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Super Strategies
 

A white knight and a black pawnHave a game plan: Are you already experiencing cognitive difficulties? Maybe you forget where you have put things, or find it hard to follow conversations? It can be frustrating and annoying, but there are ways to help. You can adopt strategies to help you to keep on living the life that you want to lead. These include playing to your strengths by making good use of unaffected functions, and more generally incorporating brain health into your daily routine. There are some great strategies that you can use to compensate for lost functions, but since we are all unique there is no one-size-fits-all solution. So you may need to experiment with a few of the tips and strategies outlined in this section to come up with your own game plan. Try a technique and if it doesn’t work, don’t despair! Try another until you find what works for you. Also, if you have tips or have discovered something that works well for you why not share it – it might work for others too.

Avoid the clampers

Some factors can make cognitive problems temporarily worse. They include tiredness, some medication and recreational substances. Avoid the cognitive clampers.

We know that a lot of people with MS experience changes in cognitive function – particularly when it comes to the information shuttling around the brain that helps us to plan, communicate and generally make decisions and solve problems.

It is really important to know that some other factors can temporarily impair your cognitive functioning. Temporary cognitive brakes can include fatigue, tiredness, emotional changes, drugs, relapses, physical restrictions and lifestyle changes.

Some medications used to relieve non-cognitive symptoms of MS can produce side effects that mimic cognitive dysfunction. It is really important to discuss these issues with your medical team to optimise cognitive functioning while inhibiting disease progression and managing pain and other symptoms.

Substances that affect the central nervous system, such as alcohol and marijuana, may interrupt cognitive functions too and make those symptoms worse.

Overall your best bet is to avoid the cognitive clampers – recreational drugs, alcohol, stress, and isolation and try to manage fatigue and adopt healthy sleep habits – where you can and instead keep the cognitive wheels moving with physical exercise, social activities, and mental stimulation.

Forget the stress

It can be frustrating not being able to find the right word, or struggling to speak as fast as you would like to. When this happens, here’s something important to remember: ban the stress. This is because stress can actually interfere with memory, learning and concentration. In practice, this makes it even harder for you to remember or think clearly. So if you feel the stress welling up, try to stay calm, relax, take a deep breath and give your brain the time and the space that it needs to do what you want it to do. Give yourself permission to take as long as you need and don’t be afraid to ask others to give you the time that you need. Everything doesn’t have to happen at breakneck speed.

Check out the strategies below to support the cognitive domains most commonly affected by MS.

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Strategy 1 - Bionic Memory

We live in such high-tech times that you have probably already used...

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Strategy 2 - Turn off auto-pilot

You are lying in bed and trying to remember whether you switched the...

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Strategy 3 - Heed the speed bumps

Some people with MS report experiencing a slowing in...

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Strategy 4 - Step away

Are you finding it a challenge to plan your week or perform ...

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Hello Brain For more info on brain health visit Hello Brain
 

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