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Exploring the Potential of a Brain Therapy Model for Parkinson’s

brain therapy

For my PhD research, I wanted to examine in more detail the processes by which humans move from traumatic injury, like traumatic brain injury, to a place of well-being. My clinical experience led me to consider two things that people drew upon.

I found that, firstly, they drew upon cognitive processes when recovering from trauma. Secondly, the recovery process was helped by the relationship between the injured and those who are deemed healing practitioners. I witnessed a special kind of relationship that directly affects healing.

It is this healing relationship that became the focal point for my PhD. But I never let go of my deep belief in neural plasticity and our ability to cultivate our own neural sprouting. Little did I know then that I’d be applying healthy doses of brain therapy fertilizer to my own neural branches in fighting the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s is complex in presentation, and it’s difficult to find a set of symptoms along with their progression that fits anything more than about half of the disease population. It’s been frustrating trying to advance my own cerebral rehab in the face of unclear guidelines. Whatever brain activities I choose each day are going to affect my brain health. To decide which brain activities are best, I need some clear brain therapy guidelines.

In my columns, I’ve written about creating a wellness map. This is a metaphor for brain therapy. Much of what I have written is tied to a brain model based on functional neuroanatomy — the connections between the prefrontal cortex and the thalamus. This relationship is illustrated in the following graphic:

(Graphic by Darcy Hoisington)

The graphic shows a “Grand Central Station” where sensory stimulus input comes in and gets routed back out to the appropriate destination. There are several “most popular” destinations: motor sequencing autopilot, making and carrying out plans, short-term and long-term memory, and actions or thoughts that are deemed to need more immediate attention, which often are emotion-laden.

Overseeing all of this is the open “conductor.” The conductor’s main responsibility is to make sure that the most important things get onto the tracks leaving the station before the less important things. The theory proposed here is that scenario-looping breakdowns, a malfunctioning autopilot, and exaggerated stimuli input are happening with information coming out of the station. This is information that got on the tracks without conductor intervention.

This theory proposes that these “conductor-Grand Central Station malfunctions” are major contributors to Parkinson’s symptoms. If we can decrease the effects of scenario-looping breakdowns, the malfunctioning autopilot, and exaggerated emotional stimuli, then the effects of Parkinson’s disease should be reduced.

The second part of this theory states that the conductor is still able to direct traffic out of the station. In addition to this, neural plasticity is a process that’s still available in the senior years of life, albeit more slowly. The conductor resides in the front part of our brain (frontal lobe) and is often referred to as “executive functioning.” I think that this term is too broad and lacks the specificity needed for me to design brain therapy. The success of my personal brain rehabilitation depends on my success with training the conductor. This is one of those frontiers of the exploration of wisdom.

I had been hesitant about putting such an immature theory into the public domain, but I was encouraged by a few short paragraphs in neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi’s book, “When Breath Becomes Air.” He describes performing deep brain stimulation (DBS) on a Parkinson’s patient. In the middle of the procedure, the doctor needed to shift the electrode a few millimeters within the thalamus. The patient was complaining of intense mood surges that had no connection to context, but a small shift of the electric stimulus provided relief.

What intrigued me was that the stimulation of the thalamus triggered surges of exaggerated mood that had no link to the context. I’ve termed them SEM (surges of exaggerated mood) attacks. It was exciting to discover that a tiny shift in the electrode was all that was needed and — poof! — emotions were stable and tremor was reduced. I thought, “Perhaps I can train my brain to do its own natural version of DBS?”

I am just beginning this journey and would appreciate any thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below.

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post Exploring the Potential of a Brain Therapy Model for Parkinson’s appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Big Boys Don’t Whine

asking for help

“Oh, poor me. I have lost so much,” I moan, hanging my head down and shuffling my feet.

My partner looks up from her book. “Did you say something, dear?”

