Quick tips to brighten your day when living with MS

Jamie Tripp Utitus
Written by
Jamie Tripp Utitus

There are so many articles about how to bust out of a bad mood and brighten your day, saying things like, “Get Moving” or “Go running!” While this may be great for most people, many of us MS-ers are immobile or can’t walk that far before our legs start dropping. Advice like this can feel almost comical, and certainly not helpful.

So, to balance out the 5km running plans and aerobic work outs, I’m taking what I’ve read about brightening your mood and adapting it, just like I have to adapt my world to navigate it with multiple sclerosis every day. If you have any other suggestions, please, write on the thread on Facebook, we’d love to know how you bring sunshine into your days. Here goes:

Running in place – I personally cannot partake in this activity, and some of you may not be able to either, but I do believe there are immense benefits tied to physical activity. No matter how small the act, getting up and getting moving can really help! I like to mosey down to the corner and back, and sometimes sit on my steps. The sun and natural vitamin D instantly make me feel much better. I can still do planks. I hate them, but I always feel great after. So my family and I do plank challenges to make it fun.

Get out into nature - Don’t worry, I don’t mean hiking, I mean gardening. I have a flower box under my front window. I tend to the plants every morning and evening. It makes me feel like I am nurturing something, keeping it alive. It always calms me. My love of gardening is now at the point where people ask me to babysit their plants because they know I will talk to them, name them, and tend to them. And no, you do not have to talk to them. I’m a smidge eccentric. At least I’m not boring.

Music - whether I am listening or playing, I feel…release and calm. I can get lost in my bass lessons. I’ve practiced for six hours once without realizing it. It makes me happy, helps my memory, cognitive abilities and speech. The craziest thing, it almost impossible to forget how to play because so many parts of the brain are involved!

Mindful Meditation – Focus on your breath. Breathing correctly means as you breathe in, your belly distends, as you breathe slowly and controlled out of your mouth, your stomach should recede in.

Burn candles or incense – The aromatherapy can help to trigger certain moods. Find candles or incense that calm you or make your feel lighter and use them.

Touch your toes - Yes, I said touch your toes. Most of the tension we store is in our hips. By touching your toes, you open your hips and release the tension there. It can’t hurt to try. Just, don’t try on the stairs. Try in a safe place.

Be Generous – A recent study that showed when people spend $5 on others, their mood is boosted. So, if you stop at the store, maybe grab something for a friend who can’t. Or if you are immobile, shopping online is an option.

Smile - By smiling, even when you are not happy, our happy chemicals are triggered. I do it while washing the dishes. I think there is something to it!

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