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4 Mindfulness Techniques that Melt Stress & Reduce MS Symptoms

By Daryl H. Bryant (738 words)
Posted in Multiple Sclerosis on November 6, 2020

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4 Mindfulness Techniques that Melt Stress & Reduce MS Symptoms

Studies suggest that 85% of MS symptoms are related to day-to-day stressors. One of the easiest ways to reduce your symptoms is to reduce the stress in your life.

While you might not be able to remove all of the things that build tension in your life, you can reduce stress by changing how you feel about them. A change of perspective is often enough to make your body release less stress hormones and increase the “feel good” ones. 

Before we get started, I would like to walk you through what stress is and how it impacts your body so that you can better understand how mediation will work for you.

Stress Hormones 

There is a cocktail of hormones that our bodies release when we are feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed. Cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline are all responsible for our fight or flight responses. Here’s what these hormones do to our bodies:

  • Constrict airways 

  • Increase breathing rate

  • Increase muscle tension

  • Tension head-aches/migraines

  • Increase heart rate and blood pressure

While these physiological responses are necessary in life-threatening situations, when we experience these feelings for days on end, it really wears us down. 

For reasons we don’t yet understand, the persistent pressure of ongoing stress causes reactions in the immune system that are related to MS flare ups.

How can we cope with building stress when we can’t remove the triggers from our lives? Well, we change how we think about them using mindfulness and meditation. 

What is Meditation? 

Meditation isn’t some mystical practice used only by enlightenment gurus. Regular people just like you and me can use it successfully to help reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, and thereby mitigate our MS symptoms.  

We can use mindfulness and meditation to increase overall well-being and achieve mental balance.  

When I meditate, I find that it helps me feel more centered, present, and self aware. These feelings help to put a new perspective on the situations in my life that are wearing me down. 

With regular meditation, I am better able to let go of negative thoughts and feel more positive about myself and my situation

An increase in positive feelings makes my body produce endorphins, “feel good hormones,” instead of stress hormones. Endorphins are natural painkillers that help my muscles relax, lower my heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate. 

In my own life, I have noticed these changes with regular meditation and mindfulness practice:  

  • Improved sleep 

  • Increased mind/body relaxation 

  • Decreased feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression

  • Decreased body aches and pain

Mindfulness Techniques You Can Use Anywhere

There are a variety of meditation approaches that you can use, making finding the one that fits your needs and lifestyle easy. 

I’m going to share with you 4 ways you can start practicing mindfulness and meditation today. 

All of these techniques listed below from the Mayo Clinic can be used at any time you feel stress building. 

  1. Be present: Use your senses to pause the chaos in your life to experience the world around you. Feel the breeze on your skin. Take time to taste and enjoy your meal. Listen for pleasant sounds like birds singing. Try to acknowledge and experience all 5 senses. This can help ground you and feel more centered. 

  2. Be grateful: Try to find happiness and fulfillment in the simple things. Personally, I start each day by acknowledging three things I’m thankful for. This practice of appreciating what I have, instead of what I don’t, does wonders for my emotional wellbeing.

  3. Seek out nature: Whether you experience nature by going on a hike, opening a window and watching the trees move in the breeze, or looking at nature photos and videos on your phone, appreciating nature is a wonderful mindfulness technique to help eliminate stress.

  4. Focus on your breathing: When you feel overwhelmed or start to experience negative thoughts, instead of fixating on those, focus on your breathing. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breath as it comes and goes. Breath deeply and let those negative feelings go with each exhale. 


You can use these techniques anywhere you are and at any moment, reducing stress before it even has a chance to build. I often find myself doing one of these 4 techniques several times throughout the day to find inner peace. When I am managing my stress well, I can also manage my MS flare ups. 

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