Like many people, my MS flared following a period of prolonged stress. And though debate continues as to whether stress causes MS, there is no doubt at all that it worsens it.

Neurologist Professor Giovannoni’s study revealed that 83% of participants experienced a worsening of their symptoms after a stressful period. This is because stress triggers an inflammatory response and dysregulates our immune system. Continued stress isn’t good for anyone, but for those with MS, it literally makes us ill.

We can’t avoid stress, but we can learn strategies to help us minimise its impact.


Our first defence is simply to breathe deeply and regularly. In this way, we trick the brain into thinking all is well and our body returns to equilibrium. Alternately, try humming. It naturally slows breathing and occupies the mind in a positive way.

Stay Present

Meditation and mindfulness practice are all about reminding us to stay in the present. We can affect neither the future nor the past, but we can control how we behave now. By keeping up a regular practice in mindfulness, we equip ourselves to better cope with all life’s craziness.

Avoid Drama

The media, in all its forms, is fuelled by conflict, tension and outrage. It stimulates extreme emotions which can, sometimes, become addictive. Exciting though it may be, it does nothing for our well-being. Limiting our exposure is therefore wise, particularly at the beginning and end of the day. If we use this time instead for quiet reflection, our sleep and our day will pass much more serenely.

This Too Shall Pass

Even the most distressing and stressful circumstances have an end. Remembering this helps us maintain balance amid the whirlwind. Look after yourself and work on strategies to keep stress under control. Your body will thank you for it.

If you have any tips or advice you would like to share with the community, please leave them in the comments below.