As a MS patient one of the most important things I am learning about my disease is how to manage my stress and anxiety. Very broad topic, yes? This is crucial for me because being diagnosed and learning about my illness, "stress" is the number one trigger of MS. So, I was told.. "Don't stress." Yeaaah, easier said than done right?!
I am the type of person who always worries, I always gave myself something to stress about even if it may be the same repetitive reasons. I put myself in these positions even if sometimes it didn't personally pertain to me (that's what I get for having a big heart) and it felt like it never seemed to end. I kind of wish I was a little more careless at times, but that isn't like me. I constantly sweat the small stuff. But I can definitely say that stress has affected me in a way that I didn't even seem was harmful at the time but I guess it was. Ironic to be diagnosed with a disease associated with stress, so vague. I did not even know that was possible.. Stress is an emotion that happens naturally. "Don't stress?" .. How can you not stress!? Imagine being told you have an autoimmune disease.. automatic stress! We were never taught this.. how to manage stress. Personally, I just lived through the stress. I never really thought that I needed to handle it in any particular way. I would have my episodes of stress and anxiety, the next i'd move passed it by trying to forget it even happened and go on with life. I'm sure this happens to many of us.. go through it then try to forget.
I am currently trying to practice healthy ways of handling my stress and anxiety but most importantly I want to share how critical it is to remember to love yourself and be kind to your body. Stress is a strong emotion. Almost anything and everything can lead to stressors in life by what you experience daily or the situations you are placed in or maybe even just your thoughts. You can't avoid it, but you can control the way you react to it. Which is something I am currently trying to learn. Yes.. be mad, sad or disappointed. It is ok, you are allowed to feel these things. However, the constant heavy stress you put yourself through does take affect on your body and for me, my brain. I also can’t over exert myself, which is another factor stress brings. Along with "anxiety" you can feel anxious in excitement or anxious in the terms of being nervous. As you can see it all relates somehow. Your body reacts to how you treat yourself. Being stressed and having anxiety is a definite strain on the body if it is not approached in a healthy manner. I know what I am preaching is cliché to say... but it's true. We know stress isn’t good. But do we ever approach it with complete fullness as to why it is bad? We don't often practice healthy mental habits in stressful times, we are quick to react or maybe even over-react.
Generally speaking, I can't stress this enough (no pun intended) but I strongly encourage managing stress in a healthy way for the sake of your well-being. I am not trying to enforce my opinions or scare anyone.. However, I am sharing this experience because personally, I wish I knew this needed to be done sooner and had enforced this mentality in my lifestyle. I am still trying to figure out ways to calm and relax me. Because your body is listening & responding, so.. “be kind to yourself" & because life is stressful, period. I understand this is not something that can be perfected or mastered but I know, i’ll always have my stressful moments..it is just a matter of taking it a day at a time.
To be completely honest, since being diagnosed there is not a day that goes by where I feel bad about how I've been harming my body unintentionally..it's a horrible feeling. I know it's never too late but I do wish I loved myself more. I am currently learning to manage & cope with my stress and anxiety through mindful habits. Something I should have focused more on & it is also teaching me to take better care of myself overall. Strange to say but Multiple Sclerosis is teaching me all of these things...
A friendly reminder on how to reduce stress:
- Stay in the present.
- Don't over analyze.
- Accept that there is only so much that can be done
- Trust in something bigger than yourself.
- Find beauty in everything.
- Remember to not let stress or anxiety make up who you are.
I also try/want to incorporate the following:
- Eat healthier, that's another factor on the body.
- Breathing exercises/meditation apps.
- Find your hobbies: Blogging has always been a good therapeutic outlet for me.
- Read more books.
I hope you have a wonderful, stress-free week ahead !! :)
How do you manage your stress? I would love to read your comments.