Stress, Its Effects and What You Can Do About It


Stress: Its Effects and What You Can Do About It

Stress is a funny thing. It can be a good thing for us, but it can also be a terrible. Stress can manifest itself in numerous ways within our bodies, from pain, to sleeplessness, to forgetfulness, to headaches, and many many others. But how does stress affect individuals who have Multiple Sclerosis?

Types of Stress

Physical

Physical stress is the workout you completed earlier, or your blood pressure response when you got cut off coming home from work, or for us MSers, the physiological changes that can occur with MS (spasticity, weakness, etc.). These types of changes can increase the demand we put on our bodies and possibly set us up for injury if we aren’t being aware and careful. Being consistent with staying active is one way to combat these issues, possibly working with a trainer or physical therapist if needed. Consistently being active helps our muscles stay in shape and conditioned. Keeping up physical strength is always beneficial as well, regardless of your diagnosis.

Emotional

Emotional stress can be anything that is stressful for you. Having a fight with a loved one, thinking about health issues or getting a new Chronic Illness diagnosis. Emotional stress can also quickly turn into chronic stress if we’re not careful. Chronic stress is when we don’t really “turn off” our feelings of stress, or flight or fight. The flight or fight response involves our sympathetic nervous system. This is an automatic system that helps us to defend against acute stressors, like a bear attack for example. When this fight or flight system is activated, it sets off a cascade of hormones in our bodies that helps us prepare for one such bear. However, when we’re in chronic stress mode, and we’re experiencing stressor after stressor, these hormones still come cascading throughout our bodies. This leads to these hormones being released constantly, which can ultimately damage our nervous system and create a multitude of health problems.

Stress and MS

Both physical and emotional stress can create a variety of symptoms. Since we have MS, we have to be extra careful when it comes to dealing with stress. It seems to be a hotly debated topic, but in the research I’ve read when a ‘stressful life event’ occurs (again, anything that is stressful for you), a relapse can often follow. Now, that’s not to say that it will DEFINITELY happen, but it is something to watch out for, and all the more reason to find ways to manage stress on a daily basis. So when that ‘stressful life event’ does occur, you’re that much more prepared to jump into action and know what works best for you in managing your stress.

Managing Stress

So what are some things that actually work?
  • Obviously I’ll be adding exercise to the list 😉 Engaging in exercise can increase your endorphin’s, which are the feel good hormones. Endorphin’s increase your mood and your natural ability to de-stress. Exercise also will strengthen your muscles and create physical stabilization. Exercise is a one two punch for stress management! However, exercise is also a form of stress. So this is a fine line. If you’re super stressed would I recommend a super hard workout? Probably not. But I would recommend a restorative workout that you’ve already figured out works for you. 
  • Yes, I believe deep breathing works. It’s cliche, but it’s scientifically proven, at least the way I do it and teach it. Hold your breath for 4 counts, breathe in for four counts, hold it again for four counts, then exhale for four counts. This is called ‘square breathing’ (just one name for it) and it activates our parasympathetic nervous system, so our bodies can chill out.
  • Something else that I have been playing around with (and have been loving, btw) has been meditation. I’ve used several apps, (Headspace and Insight Timer are my favorites) and they’ve been great. I like guided meditation, because it’s too hard for me right now to just sit. I need something to focus on besides the noise in my head.
  • Getting enough sleep can be on any list to improve any symptom, in my opinion. But for stress management in people with MS, its extra important. Stress can interfere with getting a good nights sleep, and not having enough sleep can increase fatigue and decrease ability to manage stress and difficult situations. Nasty catch-22 right? During times of increased stress, make sleep a priority, even if that means saying “no” to some things you would normally say “yes” to.
  • Consider alternative therapies or getting professional help. Finding alternative outlets for your stress, including arts, music, tai chi, massage or therapy can be very useful. Talking with a professional about specific techniques, then how to implement them can also be helpful. Mindfulness is another “trending” topic as of late. According to research published in 2014, individuals with MS who engaged in mindfulness stated they had a better quality of life, reduced fatigue and improved mental health. Pretty good reasons to try it out I’d say!
There are many things that can be considered stress-reducing. As long as it brings you comfort and enjoyment, go for it. I like to tell people to make these activities a daily habit, so when you really need them, you already know what works, what doesn’t and how you go about doing them. Because really, when you’re freaking out, do you really want to be learning something new on top of it all? Probably not. Practice makes Perfect!
If you like what you’re reading join LissMS Community here! I share recipes, tips and further insights (almost) weekly! 😉

I’M ALISSA!