“Just another rough period,” I say with an affect as flat as the tarmac at LaGuardia Airport. It’s a personal choice to continue working on acceptance without the self-pity. Some days are better than others, but I resist the cacophony of emotions of grief, sadness, anger, frustration, and anxiety. Mostly, I don’t believe their narrative.

I don’t want to whine about an inner dialogue that is based on old voices from a dysfunctional family past. I replace the “whine” with “I’m defining.” Not, “I’m OK, you’re OK.” Or, “Go to your happy place and you will be all better.” Or the Pollyanna philosophy of, “Really, I’m doing fine with it all. I really am. Believe me.” Instead, it’s an honest assessment that the glass is half-full and half-empty at the same time. If I am whining, then I am not defining all the possibilities to be found.

Moving to a new house at a new location causes stress. So far, my threshold management practices help about 90 percent of the time. There is no room for whining in my schedule these days. I don’t have enough personal resources to manage my chronic disease and finish all of the tasks needed to prepare for our move. Realizing this did cause some internal dissonance in the form of bemoaning the situation, but mostly it was because I didn’t know how to ask for help. So, I felt trapped — and that can get dark very quickly.

I mentioned that I am at the edge of my wellness map, an explorer surveying the wild frontiers of an unexplored wisdom regarding living well with a chronic disease. I ran out of answers. Stuck again.

Wait! Maybe other people have written about living with a chronic disease. Why have I been so slow to grasp the obvious? Or, as my partner says, “Uh, duh …” To my surprise, I found many books. I dove into one called “Dancing with Elephants” by Jarem Sawatsky.

As the author says, the book is not about frolicking with pachyderms. It is about how we, as individuals and as a community, address the elephant in the room: chronic disease. The author says that most of us don’t know how to offer help or ask for it.

I learned something through all of this. Asking someone for help is most likely to be successful when the request is fully understood, joyfully accepted, and matches the abilities of the person giving the help. It sounds like common sense. However, the answers are not straightforward.

Success is linked to the degree of fit between the one in need, the tasks to be done, and the talents of the other. This degree of fit has several parameters shaping its outcome, something I have spent more than three decades examining. Yet, when it came to the simple task of asking for help, I was stymied.

Maybe it’s like when guys don’t ask for directions and drive around for hours “mansplaining” that they are not lost while their partner fumes in the passenger seat. The problem is the cost of being lost inside my chronic disease has too high a price. I had to ask for help.

The result: My brother’s help was instrumental in getting us ready to move, and my stress level decreased, which reflected to my partner an improved ability to deal with the stress of moving. It was the first time in my life when I could not, due to the chronic disease, complete tasks by myself that were important to the well-being of my partner and me.

The turmoil that swirls around when even considering asking for help is linked to self-image. One of the problems of chronic disease is that it tears at the flesh of self-image. In the beautifully written book “When Breath Becomes Air,” author Paul Kalanithi speaks about the shifting sands of identity when the tsunami of chronic disease keeps knocking you down.

With a PhD in rehabilitation counseling, I know about adaptability, about making accommodations that are adjustments to the physical and cognitive changes of chronic disease. I just wasn’t ready to dive under the tsunami into the deep water of the human psyche to find ways of bolstering my new identity. I’m not a very good swimmer.

So, I’m replacing whining with defining those things most important to a self-identity that has meaning and purpose. This includes asking for help. My partner is smiling at me.

Do you have trouble asking for help? Please share your experience in the comments below.

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

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Don’t Worry, Be Happy: Parkinson’s and the Limits of Positive Thinking

worry

I don’t want to take away from Mad magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman or singer-songwriter Bobby McFerrin, but the idea that a pair of rose-colored “don’t worry” glasses will change my life for the better has never sat well with me. Pollyanna is not a guest in my home.

“Look at all the wonderful things in your life. All your needs are provided for — no worries,” someone said to my wife and me recently as we described the temporary ruin of stagnation. But pouring saccharin sentiments over the burnt toast of my life won’t remove its acrid flavor.

