What? Inner Peace and PMS!!!
Those two sets of words and letters don’t typically go together!!
For nearly my entire life, I’ve flat out denied the phenomena of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome. Or shall we just call it, the beloved (or is it wretched) PMS?
For decades, I colluded with the male population saying, “It’s simply in women’s heads.”
Surely any woman with a little grit and self-discipline could “mind over matter” this monthly disruption of hormones. No big deal. Right?
More than minimizing the disruptive PMS experiences of other women, I DENIED it in myself. After all, who wants to admit that you’re even temporarily insane for a day or two each month? Who enjoys admitting to the moments where you want to scream at the top of your lungs or crawl under a rock to die?
Who wants to admit that every worldly demand is magnified by a factor of 100 and compounded together into an illogical, emotional mush-pile? And, who wants to admit that an invisible set of hormones is hijacking your body, imploding it with gut-wrenching pain and a massive deflation of productive energy?
Certainly, not I.
Perhaps, I’m not alone.
It might actually be worse for those of us in the professional services industry, since we’re supposed to KNOW better – and have it all together, all the time.
But again…that’s probably the PMS pity-party talking.
Many a time, I’ve asked my significant other to place his fist into my belly with full force and hold it there. Ah, true ecstasy to be free of throbbing pain. (Has any one else tried that? It’s very nice, assuming you haven’t had any surgeries in that area lately.)
But, I digress.
In recent years, I started paying closer attention to those emotional roller-coaster rides.
What was influencing it all?
In the past, I assumed – as perhaps countless other highly intelligent women do – that “external factors” were indeed the malicious culprits triggering such emotional outbursts. Wasn’t I justified to react this way?
Surely, my husband was apathetic and insensitive. “Did I make a mistake in marrying him? And, why is he less attractive to me now? Why can’t he simply read my mind and tune into my needs….NOW!!??”
Other times, I would turn the sword and harsh words on myself.
(I hope you don’t do this to yourself.)
When PMS is flying high, I start questioning my professional aspirations. I might even stoop to staying horrid things like, “What a loser I am. Who was I to think I could realize these lofty goals? I’m not motivated in the slightest bit, right now. In fact, I’m ready to throw all these projects down the toilet.”
Maybe you’ve heard one of your girlfriends go down this degrading path.
If you’re a man reading this — you may not relate personally. BUT, you now have insight into the internal dialog of your otherwise normal, delightful and energetic girlfriend or wife.
I’m telling you…they can’t help it.
I can’t help it.
As much as I’d like to pretend it’s all about the “weight of the world” or a deficient man, family, dog, house, child or president — it’s REALLY not about all that.
Yet, there is something very REAL about hormones, and the orchestra playing within the body.
What causes PMS?
Fluctuations in the balance between estrogen and progesterone may be one of the causes of PMS. And, one hormonal fluctuation can set off a myriad of symptoms.
”Estrogen excesses, progesterone deficiencies, Vitamin B6 deficiencies, low levels of serotonin (a brain chemical), an excess of prolactin (a protein hormone that induces lactation), and altered glucose metabolism are among the many different theories that attempt to explain PMS, but none have been proven. “
I found some useful explanations at http://www.coolnurse.com/pms.htm
They also mention that calcium deficiencies may exasperate the situation. I’m going to try the suggested 1200 mg of calcium to see if this elevates some of the mood swings.
So, exactly where does “inner peace” fit in to PMS days?
Glad you asked — particularly because I’m writing this “in the middle” of one of my lovely PMS days, and I haven’t reached for the Motrin just yet.
The following Six Questions can be used ANY time you find yourself in a less than peaceful state of being. That includes PMS.
An important “inner peace principle” is this…
Inner Peace is largely about embracing reality.
And, when a reality such PMS pops into our existence…we have a choice.
Choice #1: To RESIST like crazy, wishing that God or some primordial being would magically eradicate your symptoms instantaneously, while morphing your husband’s otherwise perfect personality.
Choice #2: We can embrace the reality of PMS.
I’m not saying this is easy. If you’re a high-achieving woman, then being forced to the sidelines isn’t exactly your idea of a good time.
Introducing… “The Inner Peace Reality Check”
Let’s start by examining the reality of PMS (as humiliating as it is to be possessed by hormones, emotions and other illogical mentations.)
