely everything, so make sure that you're getting enough in your diet and through supplements. You can look at our Menopause Support if it's appropriate. It contains soya in a fermented form which is known to help balance and raise your oestrogen just that little bit more gently.
And maybe try just a really good, all-around vitamin and mineral supplement as well. You certainly can't go wrong with that.
Always remember the water because dehydration is another situation that will certainly stress your nervous system, so lots of plain water during the day.
5. Talking about it
And the last, but not least, tip is to talk about how you're feeling. If your family, or friends, or work colleagues are dropping hints that you're getting very irritable and maybe losing your temper that little bit more then, if you can, sit down with them and just say, "Look, this isn't me. This is what's happening to me. It's my hormones. I'm just that little bit short-tempered but, you know, in most instances, this is just one of the phases of the menopause, and these things tend to ease off and disappear at some point."
But giving people a warning that you may be that little bit more irritable and angry means that they're then less likely to react to how you're behaving, and you're not going to end up with the whole situation escalating. This is quite a fascinating symptom in the menopause because it can lead to all sorts of situations.
So, hopefully this has helped. If any of you have any other tips that you found to be very useful for you when you were in your angry phase, then I would love to hear about it.