Stress is part of everyday life. The diagnosis of MS — with its complex array of unpredictable symptoms and uncertain future, can sometimes make the stress of daily life feel overwhelming. Many people with MS say they experience more and/or worse symptoms during stressful times; when the stress abates, their symptoms seem less troubling or less severe.
Learning to eliminate unnecessary stressors — and manage the ones that are here to stay — is essential for staying on an even keel emotionally.
A range of strategies are available to help manage stress. You may need to try several different techniques before you find what works for you. Make and healthy, positive plans that reduce stressful feelings and support your overall health and well-being — for example meditation, relaxation exercises, individual or team sports, journaling, hobbies, time with family and friends — while avoiding or reducing behaviors that are harmful, such as smoking, eating or drinking to excess, or using other substances.
Practice solution-focused problem-solving
Life’s challenges and problems can mount too quickly or feel too big to handle. People who approach these challenges as opportunities for creative problem solving are known to cope more successfully: they are more resilient (you can be too!
). With each success, feelings of competence, pride and self-confidence grow stronger and contribute to emotional well-being.