Embracing the Power of Gratitude

Mary Beth Skylis avatar

by Mary Beth Skylis |

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Most of us have heard about the power of gratitude. According to research, expressing a sense of gratitude can contribute to stronger relationships and heightened levels of happiness. And those who regularly express it are more likely to be optimistic about life than those who don’t.

While many of us practice gratitude by giving thanks, it actually is an emotion, and its recognition and expression can foster a greater sense of positivity.

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Former Parkinson’s News Today columnist Sherri Woodbridge wrote about the power of gratitude several years ago while reviewing a book called “Living in Gratitude: A Journey That Will Change Your Life,” by Angeles Arrien. Arrien argues that gratitude is a choice.

One thing I find compelling about Woodbridge’s experience with gratitude is her observation that it requires practice. One must cultivate a mindset that gravitates toward gratitude — it isn’t something that occurs on its own.

Knowing this, I’ve decided to cultivate my own sense of gratitude as one of my New Year’s resolutions. Some people use a journal to focus their attention on gratitude. I hope to meditate regularly on the things I’m grateful for.

Today and every day, I’m grateful to have time with my parents. Parkinson’s disease, which my dad has, is a relentless thief. If we must walk this journey, I will be grateful for every day my dad chooses to fight back. I know he could be pessimistic about it and succumb to his circumstances, but he remains consistent and unwavering against this disease. For that, I’m extremely grateful.

When we are confronted with so much loss, I think it’s important to note what we’ve gained and where we’ve seen success. In our lives, Dad is back to a diligent exercise routine, and it shows. He looks strong, determined, and willing to do what he can to keep Parkinson’s at bay.

I want to pay attention to what I already have and to express a deep sense of gratitude for him and for my mom, because I won’t have them forever. So, instead of focusing on our struggles, I’m determined to highlight the areas of our lives that are colored with success. I believe that doing so will make all the difference.

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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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

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