Fighting Parkinson’s, and calming our minds

I have discussed many times how recovery from Parkinson’s is a soul, mind, and body journey. Also, I have expressed that our bodies have gotten worn out and our organs are not functioning correctly, in part, because we have been in Adrenaline mode for too many years. In fact, two of the three causes of Parkinson’s I have outlined in the blog relate to issues of the mind. Part of solving these causes is calming our minds.

The three main causes of Parkinson’s are:
1. Qi and Blood Deficiency, which is caused by emotional stress, anger, frustration, and resentment.
2. Phlegm-Fire Agitating Wind, which is caused by dietary considerations such as consumption of too much greasy, fried or sweet foods.
3. Kidney and Liver Wind Deficiency, which is caused by overwork and insufficient rest which unbalances the body’s natural rhythm.

Today I am going to focus on 1 and 3. Let’s take a look at 1, emotional stress, anger, frustration, and resentment. These are negative emotions. However, from where do they get their origination? How do they appear? How are they fueled? What negative impact do they have to our bodies?

These negative emotions originate in the mind. They are reactions to life’s events. Some would say that they are impulsive reactions to events, but if we really explore these emotions, we will see that they come from the mind. An event occurs that we do not like, and we experience stress. How do we react? We get angry because of the event itself and because of the stress it is causing us. We become frustrated because we are feeling stress and we feel like we have no control over the event. And, we become resentful because no matter how angry and frustrated we get, the stress does not go away and we resent it. Our minds create the road map of how we are going to deal with the event…our bodies pay the penalty.

And then, we fall right into cause 3, we burn the candle at both ends (and in the middle) because we do not like feeling stress or anger or frustration or resentment, so we think and we think and we think and we analyze and we analyze and we analyze in hopes that we will not find ourselves facing this same stressful event again! Our minds are now so overworked that our bodies pay the penalty…eventually, we tremor.

And why do we tremor? Because our Adrenaline mode has turned down the Dopamine faucet and our Dopamine is not flowing correctly. And why are we fatigued? Because the anger and frustration and resentment have zapped our energy and “boiled our blood” (Cause 1, Qi and Blood Deficiency). And why are our bodies filled with pollutants and toxins? Because we have overloaded our organs and those responsible for cleansing our bodies and removing the toxins are overworked and not able to keep up with their jobs (Cause 3, Kidney and Liver Wind Deficiency — we have Kidney and Liver Deficiencies, and we tremor or shake (Wind).

This is how I saw it when I embarked on my path to recovery. I knew I needed to calm my mind of negative emotions and I knew I needed to cleanse my body of toxins. Through trial and error (and success), I developed the Recipe for Recovery, which I hope will make a little more sense, technically, to you now.

The Qigong exercises work on healing the organs. Many people have reported back to me that they are surprised, and pleased, to find that their positive emotions open up while doing the exercises. This is because we are taking care of our recovery and we feel good about it. As we do our Qigong to heal our organs, and as toxins are being cleansed from our bodies, our outlook is brighter and our thinking is less polluted as well…the half-empty glass now appears half-full. As we calm our minds, our brains are not so overworked, and the electricity is able to flow better through our bodies leading to better movement, less pain and reduction of tremors…less is more!

When we are in Adrenaline mode for too long, our already-overworked brain is getting no rest and our Dopamine faucet is down to a trickle. The brain cannot tell the body everything the brain normally would have been able to tell the body. Therefore, the electricity is flowing through our bodies with limited electrical charges and with no clear direction where to go. Our result is tremors, bad balance, rigidity, fatigue and slow movement.

Think about it — if we receive an electrical shock to the outside of our bodies, it becomes electricity that enters our bodies with no clear direction where to go or what to do. And how do our bodies respond? 1. We shake (tremors); 2. We are thrown off balance (bad balance); 3. Our muscles tighten (rigidity); and 4. It wears us out (fatigue and slow movement).

What should we do? Calm our minds and give our brains a break…a much needed, well-earned vacation from negative emotions and the 24×7 over-thinking of life. How do we do this? Pray, meditate, breath slowly and deeply, think pleasant thoughts, (whatever works for you to relax your mind and body), and trust enough in ourselves to look at life’s events through eyes that say, “‘Okay,’ this happened. I know I cannot change the reality that it happened, but I can control how I react to it. ‘Okay,’ let’s see what I can do about it.” This type of outlook is refreshing as it is devoid of negative emotions and it alleviates over-thinking everything as a result of Adrenaline and self-doubt.

Two people told me during their coaching calls this week that while meditating, or while in singularly-focused positive thought, their tremors diminished and then ceased to exist the entire time of the relaxation and for a short time thereafter. The next step is being able to take this result and have it last into everyday life. It is possible for everybody to achieve this. It does not happen over night, but it does happen!

