How to Be Happy Even When Living With Multiple Sclerosis

What do you do to be happy every day? How do you manage your day in order to have a positive attitude throughout? And last but not least, who said multiple sclerosis means that you have to be grumpy all the time? Breathe, this too shall pass.

Many people who have multiple sclerosis (MS) are prone to experience negative emotions. I wrote about it before, here. But your reality doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Having a positive outcome on life has been proved to improve mood, health and even help with disease management.

You are just as normal as the next person sitting next to you, as the people that pass you by on a daily basis. Just as normal as the people you see on TV or read about in magazines and newspapers. Every other person has some sort of dissability, be it social, emotional, intellectual, you choose! We are all a different mix of good and bad, of skills and talents, of health and illness. You are unique and the fact that you have or may have a dissability does not change that. Don’t let anybody tell you anything different. I surely don’t!

How I Found The Road For This Article

The other day I was watching a motivational video from Mimi Ikonn, the owner of a YouTube channel which mostly handles lifestyle, fashion and travel. The video I watched spoke about how to be happy. At the end of the video, she encouraged people watching to share the video with all the ones they want to see happy. I instantly thought of you, the fellow MSers. I thought about how can I adapt this to suit your needs? And then I got it! Read on to find out more…

The Eight Ingredients of Being Happy

1. Happiness is a choice.
You wake up in the morning and you choose the attitude you are going to have throughout the day. It can be challenging, more when you have MS. For some of you, the next day is an important source of anxiety, as you don’t know what it will bring. But despite that, make the choice to wake up with a smile. Be grateful of what you CAN do and focus on ways to improve your present condition. Woke up with fatigue and cog fog? Rest and breathe deeply, do some light movements and get out of bed. Choose to be happy.

2. Having positive people around helps a great deal.
Living each day with a chronic illness is no easy thing. Most of all if the ones you interact with are all doom and gloom. Try to cheer them up, to offer support. If they don’t change, avoid those negative individuals. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good. They don’t even have to be near you physically. Go online, find a community and make new friends. Exchange Facebook / Twitter / email / phone numbers and stay in touch. Have mentors, people you admire. Follow them, read inspirational books. Surround yourself with happiness.

3. Don’t watch the news on TV.
The constant stream of negativity that flows through it doesn’t do you any good. If there is a major change / disaster / celebration going on, you are most likely going to find out about it on social media or elsewhere on the internet. Choose the information that gets your attention. Select only the things that interest you and have a positive impact on your life as it is. Read about a new MS therapy, about living with MS stories, arts & crafts, all that sparks an interest in you. Watch happy things.

4. Meditate twice a day.
Of course, try reading about the entire process first. Do your research and find out what best suits you, your lifestyle and your needs. This is beneficial for you on so many levels: mind, body and spirit. You could also add prayer to it, if it makes you feel more comfortable. It’s all about mind relaxation and getting through to your calmer self. It works by calming the parasympathetic nervous system, which is an important component of your main nervous system. By deep breathing (inhale AND exhale), you relax all your important organs: brain, thyroid, heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, intestines and reproductive organs. It’s a full body experience and relaxation is one of the things with countless benefits for MSers. Meditate on your happiness.

5. Reflect on things that happen throughout the day...
...and even on those that are about to happen, by keeping a daily journal. For only 5-10 minutes a day you can write what’s going on through your mind and soul. Focus on the positives. What good experiences have you had today? What made you feel good? How are you going to spend the day? What are you going to do to make yourself feel better? Write your happiness.

6. Give hugs.
Hugs are proven to enhance brain wellbeing, by giving you that well-being state as you give and receive human energy. The power of touch is known to have healing properties (think of a massage). Plus you get to connect better to people around you, by showing that you are an open person and that they can approach you with ease (yes, you can do that from a wheelchair also!). Hug your way to happiness.

7. Love exists inside you to be shared.
Express what you feel by giving. Find the joy of helping another person with something. Send them an useful link, help them with groceries, you name it. Choose to help and show love to people. It will make you happy.

8. What’s your purpose in life? What do you want to do?
Find what makes you tick, what helps you on the long way. Make a goal of eating more healthy, of adding 10-15 minutes of light exercising to your day, start a blog and commit to writing an article every other day. Whatever makes you have a reason for getting out of bed each morning. A famous quote once said to tie your happiness to a goal, not to a person. Life is happier that way.

What If I Am Not Happy?

Even if you find yourself in the blackest of days and your MS has become unbearable and you think all is lost, know that IT IS NOT OVER! Life begins at the end of your comfort zone, and that’s not another cliche, it’s the truth.

There is always a reason why we feel unhappy and depressed. Share this feelings with people: family, friends, your nurse or neurologist, mainly with the ones you trust. Get things off your chest. You’ll be surprised how many have been through the same problems.

Take me for example: I was terrified of the Lumbar Puncture. I researched online and I panicked from what I read. I talked to close friends, on and offline and came to a conclusion: I was surrounding myself with negative thinking and information. Once I paused and did my best to calm down, I saw that others have been through this too, and all are well.

Breathe deeply! This too shall pass! Life has ups and downs anyway, and living with MS is like living in a rollercoaster, but hey! Keep your head up and SMILE! It will all be ok! I promise! Just follow the road to happiness.

The following months we'll go deeper into what it takes to become stronger: body, mind and spirit. To become the architect of your wished lifestyle. To become #strongerthanMS.

Until then, I thank you for being here. Liked this post? Share it with friends. Want to receive more articles like this right into your inbox? Add your email to the SMart Choosers list HERE. You’ll receive every new article and a monthly Newsletter of wonderful resources and insight, to help you make the smart choices that best fit your lifestyle.

Sincerely yours,