I often write about having a positive action-based wellness plan. My approach is attitude plus behavior equal consequences. My positive outlook is wisdom-based and engaged in compassion and not on my ability to see a half-full glass. One can try to view the chronic disease glass as being half full, but the reality is that it is also half empty. I wish that my muscular problems and other Parkinson’s symptoms were absent. Viewing the glass as half full is not an action plan — it’s more of an “I’m tired of this right now” statement.

Many authors have extolled positive thinking: Norman Vincent Peale and Norman Cousins, among others. Choosing how to act, think, and feel creates patterns. We return to those patterns when times get tough. Another way of putting it is, “Fake it until you make it.” It seems vacuous to assume that “faking” happiness will remove the causes of unhappiness or make circumstances appear to be better than they are. Well-meaning people who propose the “don’t worry, be happy” solution don’t have a clear understanding of how Parkinson’s and other chronic diseases affect our daily lives. What we need is a well-designed and enacted wellness map — not rose-colored glasses.

Though my partner and I have moments of frustration and utter despair, we manage to pull ourselves up — as we have throughout our lives — to find the inner and spiritual strength that enables us to continue. It’s a lifelong habit for both of us, and as a team, we support each other through the continued challenges, taking turns with compassion and strength when the other one falters under the burden.

Do we worry? Yes, but we move gradually toward more acceptance. Are we happy? The glass remains half full, and we are grateful for the happiness and blessings in our lives. But it is now time to replenish the glass and move into deeper compassion, finding strength in the belief that all things happen for a reason and in their own time. We will not shy away from the work that needs to be done in our lives and for others with chronic diseases.

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post Don’t Worry, Be Happy: Parkinson’s and the Limits of Positive Thinking appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

A Scientific Model of Sanctuary Helps Me to Overcome Resistance

model

Each time I seek sanctuary, I face resistance. But fortunately, I’ve found a model of sanctuary that helps me to overcome that resistance.

The other day, I watched a lecture by cognitive neuroscientist Indre Viskontas, which was part of the video series “Brain Myths Exploded.” She spoke about the brain as having a continuous level of background noise, and conscious attention is given only to those stimuli that can break through that noise. The idea resonates with my theory of how a quiet mind can affect pain management. I hadn’t painted my brain model that way before, but I like the new colors.

Since my discovery of that concept, the signal-to-noise ratio idea crawled its way through my neural web of interwoven knowledge of various types of attention and their application to chronic disease recovery. We can link the practice of using sanctuary to promote well-being to the method of redirecting attention, including shifting perspective. Parkinson’s disease affects brain areas that are responsible for moderating emotions and attention and that also deal with stress and overlearned motor sequences.

I am less troubled by these chronic disease issues when sanctuary is in my life. Following is a model of how sanctuary works:

The model’s foundation comprises a set of assumptions that we agree to be true:

  • It’s alive!: The brain generates electrical and chemical energy and is either “on” or “off.” The latter implies brain death.
  • Brain specialization: Particular areas of the brain are responsible for specific functions, such as motor memory, pain awareness, sensory input, and motor control.
  • Use it or lose it: Use or nonuse of the brain correlates with neural branching or snipping. More branches correspond with improved functioning of that brain area and better communication with other brain areas. The more you use it, the easier it is to use. If you don’t use it, then it’s hard to overcome the resistance.
  • Consciousness is attention to signals above the noise: The brain is continually processing neurochemical signals that create a level of internal background noise — much of it subconscious. We attend to the signals we deem to be the most important.

The main body of the model is built on top of the foundation and provides some understanding of how sanctuary works to promote lasting changes in well-being. This part of the model includes:

  • Conscious perception is unfixed. The level at which signals exceed noise and become conscious perception is not set. The point at which we are aware of the stimuli coming into our brain changes based on the demands of the situation and our experiences with altered mental states — including lucid dreaming and mystic practices like deep meditation. At times, we are hyper-alert and time seems to slow down.
  • Perception of “noise” is changeable. The behavior of the “noise” can be altered through meditative practices. Instead of standing in an ocean with raging waves of noise, we can be dwelling in still waters. Changing the way that we hear noise alters the way that we perceive life.
  • Threshold tolerance levels can be altered. A signal threshold tolerance exists, which when exceeded, will result in dysregulated emotions. Meditative practices can increase threshold levels, and unhealthy practices can lead to a lower threshold tolerance.