Trust yourself and calm your mind! Aren’t you worth it?

All my best,

Howard

 

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14 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and calming our minds

  1. prabhakar says:

    Dear sir,
    Excellent and accurate analysis. I want to share that during meditations tremors either reduce to noticeable extent, or they completely stop.
    I also confirm that functioning of liver plays a great role in acquiring this disease.
    In my case i had poor liver functioning problem right from my childhood. Once i started rigorous swimming digestion problem reduced.
    In addition i was brought up in one of the most polluted city of Mumbai(Bombay)
    i have served for 21 years in the army , which is a stressful job. To top the list i m quite sensitive from my childhood. This all sums up why i m the chosen person to get this problem. Now that i know this ; it is easier to accept and say ok.
    I have some observations ref to some previous articles/blogs
    When i go to my native place, village in south maharashtra, close to nature ,no pollution; my condition improves.
    I try and walk barefooted as far as possible to benefit from acupressure points when i am in the village.
    There is no office stress and strain. Thus now i m planning to spend longer duration
    at this place.(more than a month) I have mentioned all this because it substantiates most of the theories put fwd in your blogs/articles.

  2. Howard says:

    Thank you, Prabhakar.

    I appreciate you taking the time to share with us your personal story. I am certain that others will benefit from your explanation that your personal experience substantiates most of the theories I have been putting forward in my blog.

    Wishing you well in your recovery,

    Howard

  3. Penny Wassman says:

    Howard, your advice as always, is spot on and so supportive. You reinforce the importance of calming my mind and addressing negative thoughts and emotions. Thank you! This has been such helpful information! I’m discovering an absolute gold mine of information.
    I’d like to share my experience as I play with your advice. First, it is necessary for me to notice my negative thoughts (and own them…. it’s all too easy to shove them away)…. Usually my body lets me know something is going on – a constriction in my throat perhaps – a tightening in my belly – an acceleration of my tremor – perhaps all three at the same time. If I’m willing to look at my emotions at these times, they are always some variance of ‘negative’ emotions – in my case often fear, sometimes anger. So my body and my emotions alert me that there is something going on. What am I telling myself anyway?
    Very often (in my case – I realize others will have quite different themes to their mental chatter) – very often I’m telling myself I’m washed up and don’t matter much in the realm of things any more – hardly very life serving thoughts! However, because I notice this destructive mind chatter I can make a choice – am I willing to relinquish the chatter (hand it over to a higher, wiser power perhaps) and live life?….or do I wish to live the fiction I’m telling myself and continue to feed the adrenaline?
    The choice for me is obvious – I choose life…. And I’m picking up on something very important to me underneath all of this. Because, as I acknowledge my mental chatter and will myself to relinquish it, I notice something happening. Underlying thoughts like “I’m washed up and don’t matter any more” are beautiful yearnings for life – Yes, I’m yearning for vitality…. I’m yearning to matter – to know I contribute in life. So that’s where I choose to put my attention – those are my positive thoughts and in the end I take them into my heart. I actually live the qualities I discover. I think these qualities are human needs – we all share them. Paradoxically, the negative mind chatter offers up the clues to these needs if I’m willing to harvest them…. So I live vitality…. I live mattering…. I live contribution…. and my mind is still.
    Thank you, Howard…. you are making such a difference in my life…. I’m very motivated to continue the daily exercises and the weekly coaching…I’m watching my mind chatter and choosing to live life…. I’m experiencing (actually feeling) the energies return to my body (which is very exciting and affirming). Your support is magic!

  4. Leontina says:

    am ascultat pe net comferintele lui Eckhart Tolle si am citit unele din cartile lui,daca am inteles eu bine,el pune mare accent pe subiectul din articolul tau,,o eliberare de teroarea dialogurilor interioare ale mintii.Recunosc ca e enorm de greu sa te eliberezi de gandirea inutila,dar asa cum spui tu benefiicile sunt mari.Frumoasa tema Asculta linistea si=ti vorbeste corpul.

  5. Howard says:

    Thank you, Penny, for sharing the intimate details of your life and how you are striving toward your recovery. The way you outline how you work at calming your mind is certain to be beneficial to everybody who reads this blog. It takes a courageous person to share the details of their Parkinson’s struggles and triumphs; thank you for your courage in helping us all.

    With gratitude,
    Howard

  6. Howard says:

    Thank you Leontina. You do understand the point. Be well, Howard

    Here is the translation:

    I listened to Eckhart Tolle on the internet and read some of his books. If I understand correctly, he puts great emphasis on the subject of your article, a release of inner dialogues of the terrors of the mind. I admit it’s enormously difficult to get rid of unnecessary thinking, but as you say, the benefits are high. Listen to the silence and your beautiful theme speaks to the body.