Question #1 – What’s the reality of the situation?
The reality is this…there is a cocktail of hormones, minerals and body chemicals that are temporarily out of balance. This imbalance may be depleting your energy, causing you physical pain, distorting your thoughts and amplifying emotion (typically not the pleasant ones.) That’s the reality of it.
The other reality… is this: Your body (and hopefully mine, right now) is working its way back to equilibrium.
The nature of reality is always moving back to balance and harmony. Good to know. Even better to “remember” when PMS is alive and kicking.
Question #2 – What am I RESISTING?
Whenever we’re NOT at peace, we are resisting something. And, most of the time, we’re not conscious of what we’re actually resisting. There is power is recognizing what we are resisting. It helps us return to “inner peace” more quickly.
In the case of PMS, I am resisting the physical pain, depleted energy, and the surge of irrational and irritable emotions.
Seems almost natural to resist, right?
But, let’s explore further.
Question #3 – What if I (or you) keep resisting?
Well, in my experience, if I resist PMS, that means I believe (with all certainty) that the problems are outside of me. This leads to picking unnecessary fights, saying things I wish I could retract later, and other irrational behavior. When I resist PMS, I try to keep “working” through it…and am less productive in the end. It’s like running on a treadmill…without getting anywhere. I get easily irritated.
If I keep resisting, I remain locked in a victim state of mind, and forget I’m at choice. If I keep resisting, I become more and more miserable.
What happens when YOU resist PMS? And, what have you observed in others who are resisting?
Question #4 – What can I appreciate about the situation?
What can I appreciate about PMS!!!?!? Hmmm. This is a rather annoying question if you’re having a PMS moment.
But, let’s play along.
Well, having PMS is a good excuse to up the ante on self-care; to give myself a mini time-out; an opportunity for rest; to let my husband rub my neck.
Heavens knows, that I, WE, you… can benefit from a monthly break. Whether that is minutes, an hour or a full day.
Question #5 – What are my options?
First, there are the obvious, impulsive and instinctual responses for options. Scream, find someone to yell at, cry, have a pity party, take inventory of everything on your to-do list that you haven’t yet accomplished, make someone else wrong or simply pout.
Interesting, these seem like “reasonable” options sometimes.
There are always WAY more options than we first realize.
So, what are my options?
1. I could lie on the floor or bed and simply breathe, allowing my body to rest — aligning with the reality that is.
2. I could indulge myself in any self-care practice: Bubble baths, Jacuzzis, manicures and pedicures, a massage or facial, curling up with a good book, calling a girlfriend, quiet time, exercise, TIVO time or healthy chocolate.
In other words, clearing the calendar of to-do’s. What a fine idea.
3. I’ve found that taking 15 minutes to embrace the reality of the onslaught of emotions was enough to recalibrate my emotions in time to lead a live conference call.
4. In a word – simply “surrender.”
This morning I inched my way into dangerous territory with my husband. I was compelled to point out the recent list of his notable flaws. By lunchtime, I was tiring of my performance. It was time to surrender to the reality of PMS, once again, hijacking my body without written permission.
I humbly acknowledged my own pitiful state of PMS possession.
From this sincere surrendering, I could pathetically beg for one day (or two days maximum) of pardon. I could humbly ask my husband to simply become Mr. Overly Sensitive. And, I could acknowledge that he was actually pretty darn perfect the other 28 days of the month.
By acknowledging and aligning with the tumultuous emotions, we can reduce damage and maximize self-care and nurturing.
And, there are even more options…
5. Physically, there are pain remedies to take, including calcium supplementation.
6. And, one of my favorites is simply remembering…”all is well.”
Question #6: What will I consciously choose?
It’s not enough to explore choices, it’s about consciously acting.
Hmmm. I think I’ll opt for a walk at the beach, some meditation and indulging in the Summer Olympics tonight. And, if I position my request sweetly (or desperately) enough, maybe my husband will indulge me in a back massage.
Funny…those silly cramps seem to be diminishing already.
NOTE: I’ll be writing more about the Inner Peace Reality Check Process in future blog articles. But, feel free to pull out those six annoying questions if you find yourself stressed, frustrated or otherwise resisting life, and want to return to inner peace NOW.