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Multiple Sclerosis Strategies for Coping with Fear and Anxiety

Multiple Scierosis Strategies for Coping with Fear and Anxiety After being diagnosed with MS you may find yourself dealing with a number of complex emotions like fear and anxiety. In order to take control of these emotions you can implement strategies. The following are just a few suggestions on how to manage fear and anxiety. WORRY TIME Give yourself five minutes and five minutes only to focus on worrying each morning and evening. Sit somewhere quiet, set an alarm to go off five minutes later and focus on your fears and anxieties. When the alarm goes off get up and continue with your day. You might still find you worry throughout the day but tell yourself that you will think about the worry or fear at your next appointment. SHARING FEAR Telling others what you are feeling can be very beneficial. It gives others the opportunity to listen, reassure and help you put the fear and anxieties into perspective. When you get pulled down with fears and anxieties over symptoms, or the effects MS is having, you can lose sight of the fact you will not always feel the way you do. Sharing your fears allows others to remind you there is light at the end of the tunnel. COPING WITH ANXIETY LIST Write a 'coping with anxiety list'. Put it somewhere you can see it so that you are reminded of things you can do to help yourself. Things you might like to include on this list: • identify your fear or anxiety and write it down • tell someone you trust how you are feeling • use calming breathing • do an activity you enjoy to divert yourself • if certain news programmes, magazines, books or people are increasing your fear and anxiety, try to avoid them for a while • take a relaxing bath • ask for a hug THINKING ERRORS Learn to recognise the way that your negative thinking affects your feelings and emotions. There are a number of 'thinking errors' people make that increase feelings of anxiety and fear like the following: • Black and white thinking: seeing things in black or white, with no shades of grey. With a symptom like fatigue it can be easy to think I am so tired today I will never cope with work tomorrow. In fact, maybe I will have to stop working altogether'. Reminding yourself that having a rest will recharge you and give you energy for tomorrow helps you take back control. You can often control resting - it is in your control. • Exaggerated thinking: focusing on something and making it larger than life. Allowing one mistake to overshadow all of your positive achievements. For each time you think like this, replace the thought with two positive achievements. • Negative bias: focusing on the negative. Many people with MS focus on how they were in the past and the abilities they used to have. This can overlook any positive changes in their life they may have made despite their condition. • Should or ought' thinking: telling yourself that you should or ought to be able to do something. Telling yourself you should be able to do, or you ought to do, only increases guilt, anger and anxiety - it is destructive not constructive. KEEP A JOURNAL Start a negative thoughts and positive answers journal. Try this exercise to help you recognise the negative thinking patterns you employ, to re-train your mind to think more positively and productively and to learn new ways of perceiving situations. Get a notebook and on the pages draw two columns. Title the left side column 'Negative thoughts' and the right side column 'Positive answers'. In the negative thoughts column write down a negative thought you are having. In the right side column respond to that thought by writing down as many positive answers you can think of. Keep this journal for at least a week. This will help you build a habit of using 'self-talk' to challenge negative thoughts. Self-talk is the internal dialogue we use to view the world, and to explain situations to ourselves - the natural way we think things through. INFORGRAPHIC COURTESY OF... Your Life Protected are an independent insurance brokerage specialising in securing excellent cover at the best prices for people with MS. Call us on 01454 633 289 our life IPROTECTED All advice is from Living With the effects of MS by Dr Anita Rose 8& is available to download at

Multiple Sclerosis Strategies for Coping with Fear and Anxiety

shared by tomblogger on May 09
Multiple Sclerosis Infographic: Coping with Fear and Anxiety


Mike Derham


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