Mindfulness and MS

 Mindfulness and MS

What if I told you that you can help your quality of life and improve your Multiple Sclerosis by practicing Mindfulness? Would you even know what that means?

What is Mindfulness?

Definition of  mind·ful·ness: 

1. The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.

2. A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

Can mindfulness help us on our journey with MS?

MindfulnessMindfulness was something first introduced to me while I was studying under my mentor, New York Times Best Selling Author, America’s #1 Success Coach, Jack Canfield. He taught me how to live my life with purpose, passion, clarity and to be mindful of everything around me. It was life changing for me and my journey with MS.

When I was studying personal growth/leadership development I wasn’t doing it hoping to find a way to help my MS. I was doing it for my own growth.  At that time I didn’t understand the concept that the mind, body, and spirit are connected and if we want to heal our bodies from MS, we must focus on each of those areas to be successful. I started to wonder if mindfulness could help others in their journey with MS, too.

Why is mindfulness important in our journey with MS?

Many people with MS suffer from depression, fear, anxiety, insomnia, pain, and overwhelming stress. Each of these issues can be devastating to our health.

For years I’ve been searching for alternative ways for us to deal with each of those issues. When I say “alternatives,” I mean alternatives to drug therapy, which is what most MS Dr’s present to us immediately. It can end up meaning a medicine cabinet full of prescriptions that can actually make things worse.

Hmm. When I think about this, it makes me think about daily life.  Do we just go through the motions? You know, everything is pretty much on auto pilot, isn’t it? We all have our routines with our families, with our jobs, with ourselves – things are just done out of habit. Can we be mindful every day?  The answer is a resounding, YES!

Are there different ways to practice mindfulness?

1 – Being mindful – Going through your everyday functions and being present, engaged, aware and calm.

When I practice mindfulness throughout the day, it means being aware and grateful for everything – The sun, the rain, family, friends, my dogs, good things that happened in my day and even the challenges, too. It’s all about having the right perspective in any given situation good or bad and responding in a healthy, more positive way. I also do affirmations and journaling which keeps me focused on thinking the right way, which is so important, not only for all of us living with MS, but just in daily life.

2 – Mindful meditation – Meditation where you can focus on areas of the body in pain and releasing or separating yourself from that pain. You can focus on specific parts of the body and visualize it’s repair and healing (I have several MS friends that visualize their Myelin being restored over nerve endings throughout their body or picturing their MRI’s with less lesions). It can also be something as simple as deep breathing and just being in that moment of meditation.

MindfulnessThe great thing about being mindful and mindfulness meditation is that everyone can do it and it can have lasting health benefits to us. In studies people that practiced mindfulness had an improved quality of life, and more positive and hopeful expectations.  It also took away pain, stress, anxiety, depression and fear. Some hospitals now prescribe mindfulness meditation for patients dealing with pain. Check out MS & The Mind to learn more about its affects on our MS.

When you learn to practice mindfulness, you will have better coping strategies in stressful situations. We know stress can cause us to have an exacerbation or even cause new lesions, so we must do everything to ensure we are living stress free as much as possible.

Remember, our mind, body, and spirits are connected and we must focus on each area for healing.  Mindfulness can be a very powerful way to start on our journey to health and healing!

For inspiration and great ideas on healthy living with MS, check out my new book “Waking Up From MS – My Journey to Health, Healing, and Living Symptom Free”  – It explores my almost 30 year journey living with MS and how I am now living symptom free, healthy, and thriving.

To our health!

Kellie Alderton

If you want to learn more about healthy living and green technologies, check out my products page at www.myvollara.com/kga

You can also follow me on twitter @kelliealderton or my FB page Waking Up From MS where I share insights and information for everyone dealing with MS.

 

OH MS, It’s really getting HOT in Here!

Heat, Heat and even more Heat!

Anyone with Multiple Sclerosis that hears that single word could have a streak of fear go through them and images of terror from memories of summers long ago.  Many people talk about getting out there in the heat and getting baked to a crisp in the sun.  Us MSers however have a very different stance on the heat!thermometer

In fact, many of us start in the winter months to prepare for the summer! Yep, you heard it, in the dead of winter, we can start preparing for our upcoming summer and the next heat wave.  We focus on making sure the air conditioner is in tip top shape, all window treatments are giving maximum protection from the elements, getting cooling vests, head protection, traveling to a cooler climate and anything else we can get our hands on that promises us the chance of staying cool.

Yes, it’s that real and that serious!

I myself am very aware of the heat.  Living with MS now for over 25 years, my MS Story may not be different than anyone else as heat intolerance was always the one thing that seemed to get me. My head use to feel like it was baking…literally from the inside out. So I understand first hand why this is one topic that we need to not only prepare for, but share the info so others do not have to suffer!

Things you may experience when you are suffering from Heat exposure:

1 – Dizziness

2 – Immediate fatigue – (Almost as if someone burst your energy bubble)

3 – Blurred Vision

4 – Shakiness or Tremors

5 – Numbness and that awful tingling sensation in limbs

6 – Decrease in your cognitive function (You knew you were smarter before you got into that sun, sauna or hot bath)

The very interesting fact about the heat and your Multiple Sclerosis is that yes, it can cause us to have symptoms that either appears or start to get worse during heat exposure. It does not cause any long term inflammation or lesions as happens when we have an exacerbation. Which is great news, but still we need to think about ways to stay cool and get over the immediate effects from the heat.

 

Some ways to beat the heat:

1 – Always have air conditioning.

2 – Cooling Products – You can Google it there are dozens to choose from. There are also things you can do too – soak a sponge in water, freeze and then put in a Ziploc freezer bag, this stays cool for a long time and is very inexpensive. Contact the MS society they have cooling programs in place too.

3 – Get into the swimming pool.

4 – Misting Fans.

5 – Stay hydrated by drinking cool beverages – of course, water is the best option. This will actually go to your core and immediately go to work on lowering your overall temperature.

6 – Keep covered when in the sun. By wearing a hat during summer it gave me more time to be outside before the heat would start to affect me.

7 – Eat foods that are cool – fruits, veggies, salads. Healthy icees made from real food, not stuff packed with sugar (that can also cause fatigue)

8 – If exercising in the summer workout later in the evening or earlier in the morning – making sure to stay hydrated.free-winter-picture-icicles

 

I would like to say it’s as easy as thinking cool thoughts, but the best thing you can do to beat the heat is stay prepared at all times and really listen to your body! You can check out All About MS to learn more about this disease!

 

If you’ve found this article helpful please share! I look forward to your feedback!

We’re in this together! 

 

To Our Health!

Kellie

If you want to learn more about healthy living and green technologies, check out my products page at www.myvollara.com/kga

You can also follow me on twitter @kelliealderton or my FB page Waking Up From MS where I share insights and information for everyone dealing with MS.

 

 

SEO Powered By SEOPressor