Thoughts that help me experience moments of thriving in spite of Parkinson's disease


1. Cope with negative emotions and experiences but don't dwell on them. Instead, focus on doing what you can to improve your condition.

Parkinson's disease can be a terrible disease, and most people with this disease experience more than our "fair share" of suffering. We cannot change that reality but we don't have to allow our thoughts to dwell on the negative. We can choose to focus on doing what we can to function well in spite of the disease.

2. Too much acceptance can be unhealthy. Try to find a healthy balance between acceptance and denial.

in my opinion, a healthy amount of acceptance includes accepting that I have Parkinson’s disease, accepting that I can benefit from taking medicines, accepting that I cannot do many things that I previously could do, and accepting that I need to take reasonable precautions about what I try to do.

In my opinion, a healthy amount of denial includes refusing to accept conventional expectation that I am doomed to becoming more and more disabled simply because I have Parkinson’s disease. These conventional expectations might be correct, but I have a chance to prove these expectations are wrong only if I live as if they are wrong.

3. I have Parkinson’s but it does not have me – not yet.

I would be allowing Parkinson's disease to have me if I allowed myself to dwell on my fears about what Parkinson's disease might do to me in the future. I keep Parkinson's disease from having me by consciously choosing to focus on enjoying my life today and doing what I can today to improve and/or maintain my abilities and minimize my disabilities.

4. Coping and thriving are attitudes - and we can choose our attitudes by choosing what we think about.

Psychologists have helped me learn that I have more control over my attitude than I previously realized. The result is that on most days I cope fairly well and on a few days I can feel like I am thriving. In addition, on the days when I am struggling to cope, I can change my attitudes quicker than in the past.

5. I can consciously choose how I react to Parkinson’s disease, and my choices can influence what the disease does to me.

For example, I maintain better function when I exercise. In addition, no matter what Parkinson’s disease does to me, I can control my attitude about how I live with it.

Merely surviving is a default attitude that my mind somehow chooses for me if I do not try to consciously choose the attitudes of coping and thriving.

6. The present moment is the only moment during which we have an opportunity to thrive.

We can take advantage of our opportunity to thrive only if we focus attention on the present moment.

We give up our opportunity to thrive when we allow our thoughts to dwell on things that happened in the past or things that might happen in the future.

In his book Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabat-Zinn wrote that life is nothing more than a collection of moments, and we can miss our opportunity to truly live if we do not consciously pay attention to focusing our thoughts on the present moment.

Don't worry so much about how unhealthy you might or might not become in the future that you forget to enjoy being as healthy as you are now.

Don't worry so much about what you might or might not be able to do in the future that you forget to enjoy doing what you can do today.

7. Inspiring quotes from John Wooden

Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.

It's what you learn after you know it all that counts.

Players with fight never lose a game; they just run out of time.

Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.

Love is the most powerful four letter word.

Make each day a masterpiece.

Don't look at the scoreboard.


Services provided

Exercise training: classes, individual training

Counseling patients and families on how to cope with the many challenges of Parkinson's disease, and how to progress toward thriving in spite of these challenges

Public speaking: to patients, health care professionals, and students

Links to photos and videos

Boxing speed bag


Alpine skiing

Hiking to summit of South Sister, Oregon (altitude 10,358 feet)

For more videos, go to my YouTube channel

Exercise is something we have to do for ourselves. No one else can exercise for us and no pills can do for us what exercise does for us. There is no such thing as an exercise pill.