Fighting Parkinson’s, and your right to be happy

The negative emotions one faces with Parkinson’s seem to be a constant uphill battle for many people. I have discussed this with some of you recently, and what I have realized is that many people are uncomfortable experiencing positive emotions — they come with a feeling of selfishness or guilt. Last year, I wrote about giving up your old rights to negative emotions and transforming them into positive emotions. We need to explore this concept again.

As we go through life, we learn that we have the right to be angry if something happens we do not like. We also have the right to be frustrated, resentful, worrisome, fearful, stressful, anxious, unforgiving, critical, and self-critical. Today, I ask you to give up these old rights.

The reason I call all of these negative emotions “rights” is because that is how they are treated in our lives. Here is an example:

You are driving on the highway and somebody cuts you off. You slam on your brakes barely avoiding an accident, and the person who cut you off speeds away. You are angry…angry that you got cut off, angry and frustrated that he sped away, angry and frustrated and resentful that nothing bad will happen to this person to punish him for having cut you off and almost causing a serious accident.

And, when you tell your family and friends about it, with the anger spilling out of you, what does everybody say, “You have every right to be angry. I would be angry, too!” I understand this because this is how I was, pre-Parkinson’s.

Now, using the same scenario post-Parkinson’s, I would slam on the brakes avoiding the accident, catch my breath, and then I would give gratitude (lots of gratitude) for being safe and sound with no damage to the car or any of the occupants. And then, I would let it go. However, if I was to mention the situation, a response might be something to the effect of, “I am happy there was not an accident and nobody got hurt, but I do not know how you can be so calm about it. The other guy got away with it and you have every right to be angry; I know I would be angry if I was in your shoes.”

We are taught that these negative emotions are our rights, and we are rewarded by inclusion when we exercise them. Often, we are questioned like there is something wrong with us when we choose to not exercise our “rights.” I do not know about the rest of you, but nobody ever sat me down and said, “You have the right to be joyful, happy, fearless, compassionate, content, loving, accepting, forgiving, and grateful.”

So, if you are like me, and nobody ever told you these things, let me be the first to introduce you to your set of new rights:


The negative emotions are in your mind, and your mind runs rampant with negative ideas of what life is like with Parkinson’s and Parkinson’s symptoms. Your new rights come from your heart!

It is time to make the transformations that will change your life. As the negative emotions surface, transform them into the positive emotions. The negative emotions are habitual…simply put, they are so strongly built into you throughout your life that they just surface in response to the events of life.

This is actually a gift of Parkinson’s symptoms. Your Parkinson’s symptoms get worse when you experience any of the negative emotions. These symptoms provide a built-in notification system that says, “My reaction to what was just said or done is an exacerbation of symptoms.” When you get the notification and have this kind of awareness, you are ready to exercise your new rights.

Using my car example above, transform anger over the situation to gratitude over the outcome. The mind is very tricky. The mind wants to pull out its parade of horribles and say, “If the other car would have hit you, think about all of the terrible things that would have occurred.” The mind pulls you out of the moment and it runs to all of the terrible outcomes that could have occurred.

The heart keeps you in the moment and says with heart-felt gratitude, “Look at what really happened here. You avoided an accident, there is no car damage, and nobody in the car got hurt. Feel gratitude.”

Bottom line if this:
Keeping your old rights is a choice.
Giving up your old rights and transforming them into your new rights also is a choice.

As all of you know, when you choose your mind over your heart, you choose anger, frustration, resentment, stress, anxiety, worry, and fear.
Likewise, all of you know, when you choose your heart over your mind, you choose joy, happiness, fearlessness, compassion, contentment, love, acceptance, forgiveness, and gratitude.

You can give up your old rights by transforming them into your new rights. You will be able to view the world and participate in life from your heart. This is not an easy transformation to make, but I know this will change your life, and each and every one of you is worth it.

Keeping your old rights is a choice.
Giving up your old rights and transforming them into your new rights also is a choice.

The choice is yours.

You are worth it!!!

All my best,


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36 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and your right to be happy

  1. Sally Carlson says:

    Great post, Howard
    Thank you!

  2. Suja says:

    Dear Howard
    Each and every word of your blog is a true fact. It is very difficult to cope with negative thoughts and emotions which varies from one atmosphere to another. However, for me it seems like some kind of gravitational force exerted upon the astronauts while leaving the surface of earth. I intend to cross the finish line by overcoming the force of negative thoughts. I hope to succeed in my mission under your guidance. Thank you for showing all of us the path towards recovery. Lastly, giving up something like anger, stress etc is quite challenging, but I am still trying to imbibe the values of joy, happiness, fearlessness, compassion & contentment in me.