I help women who have also been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis make specific and personalized diet, lifestyle & subconscious changes so that they can begin to heal their body, reduce disease symptoms, and return to a life they love.hey there,

follow along on Instagram:

Or, comment WAITLIST to be notified when it’s ready!!

I’ve been talking to many of you about your questions regarding eating for MS.

There’s lots of confusion about what is “right” and “wrong”. 

Lemme tell you, I’ll answer this in the guide for sure- and it prob won’t be the answer you’re expecting?

Drop any other questions below and I’ll answer them!!

Or, comment WAITLIST to be notified when it’s ready!!

I’ve been talking to many of you about your questions regarding eating for MS.

There’s lots of confusion about what is “right” and “wrong”.

Lemme tell you, I’ll answer this in the guide for sure- and it prob won’t be the answer you’re expecting?

Drop any other questions below and I’ll answer them!!
...

17 5
:: first, comment WAITLIST below to be notified when my new Eating for MS Guide is available!::

When I was first diagnosed with MS I didn’t even think to ask if anything else besides medication would help me.

It didn’t even occur to me that changing my diet or managing stress would also play a part in my disease.

It took a few years, several relapses and failed medications for my BOYFRIEND (now hubby) to ask my neurologist if any diet would help.

And even then, my neuros answer was 🤷🏻‍♂️.

If you also haven’t considered it, let me be the first to tell you:

✨IT’S ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE✨ 
to decrease your symptoms and influence your long term prognosis by implementing lifestyle changes.

What we eat
How we move
How we manage stress
Our toxin burden
Our hydration status
Etc etc etc
all go a long way in helping us MSers live better with MS.

I lived this transformation; from totally exhausted and unable to get off the couch to hiking mountains or playing golf,
I KNOW it’s possible for you, too.

I’m in the final stages of putting together a comprehensive resource on Eating for MS, comment WAITLIST and I’ll let you know when it’s ready!!

:: first, comment WAITLIST below to be notified when my new Eating for MS Guide is available!::

When I was first diagnosed with MS I didn’t even think to ask if anything else besides medication would help me.

It didn’t even occur to me that changing my diet or managing stress would also play a part in my disease.

It took a few years, several relapses and failed medications for my BOYFRIEND (now hubby) to ask my neurologist if any diet would help.

And even then, my neuros answer was 🤷🏻‍♂️.

If you also haven’t considered it, let me be the first to tell you:

✨IT’S ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE✨ 
to decrease your symptoms and influence your long term prognosis by implementing lifestyle changes.

What we eat
How we move
How we manage stress
Our toxin burden
Our hydration status
Etc etc etc
all go a long way in helping us MSers live better with MS.

I lived this transformation; from totally exhausted and unable to get off the couch to hiking mountains or playing golf,
I KNOW it’s possible for you, too.

I’m in the final stages of putting together a comprehensive resource on Eating for MS, comment WAITLIST and I’ll let you know when it’s ready!!
...

27 22
I’ve seen this trend with women under 35 and over 35.. so let’s see if we can adapt this for others living with MS!

Those of you who are living with MS for just a few years ask a question and those of us who have been living with it for many years will answer!

Who knows, this may bomb, but the idea is fun!!

Ask away!

I’ve seen this trend with women under 35 and over 35.. so let’s see if we can adapt this for others living with MS!

Those of you who are living with MS for just a few years ask a question and those of us who have been living with it for many years will answer!

Who knows, this may bomb, but the idea is fun!!

Ask away!
...

40 41
Last week I wanted 0 to do with working out. 

I love working out,
I love being able to lift heavy things and feel strong.
But last week?
Nah, I was all set. 

However.. I have some goals and abilities I want to maintain.

Strength training is one way of the consistent ways I help myself to feel good despite living with MS. 

So I made sure that there wasn’t a reason I didn’t want to workout besides my inner toddler, and lo and behold- there wasn’t.
So off I went. 

I gave myself permission to go lighter and slower, which helped me be successful in doing it at all. 

I often find that when I stop strength training for a while, everything starts to hurt, so that’s obviously not what I’m going for. 

