A usual feature of Parkinson’s conferences is The Inspirational Speaker.  I have to admit that I find these speakers….um, inspiring.  The latest speaker I encountered (at an APDA seminar) was Stephen Bergenholtz , just ending his time on the board of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of American Parkinson’s Disease Association.

Stephen introduced the concept of discipline in managing a chronic disease like PD.  He came up with eight disciplines, which he lists in a blogpost on Michael J. Fox Foundation website.   As our dopamine declines, so does our initiative and motivation.  He writes, ” (A) substitute for loss of motivation is simply discipline. The word “discipline” may have negative connotations, but all it means is regular repetition of an activity until eventually it becomes comfortable, even pleasant.”  He ended his talk with the lovely quote from Colette, the French novelist: “What a wonderful life I’ve had!  I only wish I’d realized it sooner.” You can follow the link to see what his eight disciplines are.20170630_173419[1]

Mine are a little different, and I would expect everyone would have different areas to work on.  (Yes, “work on” — if you think I’m carrying out all these disciplines with ramrod posture and precision….well, look at my posture in the photo.  If I keep working on it, someday I will be able to play Scott Joplin like a real ragtime player. I’ve been practicing now for oh,  forty years or so.)  Let me know what disciplines you’re working on – and  your victories!

Laura’s disciplines:

  1.  Exercise – This is my daily job: half-hour floor exercises, especially core exercises (situps, planks) plus at least half-hour aerobics (walking, swimming, elliptical, stair climber, etc.)
  2. Try new stuff – I will examine when I hear myself saying “I can’t do that.”  Is that a rational judgment (sky diving) or should I give it a try (tango)?
  3. Commit to activities – If I’m going to try new stuff, I need to not just dabble but commit to get to at least a comfort level.  I need to maintain interest in existing activities (singing, skiing, piano playing) by consciously striving to get better.
  4. Gratitude – Be grateful every day..
  5. Maintain and grow relationships — Get out of myself and take an interest in others’ lives.  Be a support to friends, a contributor to the community.
  6. Get out of Parkinson’s –  No need to dwell on PD symptoms – there’s much more interesting things going on.
  7. Get into Parkinson’s – It takes a village to kill this disease.  My little contributions are to participate in research and write this blog at least once a month, and preferably, two or three times a month.
  8. Keep track of Parkinson’s — I am CEO of my body.  I need to partner with my medical team to observe and report symptoms.   I will try different strategies to manage symptoms. and  track results.


About Laura Kennedy Gould

Author of magictrickparkinsons.wordpress.com "The Magic Trick -- Life with Parkinson's"
This entry was posted in Parkinson's Basics, Parkinson's People, Status and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Discipline

  1. kenkisch says:

    Very good Laura and very good Stephen. We all have different angles on what helps. I’ll have to think about what my angle is but for now I will adopt Stephen’s and Laura’s for a total of 16.

  2. M says:

    I think I like your disciplines better than his. I’ve never thought of having a list like that, but if I think about it the first one for me is exercise – as much as I can, and lately I’ve been trying to have some sort of sleep discipline. I do better with exercise than with sleep, As for seeing my doctor frequently, well, I’m not sure that would be useful or even feasible given he is a bit of a mess, but I’ll happily go with trying new stuff and with trying to get better at what I know already.
    Definitely something to think about.

  3. Lucy Kennedy says:

    Great commitments! >

  4. pammcgffn says:

    One through five is a great list for anyone hoping to live a healthy and satisfying life. I’m a firm believer in trying new things even though I have to push myself to go beyond my comfort zone. Keep up the good work, Laura.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s