Finding Optimism in Parkinson’s

November 1, 2020

By Dave Ciaccio, Chair, Parkinson’s Nebraska

We all know that being optimistic in life can benefit our physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. Optimism is a mental attitude characterized by hope and confidence in success and a positive future. Optimists are those that expect good things to happen, where pessimists instead predict unfavorable outcomes. Optimistic attitudes are linked to a number of benefits including better coping skills, lower stress levels, better physical health, and higher persistence when pursuing goals.

Optimists tend to view hardships as learning experiences or temporary setbacks. Even the most miserable day holds the promise for them that “tomorrow will probably be better.”  Often, I’ll wake up early after a parkinson’s night’s sleep and my mind immediately tells me, ‘you have no energy to exercise this morning’. After throwing some water on my face and being thankful for the day, the negativism begins to disappear. I then exercise and find the negative thoughts have disappeared. I then try to maintain that optimism for the day.

Those of us on the journey with Parkinson’s can find it easy to focus on the daily burdens we carry. The burdens want to command our focus and attitude towards the day. It’s only natural these feelings arise, but the key is to give them only a few seconds of time, then cast them away. Turn to the first optimistic thought that follows and dwell on the happiness it brings and be thankful for that moment in time.