The final piece of the scientific model of sanctuary is the practice of early detection. By using sanctuary to provide an early warning, we can avoid the consequences of dysregulated emotions. The development of an early warning system has a significant impact on wellness. The sooner I can detect an abnormal increase in signal intensity — pushing me over the top and leading to the possibility of my spinning out of control — the more likely my success at controlling the threshold will be.

Sanctuary works because it supports my internal early detection system. This happens because of shifts in attention, perception, and possibility of change. Shifting into the “between” is a new way of seeing old problems or models.

The three most important steps I can take to manage my chronic disease are:

  1. Have the best medical team in place.
  2. Exercise, sleep, and eat well.
  3. Practice using sanctuary in combination with a wellness map.

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post A Scientific Model of Sanctuary Helps Me to Overcome Resistance appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

The Role of Sanctuary in Life with Parkinson’s

sanctuary

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation,” wrote Henry David Thoreau while sitting on the edge of Walden Pond.

We live in a post-9/11 world where income disparity threatens the pillars of well-being in democratic nations. Kings of the oligarchy are viewed as pallbearers to the American dream.* Lost hope, anxiety, and absence of discernment fuel the flames of desperation. But exposure to the world doesn’t mean we need to become like the world. Instead, we can find peace in sanctuary.

A writer and philosopher, Thoreau lived self-sufficiently in a cabin he built himself — what we now refer to as “off the grid.” He wanted to see if it was possible to break the chains of desperation by choosing to live a simple, unencumbered life. Thoreau paid homage to the existential mystics and philosophers before him who found the true self only through the death of the ego. Letting go of old ways is not easy, but the rebirth process can be enveloped and nurtured in a healthy sanctuary.

Sacred healing places are part of the human experience. These sanctuaries exist all over the world and are utilized by a variety of cultures. Thoreau might argue against my calling Walden Pond a sanctuary, but the reverence he held for the place and the support it offered during his metaphysical journal fits my concept of a sanctuary.

You don’t have to don a bearskin while running to the outhouse on a frosty morning to enjoy the benefits of a sanctuary. The beauty and sacredness of sanctuary can be created almost anywhere if we think of it as a special place of reverence, where we find rejuvenation. First, we must set aside time throughout the day to embrace our sanctuary. Then, we can gradually eliminate the worldly toxins that creep into our lives, replacing them with beauty that inspires an internal shift toward well-being.

Sanctuary has always had its roots in the natural world, like a garden or a park (the “N” in the CHRONDI Creed). But sanctuary is also found in the mind, soul, and heart. My sanctuary is a holistic healing space that helps me manage pain and the “off” periods that come with Parkinson’s, as well as mitigate the negative effects of a bad day.

Most importantly, sanctuary is a safe place in which to let go of life’s stresses. You don’t need to be an aesthetic — someone who gives up worldly pleasures – to embrace moments of well-being within a sanctuary. It is more about letting go of our attachment to things, as attachments constrain our freedom and limit our access to the full benefits of sanctuary.

The question I ask myself is, “Would you walk away from all that you own to better understand the voice crying in the wilderness?” Twice in my life, I have done exactly that. It was not an easy decision for my family, as there were moments of voluntary poverty, but it is not the poverty that brings the radiance of sanctuary into view. It is the ability to let go.

