Ask the Expert – Anxiety

Featuring Barry A. Hendin, MD 

Headshot of doctor Barry Hendin, chief medical officer for MSAA
Barry Hendin, MD

Question: Is anxiety a common symptom of MS, and if so, what are the signs and symptoms? 

Answer: Anxiety is, indeed, a common symptom of MS. It is estimated to occur in almost half of the MS population, at some point. It often coexists with depression but can occur independently of depression. Unfortunately, anxiety is under-recognized and undertreated due to the clinical emphasis on depression alone. 

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Spring Awakening

As the winter months dwindle into our rearview, spring season awakens and brings the opportunity to refresh our mind, body and soul. Spring season brings longer days, warmer weather and a plethora of natural beauty which allows us to reconnect with ourselves and the world around us.

After a long and dreary winter, stepping outside on that first warm day of Spring can welcome a sense of liberation. Feeling the warmth of the sun on our skin has a calming effect and the gentle breeze is simply refreshing.

Spring awakens the beauty of nature – birds singing, flowers blooming and lush greenery. This season more than ever is the ideal time to connect with nature. Going for a leisurely walk or sitting outside and listening to the sounds of nature is good for the soul. You can enhance this experience by practicing meditation or mindful breathing. Close your eyes, quiet your mind, and take a deep breath in…. It may sound simple, but mindful breathing is a great tool to be present in the moment and feel more grounded and centered in nature.

Unplug to recharge. Without a doubt, one of the best parts of spending time outdoors is disconnecting from our screens. In the world we live in today, it’s easy to get consumed by our screens, whether it’s our phone, laptops or television. The Spring season is the perfect opportunity to take a break from technology and immerse ourselves in nature. Disconnecting from screen time can allow us to focus on the present moment and listen to our mind, thoughts, and feelings.

Spring is a season of renewal. It brings forth the opportunity to refresh our mind, body and soul and connect with nature. Take advantage of the longer days and pleasant weather. It can be as simple as opening a nearby window and listening to the sounds of nature or grabbing a chair and sitting outside. Enjoy the simplicity and beauty of nature, and who knows, you may even discover new passions and interests along the way.

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A Life in Full Bloom

I sat down to write this blog entry on a beautiful spring evening on my back patio. My daughter is soundly asleep, my husband and I ate a fantastic dinner and shared our favorite bottle of wine. My heart (and belly) was so full. A couple hours earlier, my husband, daughter and I took a stroll down to a local Italian bakery where every Sunday we buy fresh pasta and a few cannoli. As we were taking our walk downtown, I smelled the flowers blooming, and I thought to myself “these are the times I have always waited for.” My mind was calm, my body was able to move, and my heart was full.  

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A Fruitful Spring

Spring is here and what better season to enjoy and have some fun. Everything around is fresh and new. How much ever bleak your winter may have been, this season brings a promise of renewed beginnings. Here are some ideas of things to kick off your spring and make the most of this time.

Get back on your exercise regimen. Walking outdoors can improve your heart health and elevate your mood. Being active for some time during the day can strengthen your body and immune system. Ask your friend to join you and make this an enjoyable time that you look forward to in your daily routine.

For those who may have issues walking, grab a chair and enjoy the outdoors. If you own a binoculars, you can keep an eye for bird movement on trees and even catch the squirrels and bunnies chasing each other. You can also set up a bird feeder in your backyard and let the birds fly right in front of you. You can read a book in your backyard or patio while absorbing the sunlight and feeling the gentle breeze.

Plant some seeds. Caring for plants can be a rewarding experience. They help to improve the quality of air around your home. Besides that, it is a joy to see the seeds sprout and enjoy the fruits of your labor. The scent of the lilies, tulips, daffodils, and gladiolas in assorted colors can soothe your senses and refresh your mind.

Declutter your space. To stay on track, make a checklist of tasks that you would like to tackle in the coming days.  We tend to accumulate things over the years. Things we don’t often need and things that we can live without. Its time to sort it all. Involve the whole family and let everyone pitch in to do their part. Not only will you be proud of yourself at the end of this accomplishment, but it is also a great opportunity to donate clothes and other household items to those who need it.

It is a wonderful time of the year that is eagerly awaited upon.  A greet time to make memories and enjoy new experiences. So get out there and let the magic begin.

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Peep Rice Krispie Treats

These Peep Rice Krispie Treats are going to make you smile! They’re colorful, fun, and easy to make. I learned about these sweet treats on social media recently and thought I would give them a try. If you’re a fan of Peeps and Rice Krispie Treats, this recipe is for you! 

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Blooming Season

By: Diana Cruz

It is officially spring which means warm weather steadily approaching, flowers blossoming, and new outdoor activities. Although the blooming season presents many physically beautiful attributes, it introduces us to several internally mesmerizing properties as well.  Spring represents a number of rebirths and reawakenings – be they physical, emotional, or spiritual.  This time of year yields the perfect opportunity to restart and refresh your mind, soul, and body through the cleansing of old habits, mindsets, or practices and the addition of new, nurturing ones.

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Gretchen Steele – May 2023 Artist of the Month

MSAA features the work of many talented artists affected by multiple sclerosis as part of our annual MSAA Art Showcase. Each month we share these artists’ inspiring stories and beautiful artwork with you as our Artist of the Month. This month, we celebrate Gretchen Steele as the May Artist of the Month. Gretchen is from Coulterville, IL.

Dripping Orchid Dreams

About the Artist – Gretchen Steele

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