Epilepsy Talk

Relax! | July 5, 2014

Feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and under water? Frazzled to the max?

You’re certainly in good company!

The challenges and demands of day-to-day life are a challenge just by themselves. Not to mention the triggers and seizures that can be a consequence.

So what can we do about it?

Obviously, relaxation techniques help prevent stress and anxiety, that lead to seizures.

In fact, many studies have found that greater than 50% of people experienced declines in seizure frequency just by using relaxation techniques!

I know, relaxation is easier said than done. But it CAN divert your seizures, or make the outcome a little less traumatic.

The best advice is to try to be pro-active. (I know, easier said than done!)

I’m sure you have your own techniques, but here are the ones that work best for me…

1. Deep breathing. I breath in through my nostrils with pursed lips from the diaphragm. (Note: ribs rise as opposed to tummy.) Then exhale twice as long as inhaling. Ten times in a row is best. Or you can try more if you’re feeling really tense. If you’re having trouble relaxing before going to bed, try 3-5 times. I try to make it a habit. The beauty of this is that you can do it any time, any where, and as long as you need to, until that nasty panic goes away.

2. Visualization. I think of a particular happy experience (or two) and sort of let it take over my body. Like watching the waves crash. Or eating a lobster roll in Maine.

3. Music. I take 30 minutes that’s just mine, get in a comfy chair, put on headphones and forget about the rest of the stuff. It’s so relaxing, that sometimes I feel like I’m transported to another place. Far, far away.

4. Walking a few miles or so. I try to take in my surroundings and forget about everything else. Sometimes it’s the trees, a bird flying by, flower gardens, a beautiful sunset. Or maybe watching other people (I admit it, I’m an incurable people watcher), cloud formations. Whatever presents itself before me. Being in the moment.

5. ‘Time-out periods’. They’re not just for kids! You may be overwhelmed or so stressed (or depressed) that you can’t take it for another moment. Giving yourself a time-out allows you to step back from the stressor or situation and defuse it. Think about the best way to handle it.

6. Join an epilepsy support group. You’d be surprised how many other people’s fears and concerns are just like yours. And together, you can help each other out. Also, there’s a feeling of accomplishment, sharing and of course, making new friends. After all, aren’t we all in this together?

7. I try to do something new that’s creative. (Obviously, after 45 years, it’s not writing.) Right now, I’m trying to learn more about my camera, so I can take some real pictures, other than just of my cat.

And last but not least: Laugh a little! Laugh a lot! How long has it been since you’ve seen a funny movie, heard a good joke, or just been silly??

 

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Resources
http://www.epilepsyaustralia.net/Publications/Archives/bellon_relaxation.pdf
http://www.webmd.boots.com/a-to-z-guides/epilepsy-relaxation-therapy
http://epilepsyontario.org/relaxation-technique/
http://www.lef.org/protocols/neurological/epilepsy_02.htm
http://www.epilepsy.org.za/download/files/73.pdf
https://www.epilepsy.com/sites/core/files/atoms/files/Lifestyle_modification_tips.pdf


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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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