Tips to Transform Yourself from a “Worrier” to “Warrior”: By Maria De Leon

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“Conquering others takes force, conquering ourselves is true strength.”

~ Laozi

Here we are nearly 6 months since Covid- 19 pandemic took over our lives and many of us have begun to quiver and shake like an orphan left out on a cold winter’s night.  For good reason, we have felt ourselves being shaken to our core with the events that have taken place this year.

To you I say, stay strong! Do not let your worries rob you of your peace of mind. I have learned that life is not only unpredictable; but also, that some of the sweetest moments in life usually occur amid our struggles. If it were not for the bad times, we would never appreciate the good things in our lives nor would we ever grow as individuals. Had my father never had cancer I would probably not have gotten the opportunity to reconnect with him as an adult- moments I will forever cherish.

Before, I became ill I thought I had everything- a wonderful family, a nice home, and a great job. Yet, there was a longing for something lost and not all together tangible

Thus, when I became disabled and unable to maintain my previous profession I was at a loss. Forced to stay at home to deal with my thoughts, disappointments and failing health was no walk in the park. But as the days set in, I began to focus on what was right about by life rather than on the negative aspects which gave me new strength and a reason to persevere.

In trying to conquer a disease, I rediscovered myself, my daughter my family and found joy again in new things. The key to the change was attitude- nothing in my life had really changed if anything my life was worse because I was now carrying a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.

How do we fear less and live more?

The answers are all within your reach.

 As I see persons with Parkinson’s and others become overwhelmed with fear – I first remind them that these feelings are unavoidable and to be expected. But just like the corona virus was unforeseen, so are the real threats to our livelihood. Being anxious about something that could happened will neither prevent a catastrophe nor help us worry less. Yet, we can do things to minimize the impact it has on our lives and well-being.

First, we must be vigilant of our emotions. Are the anxieties we are facing genuine such as loss of a job or a spouse? Are they related to medication intake or wearing off? (must remember to keep a journal of symptoms) one thing I found that helped me tremendously was to do a 5-minute video of my day- good bad, on /off’s, making sure to document how these made you feel. You can do this at any time during the day. I found it easier to do at night since that is the time I am usually at my best.

Second, keep a gratitude journal – write down even the slightest most insignificant thing- start by thanking God (being grateful) that you are still alive. Put them in a jar or keep a list on the refrigerator door. At the end of the week you can tally up all your blessings and celebrate with a piece of chocolate, cake (preferably if it is chocolate) or whatever your favorite thing or food is.

I suppose that my biggest drive is GOD and family. During these times of quarantine, I often think back to my childhood in Mexico. Although, I guess we were considered middle class, life there, as in many second and third world countries, is a hard one. There were no commodities such as air condition in the summer, and no heaters in winter. Forget drinking a nice cold drink because there was no ice except if you bought it at the ice warehouse by the block and by the time you got home in the heat you had lost nearly half. Thus, during the hottest part of the day, we would all gather in grandmas’ room to read, play cards, watch some t.v, but mostly talk and tell stories.

Things are much different here in the USA.  Yet, during this pandemic when we are forced to be shut in and keep social distancing, we can still have some of the same connections and interactions thanks to the advances of technology. We should try to spend at least an hour a day talking to a close friend, or loved one, telling stories, sharing thoughts fears, doing art therapy together or simply finding a way to laugh. (Be creative)

Third, we must be empowered from within – the scariest and most difficult thing to do when one is scared is NOTHING. Learn to quiet your mind and thoughts this will help decrease the pressure. Avoid watching the news if that stresses you – rather watch a favorite movie or read a fine book. When I am feeling tense, I seek a dark quiet place to become still- my bedroom is my favorite place. You become empowered when you can take control of your emotions and fears. Never disregard them but do not be ruled by them either. Try to find some alone time during the day to hear yourself think. When overcome with emotion and worry take note of your breathing and heart rate and concentrate on getting them in sync with one another. 

From personal experience staying still for a few minutes away from all the noise is the best way to overcome the worries and begin the path to a true warrior.

Finally, have a contingency plan should things go sideways. Hope for the best, plan for the worst. Although, life may still find a way of throwing us a curve ball when it does it will not be such a shock. For instance, have everything ready medication list, doctors’ names, diagnosis, wills, power of attorney, a friend or relative to call should you get sick and need hospitalization.

Remember -you are not alone in this fight.  Worrying is a part of being human. Although, we cannot always escape fear we can do something to deal with its close relative – anxiety/worry. It is all about our attitude – are we a glass half empty or half full type of person?

 Do not waste your energy on something that might not even take place and spend your time on preparing on how to deal with the things that could occur. Not forgetting that a bit of prayer goes a long way. Then you can commence to live more with less worries. Learn to say as King David, one of history’s greatest warriors, did “even though I walk through the valley of shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for You (God) are with me.”{Psalm 23:4}

@copyright2020

All rights reserved by Maria De Leon (Parkinson’s Diva)

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