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