Okay. You are playing the Positive Thinking Only game. Good for you. It can be difficult to keep an attitude of positive thinking, so today I will offer some additional assistance…gratitude. Gratitude practice keeps you in a positive thinking mindset. Here is a new look at gratitude.
Gratitude was a big part of my recovery, and it remains a big part of my daily life. Ultimately in my recovery, I became so grateful for the daily opportunity to be alive with my soul in a human body (even one with Parkinson’s), that the Parkinson’s simply did not matter. I have told people that it was like my mind and body watched as my soul got on the train and left the station…eventually, my mind and body had to jump on board.
Now, let’s have a new look at gratitude as part of the Positive Thinking Only game. Sally shared an article with me that she had read about gratitude and dopamine. It was not an article about Parkinson’s, just an article about gratitude. The explanation went like this:
If you can think back to a happy or joyful event in life, get a clear picture of it, and then give gratitude for having had that joyful event take place in your life, something in your brain captures the event, finds it inside you, and releases dopamine as if you were experiencing the joyful event in the present moment.
Since I have been told over the years that many people have difficulty with visualization, I have modified this form of gratitude as follows:
Get out an old photo album, or go to a digital photo album on your computer. Most of the time, the pictures depict happy occasions (birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, graduations). Find a picture where you have a clear memory of the joyful event. Then, give gratitude for the event. Do this repeatedly, picture after picture after picture…day after day after day.
Do what feels right, a certain number of pictures, a certain amount of time. It does not matter. What matters is that you are doing it and that you keep doing it. Why? It is your dopamine flowing on a regular basis again that will help bring you to your full recovery. With this type of gratitude, you continuously fill your mind and heart with happy events, happy thoughts, and positive thinking.
It is not a competition or a race. It is a way to reflect on life and give gratitude. Most of the time in life when wonderful things are happening, we just enjoy the moment. This new gratitude practice is a way to go back to so many enjoyable moments, stop and reflect on the joyfulness of the moments, and then give gratitude for having had those moments in your life.
I have asked a few people to do this prior to breaking it out to the group. By all accounts, it works, really works! One man told me that he never had realized what a truly wonderful life he has had, and that this new gratitude practice was giving him the opportunity to express gratitude for all of it.
You now have something simple to do that can have overwhelmingly positive results in releasing your dopamine and enhancing your recovery.
I am grateful for all of you. Keep playing the Positive Thinking Only game with the new form of gratitude practice.
You can do this!
You are worth it!!!
All my best,
Thank-you for simplifying it, Howard. No one can say it’s too difficult or they don’t understand And, who wouldn’t want to get the dopamine flowing!
Wow, great idea which is so simpel but effective!!! Thank you Sally and Howard, we all are grateful to have you as our support, wonderful!!
Love Tery and Werni
Thank you so much Howard!
Thank you Sally and Howard!
This is a great idea! Thank you so much!!
I’m going to dig out my old photo albums right now. They are full
of good times such as marriage, children accomplishments, family
vacations and other fun things. I also think I will get my list of 300
things to be grateful for that we were challenged to do. I can feel the
dopamine flowing already. Thanks Howard for this uplifting post.
I’m even typing with my right hand!
I have had an amazing life to look back on and an amazing life to look forward to thank you Howard for all you do now let that the dopamine flow like rain!
I am so pleased that this new post continued focusing on the “positive thinking only” game. I am convinced that this practice is major at this point in my recovery. So I’m making it my overall goal each day to take captive as many negative thoughts as I can, and turn them around to positive, thankful, dopamine producing thoughts.
Just recognizing and interrupting a negative thought is a challenge. The idea with looking at older pictures of happy times is simply inserting a positive thought from the get go. I am going to fill my prescription for positive thoughts and take as needed. I don’t think you can overdose on positive thoughts!
Thank you Howard and Sally! I believe you told me to do this, previously, but I did not follow through. I must have been focusing on a different aspect of recovery. The time to act is now!
I love practicing gratitude. It makes me cry, a good type of cry.
Yesterday, I had a big dose of dopamine, I was playing my sax with some funky soulful music, while playing, I started staring at family pictures, and I realized again, how blessed I am and how grateful I am to be alive. I don’t play sax like I use to, right hand is slow, but I had a great dopamine bath, which made my hand move better. Life is good!
Sally and Howard, thank you for all you do.
Peace and Love to all
I got one for you. I opened the first photo album and thought whose
that with my babies, second page same thing, by the third page it
come to me, that’s my WIFE. I told her today, needless to say she
didn’t find it nearly as funny as I did.
Hello, I want to share this song with everyone.
I’m So Grateful – Lauren Shealy
Blessings to all
Thinking about being grateful, I feel grateful that I was led to your blog Howard. I believe I am grateful for everyone who comes into my life, for whatever reason. Love and blessings. Veronica🌱🌺
Thanks Howard for your patience while some of us catch up!
Am going to post positive notes around the house to help myself.
Another thing I’m finding helpful is lying in bed before going to sleep and breathing into and thanking each body part and telling it it’s beautiful, including thanking my brain for making me shake as I know it is doing it’s best to try to heal me and help me.
love these three posts and all the comments and input.
Hi Howard & Sally, simple yet beautiful and powerful.
Big love to all.
Christine I was praying for you on Tuesday, hope the neurologist appt went well.
Thank you Karen for your kindness. In the end I couldn’t get out the door and had to cancel my appointment. Frozen to the spot I was! Fear can be a powerful thing.
Hope you are doing well and making progress.
God love you Christine, there is not one person here who has not experienced that fear and been completly frozen. It could have been a blessing so don’t beat yourself up about it. Big love to you.xx
As I read this article, I thought of those precious moments with the Most Holy Spirit. However, earlier today, I thought of this Native American song called “Oh Great Spirit”, played it, and I pondered the precious words.
Don went outside and did a little painting on the exterior of our house.
May all God’s blessings be upon all.