    “Inspire us towards Recovery”

  3. Karen in Ireland says:

    Hi Howard and fellow Warriors,
    Great post Howard, fabulous reminder. I work daily on frustration, need to give up my right to that too. Oh to live in a constant state of Joy! What Bliss! Will have a go through Gratitude! Hope all the Warriors are doing well! Just think after Parkinson’s every other challenge we ever have to face will be a piece of cake! ( gluten and sugar free of course )
    🙂 🙂 🙂
    Big Love to All
    Karen xx

  4. Linda says:

    Sending blessings to you and gratitude for sharing your well-earned wisdom! I am grateful to have “met” you when you were in the process of transformation. I have benefited greatly – your words resonate with those of us who don’t have Parkinson’s and follow your blog.

  5. Tony says:

    Yep, anger and fear only hurt us and make Parkinson symptoms elevate. I never thought that this in return would effect my liver, kidneys etc. We are all going to be healed it’s just a process. Its like a plant that was dying once you change the soil and the plants environment the plant will still look sick but in time the dead parts fall off and the new parts grow but we don’t stare at the plant we just go on with our life with faith knowing the plant will heal. Recovering from Parkinson’s is a re-birth! Thank you Howard!

    • Cynthia (from England) says:

      I like that analogy Tony, so true. I feel like I’m in a tug of war at the moment, it’s a real battle. So thank you once again Howard for such a timely post x

      • Karen in Ireland says:

        I’m with Cynthia, love that analogy Tony.
        Sorry to hear you are going through a tug of war Cynthia, I know the feeling friend. ” this too shall pass” :-). It’s the challenging days my friend that give us the opportunity to make the choice between our mind or our heart. It’s takes huge discipline and awareness. Stay strong Cynthia. You’re never alone. 🙂
        Karen xx

        • Cynthia (from England) says:

          Thank you Karen, I know I’m going to win!! Bless you fellow warrior, look forward to our game of hopscotch. X

    • Debbie says:

      🙂 Great analogy. Thank you

  6. Waseema from England says:

    As always Howard, your reminders are so timely. I have been wrestling and I really mean wrestling with so much frustration recently. I’ve noticed how it impacts on my body and so I’m treading a path of consciously letting go. It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever done but I’m grateful that I have the resources and support to challenge this monster that is trying to dominate my life.

    As I let go I’m choosing to surrender to love, peace and calm. It’s a great place to be! Fellow warriors, let’s all go there and have some fun. Maybe even a game or two of hopscotch?

    Love and blessings


  7. Ryno says:

    Great post, Howard.

  8. Debbie says:

    THANK YOU HOWARD for a most needed post.
    I have read your posts on this subject in the past and I must say, I am moving forward. 🙂 Some days and moments in time I do great, and than others I have to step back and remind myself what choices I want to make. I ask myself , “What emotions am I choosing to step up and claim?” By reminding myself of this choice, and then making the right one; I am able to silence my frustrations and claim my mind. There is no need in going over and over the choices I make everyday. Today in this moment I not only claim my right to be happy, but I also claim my right to have faith in myself and in my ability to make good decisions.
    As Howard said …” The heart keeps me in the moment and says … Look at what is really happened here. Feel gratitude….. And then, let it go.”
    My favorite part of that is…. “And then, I would let it go.” As Tony said, I don’t need to keep going back and watching the plant and going over every case scenario. Thanks everyone, it feels good to choose the right to be happy !!
    Happy Wednesday,
    Enjoy it while stepping up and claiming your right to be happy 🙂
    With Gratitude and a Happy Heart

  9. jimmy says:

    gracias Howard por este post que llega justo ahora que mas lo necesito …….ademas de los sintomas, estoy atravesando por la ruptura de mi relacion amorosa con m i novia, es un momento triste justo para transformar esa emocion, y por otro lado preocupado , porque los sintomas severos dieron pie a dejar mi empleo, es tambien en este tema de trabajo el tiempo d e cambio. entender que todo este proceso de transformacion es para nuestro aprendizaje y crecimiento y seguramente Dios nos esta dando estas oportunidades para crear una mayor conciencia, no solo individual, si no en forma global traer mayor conciencia al planeta……todos estos desafios son parte de nuestro sendero en esta vida maravillosa, para tratar de elevar nuestra frecuencia vibratoria y que este en resonancia con la de Dios, que e s el amor. Tom me encanta tu comentario


