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MS and Stress:
The Importance of Relaxation

Aside from the stress that arises in daily life for everyone, MS creates its own emotionally taxing predicaments, not the least of which is dealing with the unpredictable course of this disease.

The first thing to know is that stress can make us feel worse, whether upsetting our stomachs or knotting our neck muscles. Many people with MS say they experience more symptoms during stressful times. When the stress abates, their symptoms seem less troubling or less severe. Therefore, learning to relax is essential.

But, relaxation isn't something you just decide to do. People have to learn to relax. You will need to discover what works for you, and you'll need to practice.

The Mind

<empty  /> MS and Stress
Everyone experiences stress. But what is it, and what role does it really play in MS?
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Taming Stress in Multiple Sclerosis
Simplifying daily life. Instructions on muscle relaxation, deep breathing, visualization, and more


Common questions about the emotional factors of MS

Managing Anger

Multiple Sclerosis and Your Emotions

Professional counseling and support groups can be very helpful in dealing with the anxiety and distress that may accompany MS. Contact your chapter for referrals. 1-800-344-4867

The Body

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Adaptive Tai Chi
Deep breathing and slow, gentle movements are the primary elements of this “moving meditation”—and it can be done sitting down

<empty  /> Exercise as Part of Everyday Life
Whether swimming or sailing, working out in a gym, or competing at a round of golf, the revitalizing enjoyment of healthy exercise comes in many forms.
<empty  /> Massage and Bodywork Therapy
Used to relax muscles, reduce stress, and relieve conditions exacerbated by muscle tension

Relaxation through Spirituality

Dr. Herbert Benson—"The relaxation response is a state of deep rest that changes the physical and emotional responses to stress."

"Azure Dreams” by Sylvia Moss
"Azure Dreams”
by Sylvia Moss
  His studies have shown that people can evoke this response, and lessen the effects of stressful thoughts, by repeating a prayer, word, sound, phrase, or muscular activity.

Read more on MS as a Spiritual Journey

There have been many studies, but there is still not conclusive evidence that stress causes exacerbations in people living with MS.


Relaxing Activities

The revitalizing enjoyment of healthy exercise comes in many forms.

You CAN...Get a Handle on Stress

Simplify Your Life
Got clutter? Experts offer shortcuts to restructuring both attitude and environment.


webcast icon Webcasts
(transcripts available)

MS Learn Online presents
C.A.L.M. Down and Manage Your Stress
Understanding Stress
Change and Accept
Let Go and Manage Your Lifestyle
Learn more about these and other webcasts

Catching Up On Sleep

MoonMS symptoms and the sleep problems that tangle up with them are many and diverse. Some are directly related to symptoms; some may be caused by the location of MS lesions within the brain. Others may stem from stress. Sleep specialists have a variety of pharmaceutical and behavioral treatments to offer. Read more


Resources on sailing, hiking, camping, diving, skiing, and much more!

Resources for individuals with disabilities


Additional Information...

Last updated August 16, 2007