An Attitude Of Gratitude

by Carolyn Kaufman

An important part of dealing with MS is stress management. We don’t always think about that because we get so caught up in the specifics of diet. We don’t realize there are other tools to healing.

We all know that meditation is helpful, but it’s also kind of advanced and not everyone knows how to do it. That’s totally cool, no one is asking you to jump into a 30 minute routine every day.

In fact, I’m not going to tell you to meditate at all. One of the most effective tools for managing stress and developing a positive attitude is through gratitude.

Especially when you’re battling a beast like MS, it’s tough to maintain gratitude, but it’s the simplest exercise with POWERFUL results!

Every night (or morning, whatever works best for you), give yourself a couple of minutes to write down 2 – 3 things you feel grateful for and a couple sentences on why you feel that way. This could be anything from having a symptom free day to having a roof over your head. There is SO MUCH to be grateful for!

So let’s do the first one together and inspire each other to get grateful!

Today, I am grateful that I feel well enough to go to yoga tonight. I feel grateful for working internet so I can write you these emails. And of course, I’m extremely grateful to have found the Overcoming MS plan!

What do you feel grateful for today?

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.