The Power of Kindness When Managing MS
- by Shauna F.
- January 07, 2019
The power of kindness is contagious. After I was diagnosed with relapsing multiple sclerosis (RMS) more than 11 years ago, it really rang true. The kindness others showed me after my diagnosis and continue to show me has helped me cope with this disease.
I can still remember the flowers, cards, and words of encouragement from friends; people who I hadn’t talked to in a long time also reached out to me to see how I was doing. I soon realized I wasn’t alone in this—people cared for and loved me and above all, wanted me to know that. Hearing the words, “I’m here for you,” started to chip away at some of my fears. I also found comfort and support from the National MS Society, NMSS groups and local support groups.
On the other hand, not everyone knew exactly what to say or what to do, but that was okay too. One friend just hugged me—little did she know, that hug meant more to me than anything.
Being a medical social worker, I know how kindness and words of encouragement matter and can change a person’s whole day, no matter what disease or obstacle they might be facing. Aside from lifting that person’s day, there is also great satisfaction in showing kindness. A simple statement – an “I’m here for you” – a hug, goes a long way to preventing someone from feeling isolated or alone. The more people reached out to me, the more I wanted to pay it forward. A few of my favorite acts of kindness include:
- Giving a hug
- Showing a smile
- Listening...really listening (engaging in eye contact, nodding to validate their feelings and giving a warm smile when needed.)
- Offering a genuine compliment
- Sending a note in the mail to check in on a loved one or friend. This always brings a smile to my face!
- Spending time together. Keep MS-friendly activities in mind. Puzzles, movies, evening walks, and low-impact yoga classes are all great options!
- Give a Lift on social media for a quick pick-me-up.
These are just a few things I try to do for those I know who are affected by MS, but also my friends and family. And the more I do these, the better I feel, too!!! How have you experienced the power of kindness during your own MS journey? What tips do you have for those wanting to help? If you enjoyed this blog, you might enjoy our blog with tips to build relationships while living with RMS.