  7. floramania says:

    As always, Howard, your words are a great inspiration….and reminder.
    I also appreciate hearing from other people how they are applying the Recipe for Recovery, so I would like to add a tidbit of my own. I still have a lot of mind chatter, and a lot of it tends towards the negative, but I am doing a better job of living with it, balancing it in my life.
    My antidote is to stop and really take in the moments when I feel good. So often I used to brush aside the good news, the beautiful moments; they didn’t need my attention, I thought, so I raced right by those, so I could apply myself to all the problems, all the things bothering, irritating and stressing me. The simple shift I have worked on is to sit in those good moments really paying attention and savoring them, letting them soak in, even if it is just for 15 or 20 seconds. Usually when I do this I experience calm and gratitude.
    It is a small change, but still seems very significant in my life.
    Just the sun on my shoulders, the light coming through the window right now as I type this, I’m really enjoy it. I pause to reflect on the tremendous gratitude I feel for
    the hope and faith and easing of the grip of fear that have come to me since the first day anxiety-ridden day I found “fightingparkinsonsdrugfree”. I was desperate then, and I’m not now.
    I breathe in that gratitude, let it expand my chest. The changes, small in themselves, are adding up to some major shifts. It is amazing. Wonderful.
    Thank you. Thank you . Thank you.

  8. Penny Wassman says:

    Floramania, I’m moved to respond to your gentle words about the power of gratitude. I took your words with me on my morning walk (a beautiful, warm sunny morning in British Columbia). I rested my eyes on the wild grasses blowing in a gentle breeze as sunlight played its magic through them, highlighting one stalk, then another. I stopped, my heart stilled, and I heard the sweet chatter of birds and crickets…life and beauty all around….so much joy…so much to celebrate…..so much gratitude to feel. You say, “It (noticing life around you, feeling gratitude) is a small change, but still seems very significant in my life.” Reading your words, I wonder if there is any more powerful healing than this quiet, impactful, wonderous energy we call gratitude. I deeply appreciate your wise and timely words. Thank you for your beautiful reminder.

  9. Gino says:

    I also echoed the comments about that lack of stress will make the tremors reduce or even go away. But the most important piece is to maintain that level of thinking for a long period of time and also maintain it in the event of more stressful situation (e.g. doing house chores etc…even though this may sound easy for a normal person, for people with Parkinson’s it may not be)…

    I also wanted to ask whether Leonita, Penny and Prabhakar you are a vegetarian eater? Have you find that being a vegetarian eater will reduce the amount of wind in the organs and cause tremors to heal faster?

    Thanks in advance.

  10. Pingback: Fighting Parkinson’s, and fifteen months symptom free | Fighting Parkinson's Drug Free

  11. Hi Gino…. this in response to your question about whether or not I eat a vegetarian diet. I don’t, although I enjoy vegetarian food. I do avoid gluten and dairy because my gastric system functions better as a result. I’m imagining many people (and the planet) may benefit from maintaining a vegetarian diet…. that being said, I think we all have a unique genetic makeup and not all of us function well on the same diet. For example, the Inuit people who reside in Northern Canada traditionally eat mostly game meat, fish, seal and whale and perhaps some berries but generally very little vegetation (as little exists unless it is flown in)….I believe many Inuit have a difficult time with diet more common to southern areas.

  12. Leontina says:

    nu,Gino,nu sunt vegetariana.Am fost timp de un an pe aceasta dieta,am slabit mult si s-a agravat boala.Dieta ketogenica ma ajuta pe mine .nu consum zahar decat din fructe.acum duc o lupta teribila ,am rennuntat la medicamente.Iti doresc recuperare

    Translation:
    No, Gino, I was not vegetarian for a year. On this diet, I lost more and aggravate the disease. Ketogenic diet helped me. Removed sugar in favor of fruit consumption. Now lead a terrible fight, I renunciate drugs. I want recovery.

  13. prabhakar says:

    Dear Gino, I am basically a veg person. only during military service i had taken liking for eggs. Since 1994 i am vegetarian again. Ref ur query about eating veg food and its impact on wind/tremors ;i am not sure. One thing is very sure that if your liver functioning is good, u will be able to digest it well , wind will be less. There are many items in veg food which generate more wind.e.g. Gram, potato, oily food etc. Similarly in non veg also there must be some non veg food which produces less gas/wind. Generally speaking whatever is digested well produces less wind.

  14. meredith says:

    To all: I want to thank you for the comments. Your thoughts (as well as Howard’s guidance) have been a light in the wilderness for me – as I am slowly decreasing my Sinemet, increasing my qigong and meditations, and also juggling a full time job and commute in a very stressful city. PD is not for the faint of heart, but you all have helped me focus on the most important concept – GRATITUDE.
    I appreciate your voices.

    Meredith

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