Senior Resources » Parkinson’s Path: Becoming Grateful, with Lianna Marie

Parkinson’s Path: Becoming Grateful, with Lianna Marie

Lianna Marie talks about gratitude. Why is it important and how is it possible? Studies suggest a sense of gratitude is connected to health. Grateful people sleep better and it reduces stress.

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*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.

The following Parkinson’s Path podcast is provided by Lianna Marie with All About Parkinson’s and Answers for Elders Radio. And welcome everyone back to Answers for Elders Radio and we are here again with Lianna Marie, who’s the founder of All About and author of everything you need to know about Parkinson’s, everything you need to know about caregiving for partner Parkinson’s and your upcoming book I, which we’re excited to learn all about, the Parkinson’s Path. Lianna, you have been so good at getting us really grounded in the process and you know it is a process and obviously you know, as we emerge, a lot of it is you know, there’s chemical changes to a body with a somebody that is affected with Parkinson’s, and today we’re going to talk about we just got done talking about depression, so now we’re going to talk about gratitude, about being grateful, and that’s a tough one. So interested in your thoughts. Yes, it is a big shift what we were talking about before. We’re going from one end of the spectrum to the other and saying how can first of all, why is it important to be grateful and how is it even possible? Can we be we grateful when we are dealing with the chronic illness and we we’ve talked about happiness and how how can we be happy? And I I believe strongly in gratitude in terms of the importance as a general something that we need to have in general for our health. And more and more studies are suggesting that in fact there is a relationship, a connection between someone who’s got who’s grateful, gratitude, has a sense of gratitude, and their physical health being connected now and I believe that. Yeah, totally believe that. It’s the attitude of gratitude right and we’ve and we’ve we’ve got that term now and I think a lot of people are starting to grab onto then saying there’s something here and at minimum, the studies are suggesting at minimum, grateful people will sleep better, feel just just have a better general sense of health. And we talked about learning how to reduce stress. Well, this is one great way to reduce stress. Is just a counter blessings, my mom would say. There’s a great song counter blessings one by one and it’s something that my grandma used to do and there is something to it really just to talk about always be at the thought of when something is going wrong, to see if you can change your mind to focus on the things that are good. And that’s what have why it’s so important to have this life of gratitude, especially when dealing with with chronic illness, something that’s just going to be with you for the rest of your life. You know, I am reminded of a spiritual mentor of mine who has said whenever life strikes you, I’m paraphrasing, with adversity, call out to your to God and say thank you, MMM, because it’s not that the adversity was chosen for you, but it is and the two times of adversity that you’re given the opportunity to gain the greatest seeds of wisdom. Absolutely, and I’ve always think about that. When you know, when shift happens, you know in life, those things certainly can help. It can help to say, okay, what’s the what’s the gift here? Yeah, what’s the opportunity for me to grow? What are the things that I can can grab from this experience and, you know, create with my life? And I think that’s important. Right, exactly, and so one of the things will and on that note, I was going to say earlier was that one of the things that they some studies have suggested on war vettes from Vietnam that those who were able to adopt this attitude of gratitude were experiencing far less post traumatic stress than those who didn’t. And again, this is something that we can take for our lives with Parkinson’s and saying we adopt this attitude to gratitude, this is something that can help our overall health or overall quality of life. And so the next question then is, okay, well, how do I do that? And so one of the things that I’ve talked about is, you know, this idea of acceptance, and acceptance being, you know, understanding that this is something that’s happened to me, but I don’t have to resign myself to a life of horrible nest for the next twenty years or how long I’m going to live. So acceptance being one of those things that we have to adopt first and then and you know what, and and part of that is there may be some also some grieving that you may go through a little bit of time where you’re adjusting to something new, your new life with Parkinson’s so you maybe, and it’s okay to grieve. There is a loss there, potentially de depending on I don’t even want to say potentially. There is a loss right so lust absolute. So you’re I don’t want to sure recode it, because so you’re going to be sad, but you’re grieving, grieving or more lie exactly. So we’re going to grieve a bit. But also to understand. I’ve thought I get emails from people all the time that are just completely destroyed after a diagnosis and they’re asking me, well, what’s my prognosis? Am I going to you know, is this just going to end me? And I said well, first of all, I’m not your doctor. I can’t tell you exactly what what your projection is, but but to know that people are living twenty, thirty years after their diagnosis. So if you’re grieving, that’s fine, but understand what you’re grieving because you made you may think it’s a much worse prognosis life ahead of you than it might be. Sure, so understand that. And you know, you know, one of the great things about being grateful is that we were. You were almost a leading to before is this. It kind of gets you focused on obviously gets you focused on the good. But this whole idea this when something bad happens to you, you can it can be a wake up call. And so a lot of people tell me, you know what bucket list it? You know what, I’m thankful for this bad thing in my life because I would never have gone this direction had it one for that. And isn’t it? It’s