I also have a goal of gaining muscle. Muscle decline happens anyway with age, I don’t need to help it along with not moving. 

✨Following through with my daily habits is a form of self care.✨

If you’re done with thinking: 
“I know what to do, I just can’t seem to do it” 
DM me ACTION and we’ll chat

Last week I wanted 0 to do with working out.

I love working out,
I love being able to lift heavy things and feel strong.
But last week?
Nah, I was all set.

However.. I have some goals and abilities I want to maintain.

Strength training is one way of the consistent ways I help myself to feel good despite living with MS.

So I made sure that there wasn’t a reason I didn’t want to workout besides my inner toddler, and lo and behold- there wasn’t.
So off I went.

I gave myself permission to go lighter and slower, which helped me be successful in doing it at all.

I often find that when I stop strength training for a while, everything starts to hurt, so that’s obviously not what I’m going for.

I also have a goal of gaining muscle. Muscle decline happens anyway with age, I don’t need to help it along with not moving.

✨Following through with my daily habits is a form of self care.✨

If you’re done with thinking:
“I know what to do, I just can’t seem to do it”
DM me ACTION and we’ll chat
...

17 4
Instead of being a lump on the couch, now I can go hiking up a mountain with my husband 
Or walk 8 miles around NYC with my sister 
Or do a workout at the gym
Or shower, go shopping and cook dinner all in the same day 

This is possible because: 
✨Yes, the medication I’m on helps for sure 

But truthfully my life has improved so much because of:

✨My daily habits and lifestyle (my morning routine, my diet, my sleep habits, my workouts..)

✨ But what REALLY moved the needle is actively working to have a mindset that allows me to be flexible with myself, to give myself grace when I “mess up” (aka- when I don’t follow through on a habit)

✨This is a mindset that doesn’t require perfection✨

This allows me to be consistent with the habits- like diet changes or movement programs or whatever else I want to do, which then allows me to see progress (aka: my body feeling better)

Which THEN gives me the motivation and desire to keep doing what I’m doing.

✨This is the secret to “success”- right here.✨
Consistent action + giving yourself grace + noticing progress = motivation to keep going. 

It’s not quick or sexy, its actually rather boring.
But boring is actually way better!! 

If you want a life where you:
Feel good in your body, 
Have energy to spend on your friends and family, 
Don’t think about what the MS symptom of the day will be..

I help you create that life for yourself in my signature program, Holistically Healing MS. 

Today is the last day it’s on FLASH SALE… 
Comment MOUNTAIN below and I’ll send you the details!!

Instead of being a lump on the couch, now I can go hiking up a mountain with my husband
Or walk 8 miles around NYC with my sister
Or do a workout at the gym
Or shower, go shopping and cook dinner all in the same day

This is possible because:
✨Yes, the medication I’m on helps for sure

But truthfully my life has improved so much because of:

✨My daily habits and lifestyle (my morning routine, my diet, my sleep habits, my workouts..)

✨ But what REALLY moved the needle is actively working to have a mindset that allows me to be flexible with myself, to give myself grace when I “mess up” (aka- when I don’t follow through on a habit)

✨This is a mindset that doesn’t require perfection✨

This allows me to be consistent with the habits- like diet changes or movement programs or whatever else I want to do, which then allows me to see progress (aka: my body feeling better)

Which THEN gives me the motivation and desire to keep doing what I’m doing.

✨This is the secret to “success”- right here.✨
Consistent action + giving yourself grace + noticing progress = motivation to keep going.

It’s not quick or sexy, its actually rather boring.
But boring is actually way better!!

If you want a life where you:
Feel good in your body,
Have energy to spend on your friends and family,
Don’t think about what the MS symptom of the day will be..

I help you create that life for yourself in my signature program, Holistically Healing MS.

Today is the last day it’s on FLASH SALE…
Comment MOUNTAIN below and I’ll send you the details!!
...

39 2
If you’ve been a client, I’m sure you’ve heard me rant about how society’s expectations for women have set us up for autoimmunity and illness. 

We were praised for being quiet, not rocking the boat, keeping the peace, helping others before ourselves, not talking back, etc etc. 

But where did this get US? The women behind the behaviors? 
Sick, anxious and depressed- that’s where. 

Healing MS or any autoimmune disease can’t happen until you put yourself first. 

That doesn’t mean all of a sudden become a b*tch and ignore the world.

It means considering yourself as much as you consider others. 