    Howard thanks for this post that comes just when I need more ……. addition to the symptoms, I’m going through the breakup of my loving relationship with my girlfriend, is a sad moment just to transform that emotion, and other side worried because severe symptoms gave rise to quit my job, is also working on this issue time change. understand that this process of transformation is for our learning and growth, and surely God is giving us these opportunities to raise awareness, not only individually, if not globally bring awareness to the planet …… all these challenges they are part of our path in this wonderful life, to try to raise our vibrational frequency and is in resonance with God, who is love. Tony, I love your comment

    • Karen in Ireland says:

      Bless you Jimmy, you are having a tough time. It is inspiring to read that even in such adversity, your faith in God and the Universe is so strong. 🙂
      What does not kill us makes us stronger friend.
      Karen xx

  10. Pat in Florida says:

    Thanks Howard, for the additional ammo in fighting negative emotions.
    My most challenging emotions are anxiety, worry and self criticism. They are not always present, but I feel they are always lurking, waiting for any excuse to join forces and pounce on me, nearly incapacitating me. Panic attacks amplify PD symptoms, as we all know.
    I definitely need to access my heart for the material (new rights) to slay the negative thoughts and get out of my mind, which feels like it’s constantly running on two tracks at the same time, jumping back and forth between them.
    What a great idea to think of the magnified symptoms as a notification system that reminds me to choose acceptance, gratitude, and contentment as my hallmark qualities.
    So many good comments posted, which remind us all that we are not alone in fighting this affliction. Wassema and Debbie, I particularly like the way you each expressed your heartfelt ideas.
    I am grateful to be a part of this courageous community of faithful warriors!

  11. Leena says:

    Howard, Thank you for your endless efforts with these blogs which are available to us 24×7 with in depth knowledge. You are doing whatever it takes for us to recover the difficult part is how much are we able to imply and permeate these into our daily life is the golden key to the recovery door. It’s a battle of Mahabharata that each one of us our battling and you are our Lord Krishna showing us the path. We have to become Arjun to listen to your guidance and achieve success as did Arjun in the battle of Mahabharata.
    With heartfelt Gratitude.


  12. Melanie says:

    With much practice, it does get easier. The Constant battle does lighten up as we continue to pursue living in our heart. I am so grateful for Howard’s continual reminder! With much struggle, I have finally achieved happiness in spite of it all! It is so liberating to achieve success following a very Long, continual battle, One in which we can never let down our guard ! As I said initially that in time it gets easier to maintain constant positive energy.

  13. mayarita says:

    Thanks Howard. On top of this I added; Its ok to be myself. As I realise I dont feel either ok about being me or even justfied in being myself.
    Thanks Suja and Tom and others. Sorry Jimmy for your pain. Everything happens for a reason. It’s time to move on.
    I have the right to be happy. I have the right to be me.

  14. mayarita says:

    Thanks tony. I like that.

  15. Penny Wassman says: many inspiring comments… thanks all….I think it might be a great fit for our group to adopt Pharrell Williams wonderful song “Happy” as our PD group theme song…here’s the link:

    • Karen in Ireland says:

      Penny that is one of my favourite favourite songs. 🙂 You can’t but feel joyous when you listen to it. Excellent choice my friend.
      Karen xx

    • Debbie says:

      That is a great song! Thanks for sharing. My grandson was over at my house the other day and was singing this song loud and clear. He was really getting done and dancing as he sang!! It made me smile so big 🙂 I could just feel the dopamine flowing 🙂 You would have loved it.
      Thank for sharing
      Have a Happy Day

  16. Helen says:

    Thank you Howard for your guidance and encouragement. I choose new rights, rights of gratitude kindness truth peace and heart. Warrior of the heart. Helen Australia
    Hi everyone

  17. Shawna Carol says:

    Hi Howard,

    Great post! Also, I’m very moved by everyone’s sharing.

    I wanted to let you know about a great book named “Happiness Is A Choice”. It’s by the co-founder of The Option Institute, a teaching center that I had attended where they teach that happiness is always an option, no matter what the circumstances. The book offers some great tips on choosing happiness all the time.


  18. Trish in Colorado says:

    A wonderful affirmation from the Good Book. Repeat as often as necessary!

    “God has not given us the spirit of fear: but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

  19. Anita in England says:

    Dear Howard,
    I’ve been exploring your blog for about the last month and have been gradually building up my practice of the various elements of the Recipe. I want to say an enormous Thank You to you. I can already feel very small physical benefits but I guess the thing that’s really remarkable is how you constantly say the things I need to hear about letting go of the things I need to let go of. I’ve been exploring and working on these issues for a long time but you always seem to guide me to the very heart of the issue and give me such valuable tools and strategies. I’d also like to say Thanks to the people who regularly comment on the blog – I feel like I’ve joined a really kind and caring support group.

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