How to know if it is a Midlife Crisis, Male Menopause/Andropause?

Is it a Midlife Crisis or Male Menopause/Andropause?

Whenever a man becomes moody, the obvious reasons are always, stress, overworked or just being full of nonsense. When your spouse is under the age of 40 years, this most probable is true, but over the age of 40 years, there might be another reason for this.

Discussing menopause in women is very easy to do. Regular TV and radio interviews and discussions regarding this are being done. My question is however, how many times does the subject of male menopause arise? It is as if this is not a subject that is easily talked about.

To me menopause in men is just as important as in women. If the issue is not addressed, it can also cause distress and underlying problems which will not disappear by itself.

What is male menopause/andropause?

Male menopause, also called andropause, is the decline in a man’s testosterone level.

This means a very gradual testosterone deficiency and an increase in sex hormone-binding globulin(SHBG).

Testosterone is an essential male hormone. Male menopause is common in most men, but studies are still being done to find out why it does not affect all men. From the age of 30 years, testosterone levels drop by about 10% every 10 years.

About one in every ten men between the ages of 40 and 60 has low testosterone.

Why is testosterone important to men?

Testosterone alone is a hormone that has an unique effect on the male body. The production of testosterone takes place in the testes and the adrenal glands.

Testosterone builds protein and is necessary for normal sexual behaviour and because of that producing an erection.

Testosterone also affects other metabolic activities like the production of blood cells in the bone marrow, liver function, prostate gland growth, lipid metabolism, bone formation and carbohydrate metabolism.

Men who have had autoimmune disease or cancer have an increased risk for low testosterone levels.

Is male menopause/andropause the same as menopause in women?

Menopause in men is completely something different to menopause in women.

Menopause in women has to do with the complete decline of sex hormones. Estrogen levels decrease and disappear, causing the loss of fertility.

During menopause in men, they do not loose their fertility completely. The testes, unlike the ovary does not run out of the substance it needs to make testosterone. Testosterone will continue to produce as well as sperm and a man can have children well into his 80s.

Symptoms of female menopause include hot flashes, fatigue and night sweats whereby male menopause includes depression, mood swings, irritability and low libido.

Symptoms of male menopause.

The decline in testosterone lead to:

  • loss of energy and concentration
  • weakness and decrease muscle mass and loss of muscle strength
  • increased upper and central body fat
  • mood swings
  • depression
  • impotence and low sex drive
  • irritability
  • listlessness
  • loss of strength and memory
  • cardiovascular risks
  • Osteoporosis or weak bones and back pain
  • Falling asleep after dinner

How can male menopause be diagnosed?

Usually it is done with blood tests to check testosterone levels. A physical exam will also have to be done by a doctor and symptoms should be discussed.

Treatment options.

Due to the low levels of testosterone, testosterone replacement therapy can be considered as an option. This therapy will relieve the depression, fatigue and decrease libido symptoms. This replacement therapy can be in the form of injections, oral androgens, testosterone time release pellets inserted under the skin or transdermal patches. There however are side effects for example replacing testosterone may worsen prostate cancer.

If you do not consider this therapy root, the natural option can also be considered.

Here are a few options you can follow to boost your testosterone level.

  • Studies have shown that doing weight-lifting exercises like bench presses or back rows increases testosterone.
  • Nuts, canola and olive oil and peanut butter are rich in monounsaturated fat that can increase testosterone levels.
  • Stay away from eating a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. This cramps testosterone levels. Protein intake should be about 16% of your daily calories.
  • Eat healthy, do exercise and loose some weight if needed. Carrying excess body weight is a cause of the decline in testosterone production.
  • Be sure to get adequate rest. A minimum of 7 hours sleep per night. Not enough sleep can harm the production of testosterone.
  • Do not drink more than 3 alcoholic drinks per day. Alcohol stops your testes from producing testosterone.
  • Do not skip meals.
  • Studies show that taking 30mg of Zinc, 450mg of magnesium and 11mg of Vitamin B6 supplements per day can elevate testosterone levels.

Meditation and how to perfect the art of meditating.

The art of Meditation!

 

I took up meditation!!

Just like me, all of you I am sure lead a very hectic lifestyle. The one morning after running around as usual, thinking where the time went and finding the time to get everything done, I decided to do something different. Something to calm myself and to get me centred again.

I decided to take up meditation.

 

What is meditation?

