Skip to content

    Multiple Sclerosis Health Center

    Select An Article

    Multiple Sclerosis and Stress Management

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    The prolonged stress of living with a chronic illness, like multiple sclerosis, can lead to frustration, anger, hopelessness, and depression. People with MS are especially at risk of becoming depressed, and for good reason: they face many stressors.

    To better cope with the disease, it is important to learn how to manage stress. The first step is to recognize when you are stressed and then take steps to reduce your stress.

    Recommended Related to Multiple Sclerosis

    How MS Disability Is Measured

    Multiple sclerosis progression varies from person to person. And, the various MS types of disease progress in different ways, too. Scans and other multiple sclerosis tests don't always tell the whole story about MS disability; signs and symptoms and how well you are functioning each day -- from seeing to moving to thinking -- are also important measures of how well your central nervous system is working. That's why a variety of tools are useful in assessing multiple sclerosis disability. These...

    Read the How MS Disability Is Measured article > >

    What Are the Warning Signs of Stress?

    Your body sends out physical, emotional, and behavioral warning signs of stress:

    • Emotional warning signs include anger, an inability to concentrate, unproductive worry, sadness, and frequent mood swings.
    • Physical warning signs include stooped posture, sweaty palms, chronic fatigue, and weight gain or loss.
    • Behavioral warning signs include overreacting, acting on impulse, using alcohol or drugs, and withdrawing from relationships.

    What Can I Do to Reduce Stress?

    • Keep a positive attitude.
    • Accept that there are events that you cannot control.
    • Be assertive instead of aggressive. Assert your feelings, opinions, or beliefs instead of becoming angry, combative, or passive.
    • Learn relaxation techniques (see below).
    • Exercise regularly. Your body can fight stress better when it is fit. Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.
    • Eat well-balanced meals.
    • Rest and sleep. Your body needs time to recover from stressful events.
    • Don't rely on alcohol or drugs to reduce stress.

    How Can I Learn to Relax?

    There are a number of exercises that you can do to relax. These exercises include breathing, muscle and mind relaxation, and relaxation to music. Three that you can try are listed below.

    First, be sure that you have:

    1. A quiet location that is free of distractions
    2. A comfortable body position; sit or recline on a chair or sofa.
    3. A good state of mind.; try to block out worries and distracting thoughts.

    Two-minute relaxation: Switch your thoughts to yourself and your breathing. Take a few deep breaths, exhaling slowly. Mentally scan your body. Notice areas that feel tense or cramped. Loosen up these areas. Let go of as much tension as you can. Rotate your head in a smooth, circular motion once or twice. (Stop any movements that cause pain.) Roll your shoulders forward and backward several times. Let all of your muscles completely relax. Recall a pleasant thought for a few seconds. Take another deep breath and exhale slowly.

    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    nerve damage
    Learn how this disease affects the nervous system.
    woman applying lotion
    Ideas on how to boost your mood and self-esteem.
     
    woman pondering
    Get personalized treatment options.
    man with hand over eye
    Be on the lookout for these symptoms.
     
    brain scan
    ARTICLE
    worried woman
    ARTICLE
     
    neural fiber
    ARTICLE
    white blood cells
    VIDEO
     
    sunlight in hands
    ARTICLE
    marijuana plant
    ARTICLE
     
    muscle spasm
    ARTICLE
    Neuron
    ARTICLE