How To Deal With Stress in Everyday Life

Hey there! Welcome to a new #HealthyThursday! As always, I am here with topics that are on your daily agenda, if you have or don’t have a chronic illness. Today’s area of interest is especially important if you do live with a condition such as multiple sclerosis. Let’s get into it!


During human evolution, individuals faced all sorts of dangers. Ranging from an angry mammoth chasing you because you poked it to hard in the foot, to the enemy army bombing your home town, it all had to do with stress.

These situations generated the fight-or-flight response, which is the hardwired psysical stress response your body has when facing any type of danger. Through it, you can either stand and fight, or run and hide. Depending on the situation, after the danger was is or you get used to it, the body relaxes, in order to resume its normal functions.

Our generation doesn’t have these kind of issues. We grew up after the World Wars, the majority of us even after or right at the beginning of the end (pun intended) of the Cold War.


So, what are the dangers we face on a daily basis?

Staying up to date with this fast pacing world, with its tech and developing interconectedness. You have to stay on top of the game if you want to adapt and “survive".

Work related deadline. Now that’s a hard one! You have to make it, because your job depends on it. Hence, survival.

The world being so open, we need our private space and time to unwind, to do our own thing. If someone tresspasess, we become agressive, moody or just sad. Our territory has been endangered. We must “protect” it and … fight for survival.

Enter the BIG problem of the 21st century: people are plugged in 24-7. This has been an issue created only about 80 or 100 years ago when our world began rushing. Think about it, even only 20 years ago, we had a slower pace. Living in 2015 got even faster. We like it, we immerse in it, we love all the social media, all the technology, we love it all!

But our body doesn’t!

How do I know this? Because I lived it. I payed my dues to stress and coping with the “treadmill” that our society is today. And I said stop. But about my reasons and for a more detailed story, you’ll have to be patient.

Long story short: at 28, in July 2014, multiple sclerosis slapped me in the face. With a whip. And I had to stop and relax.

To avoid that happening to you, let me talk a bit about stress and the effects it has on your body. I’ll try to be as brief as the information will let me, because I know your time is important, as much as mine is.


Stress helps you get passed “danger”, it is meant to be a short-term solution. When it becomes  long-term and it lasts too much, it can damage your internal organs. Its chemistry is based on cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine hormones. In bigger quantities, these three can cause bloodpressure, hypertension and increased risk of stroke.

You become a boiling pot: the heat gets higher, the pressure pumps up and you… pop! Of course you don’t want that! Who would? Can it happen to you even at an early age? Yes it can.

Moving on to the next issue caused by stress. The endothelium (the tissue that wraps around all your blood vessels’s and organs’s interior, acting like a protective blanket) can malfunction because of the constant presence of cortisol in the body. Thus leading to problems like leaky-gut syndrome and atherosclerosis.


Given the fact that this protective tissue exists all over the body, it’s possible that it also damages the blood-brain-barrier, making the brain vulnerable to outside cell environment. That is crucial for people with multiple sclerosis. White T cells can now freely enter and eat the fatty tissue surrounding the neurons, issue that helps brain cells communicate with eachother.

When your brain is high on stress, this gets communicated to the gut nervous system, through the autonomic nervous system. It can now interfere with the normal digestive processes, causing heartburn, increasing the waistline and affecting your gut bacteria.

You start eating comfort food, thus increasing the visceral fat (the one around your belly). This leads to the emission of certain inflammatory proteins called cytokines, favorable to chronic diseases and a surplus of hormones that get to influence your immunity. Even more than that: stress can slow down the action of your immune system, making you more susceptible to getting sick.

Some other colateral effects of stress are fatigue, lack of concentration, irritability, acne, feeling discouraged in facing other challenges that may appear down the line.

All in all, stress is a major problem that you need to face daily. It won’t just go away if you rest for a few hours and then get back on the treadmill. No. Really, it won’t!


Oh, did I mention that stress being an INNATE response you cannot get rid of it? Unfortunatelly you have to live with it. And so do I. Let me tell you how I deal with it and how you can do that also.

Getting off the couch might help. Seriously! Get up! Get outside if you can’t get up. Or simply get the window open and breathe deeply and stretch. There’s no such thing as I can’t. Really! Even with multiple sclerosis. Am I crazy?

Not really. The mind is the most powerful tool you’ll ever own. If you think you can’t… well… you won’t! Train it into a can-do attitude and you will gain more freedom. Even if just from the wheelchair. I know it’s hard. I can relate. Not been in that exact situation, but I had numerous times when I just stood in bed crying that my life is over and that I don’t feel like moving because my knee hurts, my forearm has a knife through it and my eyes are sore (this happened yesterday, by the way).

At 7 a.m. I sat up and began my daily routine. Meditated for 10 minutes, got up, drank my lemon water, layed down the yoga mat and did a 20-23 minute routine. Had a shower, then breakfast and sat down in front of my laptop and began brainstorming ideas for this post. Then it was time for my treatment. I injected my right arm, had a small brunch and began writing.

This is how determined I am. Are my eyes still hurting? Yes. Is my knee still bothering me? A bit, but yes. Is my forearm OK? Mostly, yes. But I did not write this to complain. I wrote it with the intent of helping you get passed everyday stress. I hope that you start building up more and more courage to face your challenges.

Start with stress. This way (these are advice, you can create your own coping mechanisms)!

Exercise daily. Even if you only do it for 10 minutes, even if you are sore, even if you don’t feel like it. It’s moving medicine to your body. It makes you feel good, feel the blood moving and it helps you feel stonger. (Plus it makes you lose weight! ;) )

Eat more vitamins! That includes seasonal and (as you can) locally grown vegetables and fruit (go easy on these, they DO contain sugar), fish and seafood (as you can afford, I’m not telling you to throw your savings out the window), chicken and turkey, rice, quinoa and WATER! Yes, I did mention the most ordinary item ever! Water hidrates and helps the body flush out toxins. Speaking of which: exclude processed foods (to make it simple, all that comes prepackaged and has igredients longer than 9-10 letters and for which you need to use Google), quit smoking(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! & !!!). Walking is better than any temporary and induced relief a ciggarette or a chocolate biscuit might bring you!

Relax. No, I don’t mean sleeping. That’s a metabolical regulating process. I talk about taking time to put your phone on airplane mode, unplugg from the treadmill, close your eyes and just be. Meditating, praying, just sitting is good. Choose the one of your liking. Yes, you do have time. 10 minutes in the morning after you wake up and 10 minutes at night before you go to bet should do the trick. If you have the time to check your Facebook, you sure have time to sit still.

Read a book, take a brisk walk, play with your kids or pet, watch a TV series or a movie, have a glass of wine, or start a blog, like I did! Everything that helps and makes you feel better.
And most of all, do whatever puts you in a zen-like mood, people! As long as it’s safe, legal (!!!) and healthy… do it all! I can’t give you a map to follow, it’s your life. I’m only here to support you through the process. I am here to inform and teach what I know.

This was all for this week’s #HealthyThursday! Thank you for reading and if you would like to receive my next articles right into your mail, subscribe to SMart Choice Lifestyle by filling your email adress in the box on the upper right. Join my SMart Warriors list to receive access to Premium content and many more!

Have a most wonderful day!


P.S. This article is dedicated to Shana Pezaro. Thank you for making me cry of hope last evening. See what I mean in the video here. Dear Shana, may all our hopes come true. Thank you for all your work as an MS advocate! :) Read more about the aftermath of the picture below, by clicking here.