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Tips for Stress Management with MS

By Daryl H. Bryant (608 words)
Posted in MS Book News on February 6, 2014

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Tips for Stress Management with MS

New studies have indicated that patients with Multiple Sclerosis can reduce their symptoms and even slow down the progression of the disease by learning how to reduce their levels of stress. While the knowledge that stress contributes to health problems is not new, its relevance to MS is less-known. According to WebMD, David C. Mohr, PhD studied the effects of stress on Multiple Sclerosis by enrolling patients in a six month program to reduce their stress. The results indicated that during their stress management therapy sessions, each patient had fewer brain lesions and the progression of the disease slowed down. Once the therapy sessions ended and patients returned to their regular lifestyles, the improvements that the patients experienced also ended, indicating that a more permanent reduction in stress was needed. By implementing some simple stress management techniques into your day, you may be able to reduce your symptoms and live a more harmonious life style.

Identify All Sources of Stress

Needless to say, Multiple Sclerosis alone can be a large stress factor for you. However, there are most likely various other aspects in your life that are a source of frustration, many of which may not be obvious. Pay attention to how you feel throughout the day and look closely at your reactions to the stress. Make a list of everything that stresses you out and don’t be surprised if it is longer than you expected.

Redefine Stressors

Look through the list and cross out everything on it that you cannot control. For example, you have no control over things like heavy traffic or long lines. Spend a few minutes mentally letting those bothersome things go and choosing to use those delays to your benefit in the future. Spend that extra 10 minutes in traffic meditating or use the time you wait in line to do something fun like play a game on your phone. Think of these moments as breaks rather than stress factors.

Make a Plan

The inability to control negative sitatuions is often the root of stress for some people. For example, if you are in debt, you may stay up at night worrying about it. Instead of losing sleep and contributing to the progression of MS, sit down and make a plan. There is nothing that you can do in the moment to get rid of that debt, but you may feel relaxed when you know that you have a plan in place to pay it off. If you have something in your life that you cannot make a plan for, then focus on the present day. Do not let your mind wander to the future because that will only worry you. Focus on the positive things in the present rather than the negative things in the future that may not even come to fruition.

Avoid Unnecessary Stress

It is very important that you make yourself a priority. You should be doing everything it takes to create a calm and peaceful environment. This may mean that you need to make some drastic changes to your lifestyle or just some small ones.

Learn to turn people down when they ask you to do things that you simply don't have time for. Stop spending time around negative people that drag you down or treat you badly. Set up ground rules at home if you have kids that are causing problems. Start asking for help when you need it. You will probably be surprised at how many people are willing to assist. Only you have control over your own life, so create a life that is stress free. 

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