In my research on advanced empathy, I described a series of experiences that are common to the healer (practitioner) and the patient (participant) when sharing a facilitated well-being moment. They are:

  • Agreement: The practitioner and participant reach a mutual agreement regarding the purpose of the relationship.
  • Resistance: There is always resistance to sitting in a sacred space to experience well-being. This resistance can be explored if the sanctuary is seen as safe, and there is trust in the possibility of well-being as an outcome.
  • Letting go: Catharsis is facilitated.
  • Well-being: Moments of well-being are experienced.
  • Meaning: Both participants derive meaning from the experience.

All five of these experiences are enhanced when the participant and the practitioner are surrounded by and have embraced the sacredness of sanctuary. In the same way, our individual journey of wellness mapmaking is enhanced by sanctuary. It starts with an agreement on defining your personal sanctuary, your relationship to it, and how to use it.

The next few columns will explore how to use sanctuary. For now, share with our readers a description of your sanctuary.

*The baby boomer generation has been asked, “Do you think your children will have a better life than you?” Only a minority answer in the affirmative.

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post The Role of Sanctuary in Life with Parkinson’s appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Having a Wellness Map and a Healing Perspective Can Lead to Well-being Moments

wellness map

A man walks into a store and asks for a map. The storekeeper responds, “We have lots of maps. Where are you going?” The man snaps, “Anywhere but here.” The shopkeeper says, “Sorry. We don’t have a map to ‘anywhere but here.’”

When I was first hit with a sudden loss of vision, I wanted to escape. Anywhere was better than here. I thought I had lost my way to well-being because all I saw was a distorted view of life through my obscured vision. It seemed as if I had no wellness map. It took me a while to realize that there is no wellness map to “anywhere but here.” Instead, a wellness map can help us move toward an increased probability for well-being moments. The first step in that direction is to gain a perspective that promotes healing.

A well-being moment can be described as bliss, flow, mystical, and healing. It is characterized by clear euphoria, awe, sense of time loss, a shift in perception, and wisdom. Well-being moments are holistic, touching mind, body, emotions, and soul. These characteristics distinguish them from artificial “feel-good” moments.

Parkinson’s is a long, gradual, progressive disease with many changes and losses. The CHRONDI Creed illustrates some of the changes I made along the way to my wellness map. I had moments when I realized the extent of my loss — in my physical stamina, my ability to work, my coordination, and my ability to easily engage in activities that I had previously enjoyed. Many of the changes incorporated a shift in perspective, which I described in a previous column.

Following my vision loss in combination with my Parkinson’s, the first tweak I made to my wellness map was to stop perseverating on the loss and to shift to seeking wisdom. This adjustment involves more than moving past grief and accepting the loss; it is a shift of focus away from loss, disease, and suffering, and on to what has been gained in this new Parkinson’s reality. The first tweak to the wellness map is shifting the perspective about the trauma to allow for more moments of well-being.

Some people are confused about well-being. Much suffering is linked to chasing after its feel-good aspect. Some think that the fleeting feel-good moment is all that there is as they reach out and grasp — or purposefully try to create — that moment of rapture. Grasping the butterfly destroys its wings; not grasping allows wellness to unfold. Tweaks to a wellness map are aimed at opening the possibility for well-being moments to occur and holding open that possibility with compassion, lightness, and patience. I have had times when I’ve lost a sense of well-being and had trouble using my map, but shifting to a healing perspective helped me to find my way back.

Do I have moments when Parkinson’s wears me down or makes me frustrated? Of course. Does my vision loss sometimes feel like “just one more thing” I’ve lost in my life? Absolutely. But each day is spent with the intent that I can continue to create my wellness map and walk toward a sense of well-being despite these challenges.

Having Parkinson’s and vision loss does not make me less of a person — to myself, my family, my friends, and my contributions to the world at large. These challenges merely represent a new way of seeing and interacting with the world to which I can adjust.

I believe that events are intertwined across time and space. My vision loss was connected to more of my life, including how I experienced Parkinson’s, than I was willing — or perhaps able — to understand at the time. The shift in perspective helped me to understand the meaning of my experiences, decrease the angst, and increase the frequency of well-being moments.