Meditation equals awareness. When you for example listen to birds, you are meditating. Any activity that you do that separates you from any other distraction or thought in your mind, you are effectively meditating. All the activities in the mind should be reduced to one. You are responsible for your own state of mind and how to change it.

The word meditation comes from 2 Latin words; meditari (to exercise the mind or to think) and mederi (to heal).

Meditation is when you go beyond the thinking mind into a deeper state of relaxation or awareness.

Some would say that meditation is only practiced in some religions. This however is not true. Meditation can and is practiced by people of different religions or no religion. Meditation is about the consciousness of the mind, nothing else, religion is of no importance when meditating.

 

For me there are three essential things that should be done before meditating. The correct environment, posture and breathing.

 

The correct environment for your meditation.

Choose a quiet room with no distractions.

Make sure that nobody disturbs you during meditating.

 

Your posture during meditation.

The normal meditation posture is to sit upright with your back straight, normally on a cushion and cross-legged at the shins and position each foot under each knee. If this is difficult, you can sit kneeled or in a chair. If sitting in a chair your feet must tough the ground.

Do not meditate lying down because you will most likely fall asleep.

Place your hands on your legs with palms up or down. The “palms up” position is preferred, because you are then in a receiving mode.

Always close your eyes.

 

Breathing during meditation.

You normally breathe through your nostrils. When meditating you must become aware of the sensation of deep breathing as it enters and leaves the nostrils. Try to concentrate on this. You should repeat this many times until your mind settles on the breath.

When your mind starts wandering of, again start concentrating with your breathing.

 

How long to meditate.

Allow meditation of 3-10 minutes. Most people meditate from 15-30 minutes.

People will say that there is no time to meditate. If you really want to do something, you will make the time to do so. Be patient with yourself when meditating, do not make it time-bound.

Get up earlier or watch 30 minutes less TV.

The best time to meditate is early in the morning or towards the evening, but this also depends on you as a person.

Also try to meditate at the same time every day.

 

 

How to meditate?

Relax and always sit quietly for a while before meditating.

Try to centre yourself and learn to concentrate on something, either the fire of a burning candle, or a dot on a picture.

You can also use mantra. A mantra is the repetition of a sacred word for example “AUM” for a number of times. By doing this you force your mind to focus on a single thought.

You can even listen to words or soft relaxing music when meditating. You must just learn to listen to these words or imagine a picture in your mind when listening to a song.

 

After you have learned to focus on only one thing at a time, you can proceed to the next step; no thoughts at all. When a thought enters your mind, you must learn to throw it out. You must try and achieve a silent mind, which is not very easy to do and takes a lot of practice. You will find that you will not achieve this the first few times of meditation.

 

In time you will feel peace, calmness and serenity. You will still hear sounds around you, but this will not interfere with your meditation.

Meditation is a self-care activity, giving personal attention to you. When your mind, body and spirit work together, you will have balanced thoughts and awareness.

 

After you take charge of your distracting thoughts and your mind becoming still, you will experience a feeling of happiness and well-being that will help you cope with the difficulties and stress of your daily life.

 

Meditation will also help you with;

Tension, reduces stress and improve your concentration level. You will feel more productive and in control of any situation that comes your way.

By reducing your stress levels, positive health benefits will follow for example with chronic diseases, allergies, headaches, obesity, insomnia, muscle tensions, high blood pressure and many more.

You will have a clearer understanding of your inner self and therefore you will build self-confidence.

 

Because of the positive effect meditation has on people, more and more people turn to meditation as their daily boost. Meditation can not cure illness, but somehow because of that inner relaxing peace it creates, it somehow makes a huge difference. There definitely is a link between our state of mind and physical health.

The real power of being positive!

The real Power of being Positively Positive!

 

I always considered myself as a positive person. I always try, no matter what the circumstances are, to see the positive side of things. For me there is always a reason why things happen the way they do. I might not see the reason immediately, maybe in a year’s time I’ll look back and think: “Oh, now I understand” and be glad of the way my circumstances turned out.

 

Positive and negative are directions. Which direction do you choose? –Remez Sasson-

 

It is very difficult for all, due to unforeseen and unwanted circumstances, to accept positivity and think positively. People always tend to ask, why me? To ask this in itself is a negative thought. I agree that it is not easy. Before I read: “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, I also could not understand why positive thoughts can change the way you look at your life and how you will then, except this and always manage to go on living with a positive feeling. I will discuss later on the Law of attraction versus positive thinking and a positive mind.

