Management through meditation: Balance can happen with MS

Jennifer (Jenn) Powell avatar

by Jennifer (Jenn) Powell |

Share this article:

Share article via email
Heat Sensitivity in MS | Main graphic for column titled

Last updated April 25, 2023

Expectations equal resentment. It’s simple logic, yet profoundly true.

Each time I set an expectation for myself or someone else, I set myself up for a potential letdown. Resentment happens as a byproduct of disappointment, despite the best intentions.

As my multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms grow in number and severity, I am keen to care for my emotional well-being. There is such an intricate and undeniable connection between our mind, body, and spirit that if one of them is off equilibrium, the other two will follow. I take a personal inventory of all three to maintain balance.

It is not a perfect science. But in doing so regularly, I can identify a spiritual or emotional malady just as I can a physical one. Meditation, guided imagery, and mindfulness help me to recognize these injuries. I can then work toward healing.

Our physical, emotional, and spiritual selves are interrelated. Each of these three aspects cannot help but affect the equilibrium of another.

When I fall from the MS, I hurt physically, feel embarrassed, and feel spiritually devastated. The pain is physical, the embarrassment is emotional, and the crushed spirit is spiritual. It is a powerful triad. Each works to enhance or detract from the other.

Similarly, stress affects each of these three. Stressors may begin as an emotional response, but the heightened heart rate, sweaty palms, and sense of foreboding encompass all three. The next time you feel stress, try to identify the impact this stress has on your entire being.

I learned about this triad of self to better manage my chronic pain. Utilizing a multidisciplinary approach to pain management helps me maintain a quality of life. It does not mean the absence of pain. I have, however, learned to manage pain (and my life) by caring for my entire self.

My days begin with a 20-minute guided meditation. I turn off my devices and find a quiet place. The familiarity has a Pavlovian effect even before it is complete. I use my mantras to center myself during stressful or painful moments throughout my day.

Mantras originate in Hinduism and Buddhism and are traditionally invocations. I use short, one- or two-syllable audible reminders to help bring my mind back to the center. The results have been notable not only within: My temperament is even-keeled and better able to metabolize stress.

Multiple sclerosis may thrive on stress. Me? Not so much.

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.

Damian Washington video 2 thumbnail