January 30, 2023
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Photography by Audshule/Stocksy United
Soothing activities — like yoga, meditation, and massage — may be beneficial for your mental health.
If you have multiple sclerosis (MS), odds are you’re no stranger to anxiety. 36% of people with MS have anxiety disorders, and up to 70% of people experience anxiety sometime after their diagnosis.
When you have a chronic condition like MS, taking care of yourself means caring for your mind as well as your body.
Anxiety around doctor’s appointments, symptoms, and the future with MS can feel overwhelming at times, and that’s okay. But not letting that anxiety control you is key. Finding ways to ground yourself when you’re anxious is important for your overall well-being.
The community at Bezzy MS understands the importance of mental health. Here are a few things members do to destress and manage their anxiety.
“I’m a retired nurse of 25 years and never [before] experienced the type of anxiety and helplessness as I have with MS. I take two anti-anxiety meds along with an antidepressant. The best thing I’ve ever done is massage therapy twice a month. It’s my time, just for me. The massage therapist comes to my house for an hour-long massage. It helps some of my other MS symptoms as well.” — Sherry
“I’ve experienced anxiety for many years, pre and post-MS diagnosis. Something that has helped — and also helps with sleep issues — is deep breathing. Breathe through the belly, not the chest. Learning that tip made a world of difference for me.
I start deep breathing when I feel myself getting anxious or when I have trouble sleeping. I do it while laying down to calm my mind and heart rate.” — Anonymous
“Meditation and Emotional Freedom Tapping help me with anxiety. The meditations are a wonderful way to head off anxiety attacks. I note my anxious thoughts, and when I identify the thought and the emotion behind it, often I can stop the thought spiral that triggers my anxiety before it happens.” — Elizabeth McLachlan, Bezzy MS Ambassador
“Yoga has been the #1 key to dealing with my anxiety. Slowing down, identifying what’s causing the anxiety, and modifying my environment have reduced my anxiety exponentially.” — Michael Dorn
“I have found a couple of things that have made big differences for me:
— Kathy Reagan Young, Bezzy MS Guide
Caring for your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health, especially if you have a chronic condition like MS. When you’re feeling anxious, check in with yourself and do something that makes you feel calm or happy.
If you feel like your anxiety and stress are hard to manage on your own, talk with a doctor or mental health professional.
To discover more ways to manage your MS-related anxiety, check out Ardra’s column, “Ask Adra Anything: How Do You Deal with Anxiety and MS?”
As always, we’re here for you at Bezzy MS.
Medically reviewed on January 30, 2023
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