 

What are positive thoughts?

When something bad happens to you, it is almost second nature for people to say: “Stay positive and think positive”. People tend to not take these words seriously, nor do they know what it really, really means and how potent these words can be if applied correctly.

 

In order to change your thoughts you need to change your attitude and always be optimistic.

Believe me if I say that your change to positive thoughts and attitude do not happen overnight. It takes a lot of talking to your inner self whenever you feel negative.

 

The first think I always do when something negative happens to me and I feel or think a negative thought, is to sit back and think of something nice, whether it is my favourite song or movie. You must try to immediately delete that negativity from your mind. The power is to not just think positive, but to really feel the positivity in your inner being. This makes the difference and this is what will bring positive circumstances back to you.

 

Norman Vincent Peale says: “Change your thoughts and change your world”.

 

In order to fully understand and apply positive thinking to your daily life, it is important to look at the full picture.  Let’s start with the Law of Attraction.

 

What is the Law of Attraction?

This Law states that the thoughts of people (conscious and unconscious) dictate the reality of their lives. It simply means that “if you really want something and truly believe it’s possible, you’ll get it”, but be careful. If you put a lot of thought onto something you don’t want means you’ll probably get that too. You attract into your life whatever you think about.

The reality is that there is only one consciousness, you are that singular consciousness and everything and everyone in your reality happens because of your thoughts.

 

This is to me where positive thought come into play. If you think positive thoughts, positive things will come your way, but if you think negative thoughts, negative things will come your way.

 

We all know that the scientific Law of attraction states that what goes “up” must come “down”, and so the Law of attractions also states that what you “think” about and “feel” about, will come true, irrespective whether the result is good or bad. Thoughts are things. Your thoughts, what you believe and your feelings are real.

Being persistent, you will in time teach your mind to think positively and ignore negative thoughts. Bear in mind that the Law of attraction it not a way of getting rich quickly without doing anything.

 

If you would like to start applying the Law of attraction to your life, you will sometimes, just like I have experiences, feel as if you think positively about what you want, but still in the long run don’t achieve the results. You then become negative because you are not seeing the wanted results.

Here are a few steps that I have also applied in my life, not to fall into the grip of negative thoughts.

 

You need to have total motivation and commitment if you want to achieve the goal you set for yourself.

  • Learn to recognize and use an opportunity if and when it arises.
  • You must take the necessary steps. Do not wait for luck to fall from the sky. You must work hard for your desires if you want it to materialize. Stay focussed, visualize and be willing to do physical word to achieve results.
  • Always create a feeling of hope and excitement for yourself.
  • Appreciate what you already have. By doing this you will already feel good even if you strive for more.
  • Always be aware of your feelings. Feeling bad you move away from what you want, feeling good you move towards what you want. Always boost your self esteem.

 

You need Optimism if you want positive thoughts!

“The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.” –James Branch Cabell-

 

I always use this simple explanation if someone asks me what an optimist is. You should recognize this.

Take a glass and fill it up, only half-way. Now! Will you say the glass is half full or half empty? If you are optimistic then your answer would be, “Half full”, being pessimistic your answer will be, Half empty”. The philosophic explanation, “full” as positive, “empty” as negative.

Ø       An optimist does not always assume the worst, they look for the light at the end of the tunnel.

Ø       Do not think about what is happening to you, but how to make it happen the way you want it to.

Ø       An optimist evaluates a situation, looks at possibilities on how to improve, sets new goals and moves on.

 

Stay motivated with positive thinking.

A positive mind equals happiness, joy, good health and achieving success with every situation and action. You will not be able to achieve anything if you are not motivated enough. Staying motivated by means of positive thinking go hand in hand, The one can not be successful without the other.

 

Lou Holtz has a very clear explanation. He says: “Ability is what you are capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it”.

 

Ø       Avoid pessimists, cynical people and people who always complain. Do not let them drag you down to their level. If you allow this, your motivation will disappear.

Ø       Be friends with exiting and active people. You will never be bored and most of all you will stay motivated.

Ø       Dream about your future, this always keeps me motivated.

Ø       By thinking and being clear about your goal, writing it down and reading articles about the subjects of your goal, will keep you motivated and determined.

Ø       Always think of solutions, not problems.

Ø       Think about what you have achieved and done, and not what you haven’t achieved yet.

Ø       Be happy and smile as often as possible.