Hot Flashes and Self-compassion



Me in Steam

Cliff took this picture of me in front of a steamy fountain on our wedding anniversary. I thought it was a good way to introduce an article on hot flashes. Thanks to blog reader Claire for sending the article my way.


Click on the article, written by Dr. Allison Bond, here.

Dr. Bond reports on a study conducted by Lydia Brown, a doctoral student in psychology in Australia. Brown researched hot flashes in 206 Australian women. She writes: “It isn’t just the physiology of a hot flash that can be stressful. It is also the thoughts, feelings and interpretations that surround the experience.”

Brown suggests: “In the midst of a hot flash, rather than thinking oh no, here we go again, a self-compassionate alternative would be to think it’s OK; I am there for you in this moment of suffering.”

Interesting. I might prefer: “I’m here for you with a cold glass of chardonnay,” or “Just survive this, and I’ll take you to the mall and buy you something festive!”

Another of Brown’s suggestions is mindfulness.

Live with the heat of the flash, but don’t pass judgement on it. In my words, that means don’t say to yourself, “I’m hot as Hades” or “Help. I’ve tumbled into a volcano!” Say upbeat, reassuring things like, “You’re my bosom buddy, hot flash!”

I don’t have hot flashes so I can’t try out Lydia Brown’s theory. But I’d love for those of you who do to give this technique a try. Let us know if you can make friends with a hot flash!

13 responses »

  1. I usually just tell myself that in 4 minutes the hot flash will be a distant memory. Or totally forgotten. But I almost never have them and when I do they are mild. So some stronger self talk might be in order if I actually knew what night sweats are.

  2. I will try to be positive and inviting to my hot flashes. Oh wait, no. It is a power struggle with the hot flash winning and me yelling why can’t they come when I need them like when I am outside! Oh wait, it is gone now. Oh sweet hot flash, just doesn’t roll off my lips!

  3. I do have them, but luckily they soon pass (here in the UK they are called hot flushes by the way). One thing I am glad about is that at least nowadays we don’t have to hide the fact that we are having them (unlike my mothers generation) – but then that’s true of a lot of so called ‘women’s problems’

  4. I only had a few. My son in law (a doctor/scientist) suggested I eat something orange several times a day. It worked for me.
    I am definitely working on mindfulness.

  5. How on earth can you or this guest poster relate to those of us who have multiple hot flashes day and night and have for many years? They are much worse than having a period once a month. I would take that anyday.

    • I can’t relate at all as I never had them. (I had a few after my cancer surgery but they didn’t last long). I don’t really know if the article I linked to is helpful or not, but I thought it was a take worth posting in case it was useful to someone. First resource for hot flash help is your doctor, of course.

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