One of my clients this week was talking about the boundaries she set in her life and how proud she was of herself. 

She was able to manage the uneasiness (aka: terror) of:
potentially letting others down,
being abandoned and 
discarded for voicing her needs. 

No wonder we’re all sick when even saying our needs outloud is scary!
What allowed her to do that after all these years of staying silent? 

Well many things, but one of them is “nervous system regulation” aka: utilizing small exercises that allow your body to “respond appropriately” aka: not entering an anxiety freak out spiral- to daily stressors. 

This is the “stress management” you’ve been looking for and what will change your life. 

My program Embodied Resilience is your road map to how. 

Drop a 🌀🌀 in the comments and I’ll send you details

If you’ve been a client, I’m sure you’ve heard me rant about how society’s expectations for women have set us up for autoimmunity and illness.

We were praised for being quiet, not rocking the boat, keeping the peace, helping others before ourselves, not talking back, etc etc.

But where did this get US? The women behind the behaviors?
Sick, anxious and depressed- that’s where.

Healing MS or any autoimmune disease can’t happen until you put yourself first.

That doesn’t mean all of a sudden become a b*tch and ignore the world.

It means considering yourself as much as you consider others.

One of my clients this week was talking about the boundaries she set in her life and how proud she was of herself.

She was able to manage the uneasiness (aka: terror) of:
potentially letting others down,
being abandoned and
discarded for voicing her needs.

No wonder we’re all sick when even saying our needs outloud is scary!
What allowed her to do that after all these years of staying silent?

Well many things, but one of them is “nervous system regulation” aka: utilizing small exercises that allow your body to “respond appropriately” aka: not entering an anxiety freak out spiral- to daily stressors.

This is the “stress management” you’ve been looking for and what will change your life.

My program Embodied Resilience is your road map to how.

Drop a 🌀🌀 in the comments and I’ll send you details
...

52 10
It’s ok if it takes time from learning about something to implementing it into your lifestyle.

There is a lot that needs to happen in our mind and body for us to be ready to change something about our day to day life. 

And it’s ok if that process takes longer than you “think it should” or want it too. 

You know what *won’t* help you when this happens? 
Being mean and judgemental to yourself. 

You’re not lazy and nothing is wrong with you, so stop saying that to yourself. 

You know what *will* help you when this happens?
Taking action. 
Action is the antidote to the fear and overwhelm you’re feeling. 

But- in a whole different way than you have been trying.

The key is slow and steady, not sexy or flashy- but this means it’s something better- sustainable. 

Sustainable means “able to be maintained or held”- which is the goal for habits right? 

Being “perfect” for 2 weeks then “messing up” (missing a day) then feeling like a “failure” for that one day, then being “off the wagon” for 3 months isn’t doing you any good (said with muchhhh ♥️♥️♥️)

We want a Supportive Sustainable Lifestyle aka being able to keep up with your habits and progress overtime (ideally for the rest of your life right? It’s about the journey not the destination)

If you want to create a lifestyle that is supportive to reducing your MS symptoms, so you don’t need to be thinking about being on or off “the wagon” again, my signature program Holistically Healing MS is for you.

And good news, it’s on flash sale this week- and the lowest price it will be ever again. 
Comment MSSUCKS below and I’ll send you details
🧡🧡🧡

It’s ok if it takes time from learning about something to implementing it into your lifestyle.

There is a lot that needs to happen in our mind and body for us to be ready to change something about our day to day life.

And it’s ok if that process takes longer than you “think it should” or want it too.

You know what *won’t* help you when this happens?
Being mean and judgemental to yourself.

You’re not lazy and nothing is wrong with you, so stop saying that to yourself.

You know what *will* help you when this happens?
Taking action.
Action is the antidote to the fear and overwhelm you’re feeling.

But- in a whole different way than you have been trying.

The key is slow and steady, not sexy or flashy- but this means it’s something better- sustainable.

Sustainable means “able to be maintained or held”- which is the goal for habits right?

Being “perfect” for 2 weeks then “messing up” (missing a day) then feeling like a “failure” for that one day, then being “off the wagon” for 3 months isn’t doing you any good (said with muchhhh ♥️♥️♥️)

We want a Supportive Sustainable Lifestyle aka being able to keep up with your habits and progress overtime (ideally for the rest of your life right? It’s about the journey not the destination)

If you want to create a lifestyle that is supportive to reducing your MS symptoms, so you don’t need to be thinking about being on or off “the wagon” again, my signature program Holistically Healing MS is for you.

