Culture

cultureThe culture in which you live may impact on your experience of menopause and ageing just as it may determine your lifestyle to a large extent.

In some cultures a woman’s life is likely to involve much more physical activity and/or will traditionally have a diet that contains more plant oestrogens which may decrease the frequency of hot flushes.

In Australia the average life expectancy for women is about 83 years. As a result, a large proportion of women will live almost a third of their lives after menopause. For indigenous women however, the picture is unfortunately very different. The Australian Bureau of Statistics current projection for 1996-2004, shows the life expectancy for indigenous women is 64.8 years. For these women health issues are related to the problems of heart disease, diabetes and respiratory diseases and menopause may have less relevance.

However, perhaps the most important influence a culture has on a woman’s experience of menopause is in the way the culture views women and the importance of their fertility and its attitude in general to ageing.

In Asian cultures, menopause is regarded as a natural event and women are not apprehensive of its onset.

Occasionally, in some cultures, this time of life can bring an almost mystical status, as postmenopausal women are thought to possess healing and supernatural powers. Alternatively, in a youth orientated society, it may be seen only in terms of losses.

What can you do to support your emotional health and well-being?

Along with your own tried and true techniques you can use some of the strategies and coping skills here.

  • Keep a diary of your thoughts and feelings.
  • Identify and challenge negative thoughts about yourself.
  • Learn and practice relaxation techniques.
  • Make a list of your positive strengths and attributes.
  • Take time out to do something special.
  • Increase your physical activity.
  • Eat a balanced diet and eat regularly.
  • Set aside time to problem solve.
  • Identify your role/s and whether changes and additions need to be made.
  • Talk to trusted friends, partners and family members.
  • Seek further support from a trusted health practitioner.

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