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Move

Not only can exercise help your body stay healthy and limber, it floods your brain with endorphins -- chemicals that enhance your mood. Find a physical activity that gets your heart pumping. Swimming, jogging, biking, or walking will work. Shoot for at least 150 minutes of exercise each week.

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Groove

Studies show that music therapy can have a positive impact on your mood. Listening to or playing music gives your brain a boost of dopamine -- the neurotransmitter that helps you feel pleasure. Good tunes can ease anxiety, help depression, ease pain, and help you sleep better.

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mature man taking nap
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Sleep

Regular, quality sleep is key for soothing your mind and easing some of the physical symptoms of MS. Naps can give you a mood boost, too. But be sure they’re not keeping you from getting your nighttime ZZZs. If sleep is a struggle because of your MS, talk to your doctor about ways to help you get the shut-eye you need.

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Laugh

Laughter helps you take in more oxygen, stimulates your circulation, and gets your endorphins (the “feel-good” hormones) flowing. The aftereffects of a good guffaw are less stress and a happy, relaxed feeling.

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photo of woman meditating
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Meditate

Meditation and mindfulness help you quiet your thoughts, connect your mind to your body, and ground yourself in the here and now. Studies are still going on, but there’s some proof that these practices ease stress, anxiety, and depression.

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Connect

Have weekly get-togethers with friends so you have something to look forward to. Or join an MS support group. Talking with others who have MS can remind you that you’re not alone.

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Breathe

Deep breathing exercises release tension in your body and raise your oxygen levels. Combined with mind-quieting techniques like meditation and mindfulness, deep breathing can calm your body and ease stress.

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Talk

Trained counselors or therapists can help you sort through overwhelming feelings. Regular visits can not only help you feel relief in the moment, but they can improve your mood over time, too.

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Play

Tap into the things you like to do. Paint, read, go to the movies -- anything that makes you happy. Or take up a new hobby. Focusing your energy on something new can help redirect your mood for a while.

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Stretch

Yoga is a centuries-old practice that uses specific poses to stretch your body while it clears your mind and centers your actions. Everyone can do some version of it, even if your movement is limited by your MS. Yoga eases anxiety and depression, and it can have other physical benefits, too.

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Plan

Make a list of places you’d like to visit, books you’ve been meaning to read, or restaurants you want to try, and work to check them each off. Setting small goals and knocking them out gives you a short burst of dopamine.

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Journal

Not only can keeping a record of your actions and thoughts help you track your MS symptoms, it can also help redirect your mind. Jot down things you’re grateful for, goals you have for the future, and successes you’ve had. It helps you spend time remembering positive things. Writing down your frustrations can help ease tension, too.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 03/27/2019 Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD on March 27, 2019

IMAGES PROVIDED BY:

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SOURCES:

Penn Medicine: “Multiple Sclerosis and Exercise: Why MS Patients Should Stay Active.”

Mayo Clinic: “Stress management for MS,” “Stress management.”

MS Focus Magazine: “Boost mood and motivation naturally with 6 dopamine kick-starters,” “10 Tips to Discover the Positive Power of Journaling.”

Neuroscience and Behavioral Physiology: “The Potential of Music Therapy in Neurology Using Multiple Sclerosis as an Example.”

National Sleep Foundation: “Multiple Sclerosis and Sleep.”

National Multiple Sclerosis Society: “Taming Stress in Multiple Sclerosis,” “Yoga and MS.”

American Academy of Physicians: “Multiple Sclerosis.”
Multiple Sclerosis Trust: “MS and Your Emotions.”

Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD on March 27, 2019

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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