And good news, it’s on flash sale this week- and the lowest price it will be ever again.
Comment MSSUCKS below and I’ll send you details
🧡🧡🧡
...

12 0
One of the criticisms I see about using lifestyle medicine to help improve MS symptoms is that it means “I think my disease is in my control, totally up to me and therefore my fault”.

The things in our control, are only a piece of the puzzle in how we feel, our MS symptoms and disease progression. 

Many more things also go into our health equation:
- Genetics
- Age
- Socioeconomic Status 
- Education 
- Health care access
- Your community 
- Economic stability 

I’m not saying that lifestyle medicine doesn’t matter, it does a lot. I’m just saying it’s not the *only* thing that matters. 

What are your thoughts on this? I know it’s a highly charged topic for some!

One of the criticisms I see about using lifestyle medicine to help improve MS symptoms is that it means “I think my disease is in my control, totally up to me and therefore my fault”.

The things in our control, are only a piece of the puzzle in how we feel, our MS symptoms and disease progression.

Many more things also go into our health equation:
- Genetics
- Age
- Socioeconomic Status
- Education
- Health care access
- Your community
- Economic stability

I’m not saying that lifestyle medicine doesn’t matter, it does a lot. I’m just saying it’s not the *only* thing that matters.

What are your thoughts on this? I know it’s a highly charged topic for some!
...

35 5
Living with MS is hard.
Some days are harder, some easier.

If you’re in a season where it feels hard, I see you.

I believe in you.
🧡🧡🧡

Living with MS is hard.
Some days are harder, some easier.

If you’re in a season where it feels hard, I see you.

I believe in you.
🧡🧡🧡
...

21 2
The food we eat can have a powerful impact on our MS symptoms and how we feel.

It’s not a magic bullet- because nothing is.

But, there is incredible potential for healing and improvement.

If you’re not quite ready to follow a “diet template”, like The Wahls Protocol or Autoimmune Protocol, that’s ok. 

Focus on getting some of these foods on your next trip to the store:

🥗Brightly Colored Fruits & Veggies 
🥬Deep Leafy Greens 
🍤Seafood & Shellfish 
🥜Healthy Fats
🥩Organ Meat

Each of these different types of foods contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help support cellular functions, immune health and even help with myelin formation.

Not eating any of it? That’s ok!
Start with adding a serving or two here and there.
Ideas: 
✨Have a salad with dinner
✨Toss some veggies in your breakfast egg scramble
✨Have some olives or nuts as a snack instead of chips

It doesn’t have to be hard or complicated.

There is SO MUCH we can be doing to help improve our MS symptoms & progression with diet & lifestyle interventions.

Each thing you’re doing matters.

It may seem like it’s not worth it sometimes, but I’m here to tell you it is.

Keep going!
🧡🧡

The food we eat can have a powerful impact on our MS symptoms and how we feel.

It’s not a magic bullet- because nothing is.

But, there is incredible potential for healing and improvement.

If you’re not quite ready to follow a “diet template”, like The Wahls Protocol or Autoimmune Protocol, that’s ok.

Focus on getting some of these foods on your next trip to the store:

🥗Brightly Colored Fruits & Veggies
🥬Deep Leafy Greens
🍤Seafood & Shellfish
🥜Healthy Fats
🥩Organ Meat

Each of these different types of foods contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help support cellular functions, immune health and even help with myelin formation.

Not eating any of it? That’s ok!
Start with adding a serving or two here and there.
Ideas:
✨Have a salad with dinner
✨Toss some veggies in your breakfast egg scramble
✨Have some olives or nuts as a snack instead of chips

It doesn’t have to be hard or complicated.

There is SO MUCH we can be doing to help improve our MS symptoms & progression with diet & lifestyle interventions.

Each thing you’re doing matters.

It may seem like it’s not worth it sometimes, but I’m here to tell you it is.

Keep going!
🧡🧡
...

19 6
In case you needed to hear that today.

You’re not a failure.
You didn’t “fail” at healing.
Having MS is hard- do what’s best for you.

In case you needed to hear that today.

You’re not a failure.
You didn’t “fail” at healing.
Having MS is hard- do what’s best for you.
...

62 9

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