“Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.” Henry Van Dyke
I never thought that I could feel happiness with a chronic disease such as Parkinson’s (PD). I don’t feel fortunate to have PD, and I’m unlikely to write a book like Michael J. Fox’s called Lucky Man or in my case, Lucky Lady.
In my search for happiness, I needed to change my thinking. Instead of being preoccupied with terrible thoughts about having this incurable, chronic, progressive disease, I developed a different spin. My new thinking involves “it could be worse.” It would have been much worse if I had PD many years ago before Sinemet or if I didn’t have deep brain stimulation with competent programming, or if I wasn’t involved in a PD support group, or if I didn’t have a patient, loving husband,
When comparing myself to those in much worse circumstances, I feel guilty when it sometime seems as though I have PD Lite instead of full-blown PD.
Another effective strategy to shift my thinking is the realization that there are many diseases in life worse than PD. Many diseases are more fatal, painful and debilitating than PD.
Another helpful approach is focusing on what I can do instead of what I can’t do with PD. I can think, read, talk, walk, type, drive, volunteer, prepare meals, dance and occasionally play my accordion.
My changes in thinking have resulted in changes in my feelings about having PD. I am less bitter and more accepting of PD. I feel grateful for many things in ALL aspects of my life: my husband Tom, family and friends, being an American, living in Colorado, my blog readers, etc.
When it comes to expressing gratitude, I am more comfortable through my writing, while more awkward expressing myself verbally. William A. Ward said that “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” I have a lot of wrapped gifts that I need to distribute.
Celebrate your gift of gratitude on Thanksgiving and throughout the year.
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