Living purposefully with Parkinson's

elderly man and woman facing a lake with their arms around one anotherIt can feel like Parkinson’s disease changes your entire world, and these changes are often accompanied by feelings of grief, confusion, and sadness. Many people find strength in religious practices, such as prayer, while others experience spirituality in nature, through art or music, or meditation

Spiritual resilience is being able to maintain a sense of who you are and your purpose in life, even through difficult life challenges. Researchers have shown that being spiritually resilient can increase your health-related quality of life, as it influences how you experience pain and suffering, whether you feel motivated to take your medications, and how you make sense of your diagnosis. 

The flipside is that PD may impact your ability to connect to your sense of purpose or spirituality. You may find yourself skipping church services because you are worried about motor symptoms in public, or the drowsiness from medications may make it difficult to stay awake for your usual meditation session. Depression and anxiety, which are common occurrences in people with Parkinson’s, may decrease your motivation to engage in activities you once found fulfilling.

So two things may happen: your sense of meaning or purpose in life may change, but spiritual resilience can help you cope with your new reality. Developing your spiritual resources can help you navigate your disease in a way that feels meaningful to you.