“The most beautiful people I’ve known are those who have known trials, have known struggles, have known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.” Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
“Talents are best nurtured in solitude, but character is best formed in the stormy billows of the world.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Introduction: Living well with Parkinson’s takes a strong response from you. Your Parkinson’s will never take a break; you will encounter minuscule changes occurring in both motor and non-motor regions. No doubt this sucks, but your character and attitude, and the willingness to take charge of the rest of your life will matter. Here is a suggestion to jump-start the New Year.
“People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.” Eleanor Roosevelt
Daily Mantra for a New Year’s Resolution: It is that time of year again, the start of another year. The lease on our body renews for the year. The effort against our Parkinson’s continues on a daily basis. This year add a daily mantra. Pick a character trait, find a quote or a saying that can bolster your stance against this disorder. Do it to enhance your footing or just read something daily that makes you smile. Go for it. Design a target-zone to your liking (one is provided below as an example). Here are ten personal strengths/character traits for you to consider. Start every day with a daily-life plan and read your daily mantra. The goal is to help you to commit to living life to the fullest extent, all at the same time to managing your Parkinson’s. The key is to live your life living.
“Either I will find a way, or I will make one.” Phillip Sidney
Gratitude Defined: grat·i·tude /ˈɡradəˌt(y)o͞od/ Noun: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
Gratitude and Parkinson’s: Numerous studies have been published linking good health with the feeling of being thankful. Most of us have reason to feel grateful for what we’ve gotten so far in life, even in the presence of Parkinson’s. It’s not fair that you have Parkinson’s, but gratitude should still be part of your life. Practice gratitude and your health will gain an edge.
Gratitude Quote: “Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie
Gratitude Mantra: “I am convinced that gratitude will lead you to the fountain of hope; it is good for your heart, soul, mind, and practicing gratitude will be beneficial for your life with Parkinson’s.” Frank C. Church
Hope Defined: /hōp/ noun: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
Hope and Parkinson’s: To be hopeful is to be healthy. To be hopeful that something will happen in a positive way for our Parkinson’s is truly a healthier attitude and response to this disorder. Being hopeful is your internal sunshine for use during those cloudy-and-rainy days that are likely to happen with our Parkinson’s.
Hope Quote: “Hope is passion for what is possible.” Soren Kierkegaard
Hope Mantra: “My hope is you find reassurance that your life and world are still meaningful, and you are not battling Parkinson’s alone. We know and we understand what you are confronting each day; thus, be persistent and remain hopeful.” Frank C. Church
Believe Defined: be·lieve /bəˈlēv/ verb: accept (something) as true; feel sure of the truth of.
Believe and Parkinson’s: The clock began ticking many years ago with our disorder. You must believe that there are steps you can take to slow down the progression. Maybe it’s a positive attitude, maybe it’s more exercise; but whatever you do believe it can help you in the long run. I spent a year pretending that what was happening to me was unrelated to Parkinson’s, which was wrong. The minute I believed what was happening put me in-line to resist Parkinson’s menacing hold on me.
Believe Quote: “Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.” William James
Believe Mantra: “I believe that each new day renews my chance of slowing the beast named Parkinson’s. My daily mantra is to never give up; I refuse to surrender to Parkinson’s.” Frank C. Church
Positivity Definition: pos·i·tiv·i·ty /ˌpäzəˈtivədē/ noun: the practice of being or tendency to be positive or optimistic in attitude.
Positivity and Parkinson’s: It is easy to say be positive and see if this impacts the progression of your disorder. However, being positive realigns your entire body to focus on the energy necessary to succeed. Being positive is like walking with the wind; life will be easier, and the direction of positive force will enable you to resist for a longer period.
Positivity Quote: “Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out.” John Wooden
Positivity Mantra: “Each day we wear a cape on our back labeled with the letters PD (Parkinson’s Disease). Each day we bring a positive reaction to handle our symptoms, I am convinced we begin to fade those letters; we begin to gain control of our symptoms.” Frank C. Church
Persistence Definition: per·sist·ence /pərˈsistəns/ noun: firm or obstinate continuance in the course of action despite difficulty or opposition.
Persistence and Parkinson’s: Take a stand, put your foot forward, stomp it on the ground and say that’s it no more progression. Go ahead and get tough on your fight against Parkinson’s progression. Like when walking in the sand at the beach requires a concerted effort. Likewise, persistence allows you a more focused and driven approach to dealing with your disorder. Hopefully, being persistent means, you can walk on the sandy beach and work to resist the slowly progressing action of Parkinson’s.
