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Stress -
Let’s Understand it Together

Stress - everyone deals with it, but do we really understand. I get that life is full to the brim with all sorts of things that can cause us problems. Sometimes we try to just clump it all together in one big ball, but really, it's not quite that simple.

There are, in fact, different types of stress. And, here's a shocker, it isn't always bad. It pretty much depends on when it hits and how your body and mind react to it.

People just like you, especially if you are newly diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), often find that they have to tackle it in a somewhat different way than others. So, let's walk through this landscape together, okay.

Sudden Acute Stress

Stressed cat

First up, we have this type known as sudden acute stress. It comes out of nowhere and can be really intense. Things like a car accident or a house fire are classic examples of this type. There has even been research looking at how MS is affected by heavy-duty shocks like missile attacks - go figure.

While it's easy to assume that these traumatic events would be awful for someone with MS, it turns out that's not exactly the case. These sudden shocks don't actually cause MS, and they don't trigger an MS flare-up either. This type of stress hits hard but tends to pass relatively quickly. There might be some after-effects, but it doesn't pose a direct threat to those living with multiple sclerosis.

However, a deeply personal crisis, like losing a loved one or a beloved pet, could potentially raise your risk of developing MS. This kind of deep emotional trauma or stress tends to linger and could result in long-term effects.

Chronic Stress

Don't stress, relax sign

Next, there's chronic stress. It's the type that's always there, nagging in the background. Are you constantly worrying about money issues or marital problems? Or maybe it's a rambunctious toddler or rebellious teenager giving you grief?

These persistent stressors can trigger MS relapses. By resolving or managing these ongoing issues, you just might be able to reduce the number of relapses you experience on a day to day basis.

Everyday Stress

Another type of stress, similar to chronic, is the everyday kind. Are you constantly stuck in traffic? Are you always misplacing your purse or loosing your car keys? Are your kids constantly fighting or bickering? Does this sound familiar to you?

This is the kind that creeps into our daily lives, and it requires a unique approach for each of us to handle. How do you deal with this type of stress, or any kind, in the moment? Is there a way to head it off before it becomes a problem? As with most everything, we're all different in the way we learn to handle stress.

Even our individual levels are different. What causes you apprehension may be taken in stride by someone else and vice versa for them.

It's super important, though, to watch out for when it starts to get overwhelming. And once you realize it's becoming a problem, the question is: what do you do about it? It's best to come up with a plan of action before you are faced with the aftermath.

Effects of Long-Term Stress

Before we get into how to deal with stress, it's important to be aware that being exposed to stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline for a long time can put your body and immune system under strain. This can potentially lead to health problems like heart issues, headaches, and even conditions like depression ( a common issue for MSers). 

Moreover, chronic stress can also lead to difficulties sleeping, digestive problems, skin conditions, and problems with memory or concentration. It's like having your body on 'high alert' all the time until it finally runs out of steam.

I know you can agree with me, that this is not good for people with multiple sclerosis.

Ideas for Managing Stress

Don't worry, though. There are tons of ways you can help yourself manage stress.

  • Regular exercise
  • eating well
  • getting enough sleep
  • relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing

Any or all of these can help to reduce your stress levels. And if you have hobbies that you enjoy doing such as:

  • reading
  • painting
  • gardening
  • play music
  • singing
  • writing

I'm sure you get the picture. These can be super helpful as stress relievers. Try to also spend time with friends and family when you're up to it.

Also learn to ask for help when you need it, and always remember, it's totally okay to reach out to a professional if you need to.

Life can toss all kinds of curveballs our way, but how we handle it all makes a world of difference, especially when dealing with conditions like Multiple Sclerosis.

The key is to arm yourself with understanding and practical strategies to handle stress. By doing so, you're taking charge and keeping your health in your own hands. I'm with you, my friend. You've got this.

Related pages

Head over here to read about the signs of stress.

Here is where you can go to read about how to identify what specifically causes you anxiety.

And here's a great site for helping you learn how to deal with it - Strictly Stress Management.

Follow this link to find out What Causes MS.

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Cir & Akrista

You are reading original content written by Akrista or Cir L'Bert of Life in Spite of MS. If you enjoyed reading this blog, please consider following us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. See you there!

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