Beginners Guide to MS

Multiple Sclerosis: Stress

Multiple Sclerosis and Stress

"Stress seemed to keep me going so I always made sure I had something simmering away in the background keeping me on my toes. It would work for a while but it would always end up wearing me down before I could accomplish anything."

Stress and multiple sclerosis seem at times to go hand in hand. Studies have shown that stressful life events can trigger exacerbations in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (rrms). Some additional studies appear to indicate a high correlation between stress and the development of multiple sclerosis.

This means that it is important to recognize the role that stress can play in your life.

Clearly, it is impossible to avoid stress completely; however, it is not impossible to limit your exposure to stress and equally as important, to modify your responses to stressful situations.

Limiting your exposure to stress

To try to crystallize how you can limit your exposure to stress, ask yourself the following questions:

  • "Am I a perfectionist?"
  • "Do I set unattainable goals for myself?"
  • "Do I push myself beyond my limits?"

Sound familiar? If you answered 'yes' to any of the above, then you are adding unnecessary stress to your life. Stress which can easily be avoided.

You must make the choice. Only you know when you are increasing your stress levels unnecessarily and only you can make the choice not to do so.

Dusting and polishing can wait. So can vacuuming the carpet, getting to the shops, finishing the decorating in a day, or any of the thousand other things I'm sure you can think of, that if you take a mental step backwards from the situation, you realize can wait.

Stress Management

Many people find that performing yoga helps them to be better able to manage stress. Some studies have found that people who use yoga as a means of relaxation, have less cognitive dysfunction than those who do nothing to manage stress.

Whether you choose yoga, or some other means of relaxation, such as listening to your favorite music, gentle exercises, or some other hobby, what is most important regarding stress management, is that you make some time for yourself.

Not yourself getting the ironing finished. Not yourself finishing the decorating. Making time for yourself is just that. Even if it is only 20 minutes out of every day, a little relaxation time reserved exclusively for you will help prevent stress building up and causing problems.

Getting out of the trench

"Huh? What trench?" I hear you ask.

'Getting out of the trench' refers to all of the habits you have developed over the years which have ensured you have difficulty letting go of stress. Those little things you do to keep your stress levels up.

There was a time when keeping your stress levels up was advantageous to you because it helped you to get the job done or gave you the drive to push through the weariness. Sometimes the only way to get things done was to ensure that your stress levels were high.

As a coping mechanism, you have learned to artificially enhance your levels of stress.

This was in the past. Habits you have unconsciously developed over the years to counteract fatigue or brain fog; or both.

These little habits and techniques, which you have so carefully, if unknowingly, developed throughout your life, run very deep. Your position is entrenched in old habits.

Which is why you must make a conscious effort to keep clear of entrenched old habits. That way, you avoid pushing yourself to break-point instead of waiting until you have already reached it.

If you need help to relax, try my relaxation technique.

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