kind of sad actually in a way when you go, well, why don’t we have that sense of urgency all the time? But it went off and in life it just to it does take something kind of severe for us to go oh my gosh. Yeah, and I actually have a specific example of that. There’s this gentleman who’s like thirty, diagnosed at thirty one, and he was in he’s working the insurance company, Auto Insurance Companies, at his desk and he’s just doodling and all of a sudden he realizes, well, those doodles look pretty good and he was never any art had no artistic ability whatsoever. And then over time realizes doodles look better and better and better and his pictures look better and better and he has had Parkinson’s now for thirty years and he believes there’s a strong connection. He quit his job, he’s no longer in the insurance company, he is an an artist and his wills the most beautiful paintings and he’s actually like, I think that the honestly, the worst my Parkinson has got, the better my drawings. God, and is that crazy? What gave him joy, right, and is now giving those paintings and selling those paintings. And so here’s something great that’s had of something bad. Right. So we are talking again to Lianna Marie, who is the author of everything you need to know about Parkinson’s, everything you need to know about caregiving for Parkinson’s, and you have an upcoming book coming called the Parkinson’s paths. So lots of great content. Yeah, and we’re talking about this whole path, this journey that we’re on, and all the different things that come with being on the journey with Parkinson’s. And and, like I said about with this topic today, I’m being grateful. I love this idea of when this gentleman I was mentioning early with George La Coste, he was this painter all of a sudden that, you know, came out of nowhere and he really just he says he hates saying this, but he says it that Parkinson’s was the best thing that ever happened to me, because he was just going through life like he was just on auto pilot and and this disease grab hold of him and said look and he was just like wow, and his life completely changed. And again back to he’s lived thirty years and he’s still painting with this disease. We talked about, you know, other ways that we can be have a sense of gratitude. So maybe maybe you’re not that one person that gets the great gift of painting, but what are some things that you’ve gone through that, even on a daily basis, that you can be grateful for? And I had this idea. We did these some you know, those posted notes. So I called them Parkinson’s, Parkinson’s post it’s I land. So little things like I would say to mom, Hey, you know, she got moving again. She was all excited when we found that one song. We discovered a song, this particular song that she would really resonate with her and help or get on stock when she was frozen. So that was like a little Parkinson’s posted. Yeah, and we put that on the mirror and then another put a posted. I said, you know, she was really afraid of being eating out in public. She was very this is common. She gets very selfconscious because of her shaking akinesia, and we found some ways to make it less obvious that she had a tremor, but also her owning and she felt better about that. So that was a Parkinson posted was I overcame my fear of eating in public, for example. We talked about that and just the idea of you creating what are some things that you noticed during the day that you’ve had problem that you’ve that you’re grateful for being able to overcome that you that you didn’t before. Also writing. You know, this is an exercise that I found really helpful to is this idea of writing a gratitude letter. I someone told me about recently, and so, thinking in your past or even more recent you want to talk about writing to someone who’s done something great for you that you never acknowledged and just getting into that space of you know, I know we all have probably have somebody in our lives who just really did a lot for us, a really really meant a lot to us. And again it’s taking the focus of ourselves. I think really really helps and focusing on someone else in terms of getting out of that self pity. That’s easy to get into when we’re when we’re living in a chronic illness, and we’ve talked to that. But before and again, it’s not to say that it’s not okay to be grieving, it’s okay to be sad and all that stuff, but when we’re we’re trying to get into space of gratitude, writing a letter or doing these Parkinson’s post it’s just being determined and attentive to to write down or to acknowledge those things that have made us happy before and that are people in our lives, and that will also keep you connected, you know, acknowledging someone else and saying how thank full you are for them. Well then in turn give you back, they will give back to you and in and full because, as you know, people are very rarely are people upset of you if you’re thankful for them. I think too, is grounding yourself in the things that you’re grateful for is really important, even when you can’t think of anything, because sometimes, you know, when I when I was with Tony Robbins, and one of the things that he used to say is used to have that morning, power questions, in the evening, gratitude questions, right and at the end of the night to ask those questions and if you can say what are you most happy about in your life right now? You can think nothing right away. But if there was something, what would what would it be? That’s a reframe in the question, reframing. There were something that you’d be happy. But what are we to be yeah, I think that’s so important is always coming out in a different direction and asking that question in different way. Yeah, so you can always be there’s got to be one thing every day you can be grateful for. I love it. Keep looking for well, I love this attitude of gratitude and thank you so much for sure in this today. – You’re very welcome. – The preceding Parkinson’s Path podcast is provided by Lianna Marie with All About Parkinson’s and Answers for Elders Radio. To learn more about Lianna’s story, her books, the Parkinson’s Wall of Honor and more, go to


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Originally published June 01, 2019

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