Persistence Quote: “Energy and persistence conquers all things.” Benjamin Franklin
Persistence Mantra: “When you have an incurable, progressive neurodegenerative disorder, your effort needs to be constant and unwavering. Your persistence in dealing with this minute-by-minute really will make a difference.” Frank C. Church
Mindfulness Definition: mind·ful·ness /ˈmīn(d)f(ə)lnəs/ noun: a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
Mindfulness and Parkinson’s: Mindfulness will be a catalyst in your life. Practicing mindfulness will ignite your inner focus, help promote calmness, enable your productivity, and provide you a renewed, refreshed outlook on life. Try it today; listen and watch your breathing. Follow the rhythm of your breath in and out, and focus only on that process for a moment (or longer). It may take the edge off of your Parkinson’s for just a few minutes, but that’s still a very positive response.
Mindfulness Quote:“Give yourself a gift: the present moment.” Marcus Aurelius
Mindfulness Mantra: “To my thinking, this comment by Michael J. Fox is a nice description of mindfulness in the presence of Parkinson’s where he embraces (accepts) the current moment, ‘There’s an idea I came across a few years ago that I love. My happiness grows in direct proportion [to] my acceptance and inverse to my expectations. That’s the key for me. If I can accept the truth of ‘This is what I’m facing — not what can I expect but what I am experiencing now — then I have all this freedom to do other things.’” Frank C. Church
Adversity Definition: ad·ver·si·ty /ədˈvərsədē/ noun: adifficulties; misfortune.
Adversity and Parkinson’s: Adversity will be upon you during this disorder, and our path will not be trivial (just being honest). However, facing adversity in the presence of Parkinson’s gives you strength, courage, and, ultimately, the will to survive. Lean into your Parkinson’s, make it uncomfortable, and make it squirm as a reminder that you’re still in charge of your life.
Adversity Quote: “It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself, that determines how your life’s story will develop.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Adversity Mantra: “The road ahead will not get easier; however, no matter how difficult the future becomes, we can meet it headlong to accept the challenge.” Frank C. Church
Strength Definition: /streNG(k)TH/. 1. the quality or state of being strong, in particular the emotional or mental qualities necessary in dealing with situations or events that are distressing or difficult. 2. a good or beneficial quality or attribute of a person or thing
Strength and Parkinson’s: You really do have the strength to handle Parkinson’s. You were born with the groundwork to mount a challenge. Use your innate sense of well-being to fuel-the-fire, lighting your strengths internally, and hopefully, you will feel the resistance. Yes, strength is both physical and emotional. Work to increase both sides of your strengths.
Strength Quote: “It’s not always necessary to be strong, but to feel strong.” Jon Krakauer
Strength Mantra: “Strength is found in each of us. For those of us with Parkinson’s, we use our personal character strengths to bolster our hope, courage, mindfulness/contentment/gratitude, determination, and will to survive. Stay strong. Stay hopeful. Stay educated. Stay determined. Stay persistent. Stay courageous. Stay positive. Stay wholehearted. Stay mindful. Stay happy. Stay you.” Frank C. Church
Learning Definition: learn·ing/ ˈlərniNG/ noun: the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, study, or by being taught.
Learning and Parkinson’s: Our education began the day we received our diagnosis. Each hour you are alive, you are learning about Parkinson’s. So what are you learning? Learning how to survive and keep going for many years to come. The Parkinson’s community is terrific by your willingness to understand our disorder. You are always trying hard to learn and live forward.
Learning Quote: “Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” Albert Einstein
Learning Mantra: “We are learning that exercise is good for what ails you, especially living with Parkinson’s. Simply put, they studied how physical activity in daily life is linked to the PwP’s subjective condition (that is, their wellness, happiness, confidence, concentration, and coping strategies).“ Frank C. Church
Courage Definition: cour·age /ˈkərij/ noun: strength in the face of pain or grief.
Courage and Parkinson’s: On some days you will need a small amount of courage to meet the challenge of living with Parkinson’s. And on other occasions, you may need a larger dose of courage. How do you find this courage? You close your eyes, breathe in and out several times, and try to regroup your thoughts. The simple fact that you are still here and still you speak loud-and-clear that you possess a tremendous amount of courage.
Courage Quote:“Courage is found in unlikely places.” J.R.R. Tolkien
Courage Mantra: “We may take a vacation but the symptoms of Parkinson’s slowly evolve and will never rest. Your courage and strengths, both physical and character, will be needed and used every day forward.” Frank C. Church
“Life is filled with unanswered questions, but it is the courage to seek those answers that continues to give meaning to life. You can spend your life wallowing in despair, wondering why you were the one who was led towards the road strewn with pain, or you can be grateful that you are strong enough to survive it.” J.D. Stroube
Cover photo credit; https://www.loe.org/shows/segments.html?programID=15-P13-00002&segmentID=6