Well-being moments cannot be forced to happen. Alternatively, we create a life, an inner relational space, that is more conducive to the occurrence of well-being moments. Learning how to wisely access a shift in perspective is an essential part of living within that sacred relational space.

Well-being moments are characteristically difficult to describe. Perhaps we can come together and share our experiences of these moments in the face of Parkinson’s, and in doing so, expand our collective understanding.

Please share your well-being moment experiences in the comments below.

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post Having a Wellness Map and a Healing Perspective Can Lead to Well-being Moments appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Wellness: Finding the Way to Well-being

well-being

Wellness is the map of actions and thoughts that we use to guide us toward a higher quality of life — one with more well-being moments. Our wellness map is tailored to meet our individual needs and must be flexible and adaptable. Life throws out frequent curveballs, and human resilience depends on how well we can adapt our wellness map. I have Parkinson’s, and I continually tweak the wellness map to the changing conditions of this progressive disease.

My new onset of vision loss required more than tweaks; it called for some significant changes to my wellness map. Understanding the basic structure of a wellness map is helping me to find my way to further moments of well-being.

The process of making a wellness map involves a design that meets individual needs, accesses available resources, is implemented, and is followed up. A successful wellness map will utilize the resources available to the individual, including support, strengths, and history of well-being experiences. The wellness map should be implemented with compassion and sacred intent. Finally, a follow-up will evaluate the map’s success. These processes are all intertwined into a holistic view of wellness.

Few of us are professionally trained in all of the complexities of human wellness. We need knowledge of illnesses and available treatments, and also the wisdom about the efficacy of wellness possibilities. We require wisdom from the experts to keep our wellness map functioning at the highest possible degree. The process of choosing the experts and incorporating their wisdom into our personal wellness plan is tied into the science of human decision-making.

Each of us has individual wellness needs, and we use our own decision-making processes to design and implement our wellness map. The CHRONDI Creed contains the fundamental elements for building a Parkinson’s wellness map, but it doesn’t address the process of upgrading one’s personal map in the face of new trauma.

Vision loss affects Parkinson’s in ways that I am still understanding. Vision has been a big part of how I enjoyed the beauty and science of the world. Writing, science research, photography, artwork, flower gardens, viewing the world with its multitude of colors and shapes provided me with hours of enjoyment. Loss of vision left me feeling disconnected from life. Things didn’t look as bright and beautiful as before. The pleasure that I once received from visual stimuli was not the same, resulting in a deeper understanding of how important “pleasure chemistry” and happiness are to the treatment of Parkinson’s — and the risks of losing that or trying to replace it artificially. My new wellness map will take all of this into consideration.

Some days I have no clear vision of what I need to do (no pun intended). Shifting to the basics helps — exercise, eating well, quiet mind, and gratitude. It’s a focus on healing, with little language (internal and external) about feeling sick. This doesn’t mean I should ignore my physical ailments and the treatments. It means that the sickness treatments are wrapped up in a comforting blanket of wellness. Sometimes, fatigue hits hard, and I don’t have the energy to pursue wellness mapmaking. Back to basics: rest, meditate, and let it go. I will continue tomorrow. Build patience and compassion into the wellness map.

Redesigning a wellness map is about choosing wisely how to use your time. Stay away from toxic thinking and behaviors and avoid unhealthy environments. Spend more time engaged in wellness-related thoughts and actions — those that have the greatest potential for leading to moments of well-being. Focus on being well, rather than complaining about suffering.

One carves out a little piece of time from the large amount dedicated to thinking or acting in response to sickness, and then allocates that little block of time to wellness. The wellness map is built with a practice of thought and action that bolsters the healing process and helps to hold open the door to more moments of well-being. It takes resilience, patience, and hard work to forge an improved wellness map. But it is never too late to start working on it.

What changes have you had to make to your wellness map recently?

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post Wellness: Finding the Way to Well-being appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.