Stress Management

I thought today was the perfect opportunity to jump on the stress topic.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always struggled with stress management. I remember sitting in my neurologist’s office a few years after diagnosis, struggling to manage the heaviness of MS. He was a pioneer in the MS field, he even worked with Dr. Swank directly, and by the time he was my doctor, he’d been treating MS patients for about 45 years. 

We sat and talked about stress and he finally turned to me and said, “Carolyn, you’re a type A personality, which isn’t surprising… most people with MS are.” 

It was probably a random thought to him, but it stuck in my brain for years, even after he passed away. Why would so many people with MS have a similar personality type? What’s the connection? 

I started studying stress management and put the tools to practice… and soon after, everything became easier. Every action we take comes from a thought first, but if our thoughts are overwhelming and scary, and negative, it’s tough to take positive and clear action!

The way you think is the answer to healing the body, which is why the OMS group spent so much time talking about it at the symposium we all attended. 

Could it be that Stress Management (SM) is truly the reverse of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?

Considering that I’m completely symptom free for multiple months now, I have to say, I sure believe so. 

There are multiple ways to manage stress…. 

  • Deep belly breathing (make sure your belly expands)
  • Keep a journal of things you’re grateful for 
  • Stretch/practice yoga
  • Take a walk in nature
  • Spend 5 minutes a day focusing on the present moment
  • Turn off the TV/Enjoy silence
  • Eat an unprocessed anti inflammatory diet (physical stress counts too!) 
Burnout is REAL. Even though it seems awkward to slow down, it’s the most important thing you can do to align your thoughts with your actions and start healing your body. 
Do you have a stress management practice? What do you do? 
With love & light,
Carolyn Kaufman

Inspirational Writer, Speaker, and Health Coach.

How To Manage Stress

by Carolyn Kaufman

We’ve all been there. You’re feeling alright, something stressful happens and before you know it, you’re having an MS attack.

It’s a commonality among MS patients (and realistically, patients of most chronic illnesses), which is why it’s so important to look at.

Stress is major contributing factor to illness and obesity. Both eastern and western practitioners agree (which is rare all in itself!) that stress can affect our health, but no one talks about how to manage it!

I wrote a blog post on it recently (click here to read), but I wanted to give you the short version.

You see, it comes down to breathing, but not JUST breathing.

Becoming cognizant of the breath and making sure you’re getting full deep inhales (let your chest, ribs, and belly expand) and then full deep exhales (let your belly, ribs, and then chest contract).

That type of “deep belly breathing” chemically takes you out of your sympathetic nervous system (your fight or flight) and transfers your into a state of homeostasis, your parasympathetic nervous system.

This transfer allows you to burn fat instead of sugar, reduce inflammation, think clearly, and digest food properly.

This method is 100% free, you don’t have to carry anything to do it, and starting your day with even just 1 minute of this type of breathing will carry benefits for you.

Don’t be afraid to start slow and build. This type of breathing will help you stay calm and focused, something we could all use a little help with!

And don’t forget, this is just one small tool in a very large toolbox… What do you do for stress management?

Carolyn Kaufman is a writer, speaker, and health coach. You can find out more about her at www.WithoutTheWeight.com

Just Exercise!

I’ve been told recently by several people that they have witnessed my overcoming my MS through a positive mindset, a healthy diet and daily exercise.  They believe that exercise has made the most significant difference.  I agree 100%. With the possible exception of eliminating dairy from my diet, which may have had an equal effect, exercise has been the one thing that has made a tremendous difference.  I exercise daily!  Whether it is riding my recumbent bike, resistance training at the gym, walking a half a mile in the pool with resistance paddles or just stretching, any muscle movement helps.

Move or lose it!  I don’t want to lose the progress that I have made.  If you have MS, you need to at least stretch EVERY DAY!  Even just stretch in the morning in bed or while watching TV.  You need to keep your neuropathways working as best as you can.  Don’t over exert or hurt yourself , but just move your muscles.

Enjoy your day,

Ray

Insist on MRIs of your spine!

Happy Wednesday,

When I got my first MRI of my brain in 2008, it showed no lesions so the questioned MS.  The MS activity was in my spine!

I was speaking at a MS event last night and only a couple of people had ever had an MRI of their spine.  This is ludicrous because your spine is part of your nervous system.  I have also learned that men with MS tend to have more lesions in their spine.  Next time you get your MRI, have the Dr. order one of your cervical & thoracic spine as well!

Enjoy your day,

Ray

MS doesn’t have to be so isolating!

Happy Tuesday,

I recently spent a day with friends that moved to Atlanta, Ga over 25 years ago.  We hooked up on Facebook.  They were up here visiting my friend Chips Family.  It was like we remained in contact.  They learned that I had MS & were more concerned about me going sailing on Long Island Sound than me.  What they realized was that I’m still the same person & our friendship resumed.

You are the same person you always were, so MS has made you adjust, OK, so what.  Reach out to friends & family and let them know that even though you may have limitations, you are still you.

Enjoy your day,

Ray

Going ALL IN!

Happy Sunday,

I have be watching Teri Jaklin’s videos on managing your MS.  Teri is a Naturopathic & Functional Medicine Doctor who has MS.  What I have learned most is that doing a little bit, doing part way or cutting down is not enough.  I eliminated dairy 100% one year ago.  Best thing I ever did for my MS.  Teri also recommends eliminating gluten & sugar as well.  December 1, I eliminate gluten 100%.  January 1, I eliminate sugar 100% .  My wife asked how will I live?  I responded probably better than ever!  This won’t be easy, but I’ll keep you updated.

Enjoy your day,

Ray

People with MS going on Ocrevus

Happy Wednesday,

Speaking with 7 people who have gone on the new DMT, they’re are all happy.  With the exception of 1, all are saying they feel better about 30 days after the second infusion.  Going to several presentations on Ocrevus, I learned that the drug targets your B cells instead of your T cells & it is pronounced the same as the vegetable okra.

Enjoy your day,

Ray

Exercise with MS

Happy Wednesday,

The entire MS community is promoting the importance of regular exercise to help your MS.  This is physical, mental & social.

I have given talks attended by people who are in chairs or walkers.  They claim they cannot exercise until I break out a can of soup & necktie.  They can raise their arms & do curls with the soup while watching TV.

The necktie can be used to stretch the legs even if they cant lift their legs, they can use their arms to lift their legs.  The key is: Move your muscles!  The other thing is I usually have people stand up & stretch their arms.  I do these things throughout the day.  You must never over do it or over exert yourself or cause pain.

Enjoy your day,

Ray

Dealing with stress while the world goes crazy

Happy Monday,

With devistating hurricanes, terrorist bombings, riots because of court rulings, it gets more & more difficult to not be stressed.

Having MS means that we already have enough stress in our lives so we can’t avoid everything going on, but YOU need to worry about YOU!

I get just enough news to know what’s going on, then I avoid the news.  The news is so negative.  How can I remain positive if I am surrounded by negative?

Enjoy your day,

Ray