photo: Mario on flickr

photo: Mario on flickr

From the minute I heard about this whole menopause thing, I thought That’s not for me!

Sweating? Weight gain? Out-of-control moods?

No thanks! I’ll pass!

photo: Melissa Phillippe

photo: Melissa Phillippe

I started the process about six months ago, and everything was going great.

No more periods! No more cramping! No more standing in line to buy tampons even though I look like a guy!

I had taken a vow to myself that menopause would be a breeze for me, and it was. No symptoms whatsoever.

Then two things happened.

First, I went to the doctor for a pap smear.

The pap smear was fine, as fine as anything involving a speculum can be.

speculum done

It was the little chat afterwards that was the problem.

A little chat where the nurse practitioner outlined all the possible symptoms that menopause might bring. Even though I was right in the middle of it and hadn’t had any symptoms yet.

But she had a file in front of her. And we were in a medical office. It was all so official.

That was the first strike.

The second strike was a few days later, when I read an article in Oprah magazine about – you guessed it – all the symptoms of menopause.

Not quite as official as the doctor’s office, but just as authoritative.

It was Oprah! Or, at least, her staff!

Her well-meaning, we-want-to-help-you-in-every-possible-way crew.

A few days after strike two, I had my first hot flash.

Just like that: Oprah and a nurse tag-teamed me, and my body became an unpredictable, home-made sauna.

photo: Kullez on flickr

photo: Kullez on flickr


This went on for a few weeks.

At first, I told myself it wasn’t that bad. There are worse things than being an unpredictable, home-made sauna.

But then I read another statistic. One that said that one in four women never experience hot flashes.

Really? Who knew?

Oprah and the nurse made it sound like everyone gets them. They made it sound like you’re not really a woman unless your body’s thermostat goes haywire and decides that you’re in Florida for a few minutes.

photo: J. C. Montgomery on flickr

photo: J. C. Montgomery on flickr

But one in four women never go to Florida.

I wanted to be one of those women.

That’s when I remembered my vow. I’d been telling myself for years that I was not going to get hot flashes.

And now suddenly I was?! Just because somebody else told me I needed to?!

So I had a little chat with my brain.

Brain¸ I said. You don’t have to do this. Don’t let Oprah and that nurse talk you into doing something you don’t want to do. It’s never been your dream to imitate the state of Florida. Or an unpredictable piece of spa equipment. Now is not the time to make that your dream! It’s not my dream, and it’s not yours either. Got it?

Got it, said my brain.

And just like that, I stopped getting hot flashes.

photo: Melissa Phillippe

photo: Melissa Phillippe

Now, I don’t mean to discount the power of physical methods to reduce or eliminate hot flashes.

There are plenty of them, and before Florida hit, I was already engaging in these preventative measures:

I don’t smoke. I don’t drink coffee or alcohol. I meditate, eat whole foods and exercise regularly.

But I was doing all these things and my body still became a renegade sauna.

Because of the power of suggestion.

photo: Double-M on flickr

photo: Double-M on flickr

I’m not saying that this brain-talking method is going to work for everyone, but I also know I’m not the only one who got talked into a wacky symptom I didn’t need to get.

My brain and I have been down this road before. Chronic back pain. Chronic fatigue.

And now Florida.

The power of the mind to influence the body is just beginning to be fully understood. And when it comes to this whole menopause dealio, I say it’s time to start employing that power!

Yes, there are physical, in-the-world things we can do.

But we can also turn our minds into a Get-Out-Of-Menopause-Free Card!

Whoo hoooo!


What’s your experience with using your mind to heal your body? Share your comments below!

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