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Think positively

Overcoming Low Spirits

Most people with MS, like anyone else, struggle with low spirits from time to time. People may not even realize that they are down, but just find that eating or sleeping patterns have changed. Some may feel like withdrawing from the pressures of life for a while, or that there is no point in doing all those everyday things that sap precious energy.

Despondency, or even despair, of this type is often part of the normal process of adjustment that helps people come to terms with an illness like MS. They can then emerge stronger to face new challenges.

Stress and depression cannot be eliminated from anyone’s life and you shouldn’t feel guilty if it all gets too much once in a while. You can still make sure that you have a sturdy set of defences and several tricks up your sleeve.

You owe it to yourself and to your loved ones to take steps to maintain a positive outlook and return to an enjoyable lifestyle. There are a few simple strategies you can build into your everyday routine can help to tackle emotional distress and depression:

Tips to recapturing your sparkle and putting the joy back into life

Dedicate 15 minutes to a ‘daily quiet time’ – relax, listen to music or do relaxation exercises, like deep breathing, yoga or meditation; maybe your loved ones need a time like this too.

• ‘I can’, not ‘I can’t’ – focus on the things that you can still do and make the most of them. Don’t dwell on negative changes in your life.
• MS-free zones – identify areas of you that MS will never touch: your sense of humour, your love of music, art or nature.
• Take a fresh look at yourself – identify new strengths and talents and experiment with new activities. MS may have brought some unexpected good things into your life such as new friends and new interests.
• Plan pleasurable activities, however small – focus on doing things which you enjoy to take your mind off everyday problems.
• Counselling and psychotherapy – these are worth a try if you feel that you need a helping hand – they often provide the objective point of view that is difficult to achieve by yourself.
Remember: you are still the same person you were before you had MS.