to a situation is not a blink of an eye deal. It is a process like all
things vaguely human and it takes firstly acknowledgment, time, effort,
determination to at least try, and it can be a lot of work!
It also needs to incorporate an understanding that there is room for
error, failure or just some things cannot be changed to arrive at a
point of peace within.
To adjust means simply to change either the circumstances or the response
to it - i.e. attitude. It is a fact that until there is a cure, MS is
not going to go away through positive thought or practice. However, we
can learn to live with it, maximize our potential and our joy of living
by changing our attitude.
For example, a person should take the time and give self the permission to
grieve over the losses of ability, employment etc. caused by MS.
However, there is a vast difference between, grieving the loss, and dwelling on
it. In other words, we can focus on what we have lost and never move
forward, or we can celebrate and maximize our potential by whatever
This is a similar principle to examination of a half filled glass of water.
You can moan that half is gone, or you can enjoy the half that is left.
Either way, the situation is not changed, you still only have half a
glass of water, but the attitude is either grief or joy, depending on
how you view the situation.
Adjusting to stress
people are aware of which situations will cause stress responses - it
may be difficult people, or problems beyond control or within control.
Thus, adjustment may well take the form of either avoidance of a
situation or developing a coping strategy.
The Coping Strategy
Firstly and essentially is to try to relax and calm down the physical response
to stress- it is a physical impossibility to have the fight or flight
response while relaxed.
Calming down is achieved through first of all removing yourself to a place of
solitude or at least away from the external stressor.
Some people find that through breathing exercises, relaxation techniques,
music, meditation or prayer.... or in 'big' situations, playing
relaxation tapes and going through guided imagery etc. a state of
relaxation is easier to achieve.
Once the body is under control, thinking becomes clearer and more focused.
Adjustment then follows by working through identifying the 'cause',
then applying whatever solutions are needed to cope with the current
stressor and how to either avoid or work with the situation in future.
It may be necessary to adapt the environment or the attitude to the
stressor so as to either eliminate it in the future or to better cope
with it if it should happen again.
For example, if it is identified that excess noise, several conversations
at once are causing the feelings of being overwhelmed, then it may be
necessary to turn off the television during times of discussion.
Similarly, if it is a person who has become difficult or troublesome to be around,
then it may be necessary for you to, either avoid the person if
possible or to try to understand why the person elicits these feelings
Naturally it depends on what 'it' is which determines the changes needed.....
Here is a fun thing - a tongue in cheek example of how attitude may play a huge role in causing stress:
The 10 commandments for Reducing Stress
1. Thou shalt not be perfect, or even try to be
2. Thou shalt not try to be all things to all people.
3. Thou shalt leave things undone that ought to be done
4. Thou shalt not spread thyself too thin
5. Thou shalt learn to say "NO".
6. Thou shalt schedule time for thyself and for thy support network.
7. Thou shalt switch off regularly and do nothing
8. Thou shalt be boring, untidy, inelegant and unattractive at times.
9. Thou shalt not even feel guilty
10. Especially, thou shalt not be thine own worst enemy, but be thy best friend.
The purpose of this article is to facilitate an understanding that even
though life may be at times overwhelming, and life with MS is made more
difficult, it is possible for an individual to develop a sense of
control over stress.
Therefore, rather than being victims of circumstance and emotion, people can learn
to be survivors who live well and enjoy life.