Letting go of anger

Jamie Tripp Utitus
Written by
Jamie Tripp Utitus

So many of you will have heard about the spoon theory. If you haven’t, then it basically describes multiple sclerosis fatigue in terms of spoons; you have a certain number spoons each day and every activity, such as combing your hair or making breakfast, costs one spoon. With MS, you have fewer spoons, so you have to use them wisely.

What you are less likely to have heard of the potato lesson. It’s an awesome lesson into how sadness and the emotional baggage we carry in our everyday lives, wreaks havoc on our already diseased bodies. How does it work? Here I go:

A super hip teacher asked her students to each bring in a sack of potatoes. Returning with their potatoes, she asked them to carve names and dates of incidences of every experience that still makes them sad and every person they still can’t forgive. They then threw those potatoes back into the bag, and for a week or two they were married to lugging around that, literal, sack of emotional baggage.

They slept, went to class, to parties, friends’ houses, and their sac came with them everywhere. After a week, the students got the message. None of this was hurting or “getting back” at the people and incidents in their lives that hurt them. Rather, they were only hurting themselves. It was THEM that carried the burden of lugging that emotional baggage around with them, day after day.

As Buddha once said, “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Ok so he didn’t really say that, the translation has mucked it up a little over time but I still like this version, because it’s true; being angry with your MS isn’t going to hurt anyone except yourself.

Here are five simple things you can do now to start to release those pent-up emotions:

Walk barefoot – we pent up so much emotion in our feet. Take off your shoes and socks and walk in the grass, on the beach etc. You will feel the difference.

Meditation – this connects the left and right sides of the brain, slowing down the frequency of the brain. It is equated with an open door to your subconscious mind.

Deep breathing – When we are in emotional and/or physical pain, we tend to breathe shallow. I know I do. That, ultimately, makes our breathing acidic. Deep breathing exercises, with added oxygen, changes that acidic state to a more alkaline and healing state.

Physical Exercise – It seems ludicrous to write this as my MS progresses, but while I can’t run, I can do planks and small weights because my arms are still moving. Move what you can, when you can. Gardening is another exercise I do. The physical movement releases harmful toxins and releases those happy endorphins!

Smile - The simple act of smiling, even when you aren’t feeling super smiley-changes everything. I often do when I’m doing the dishes to regroup. It instantly changes your body chemistry and releases happy chemicals. It works!

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