“With gratitude, optimism becomes more sustainable.”
-Michael J. Fox, who has had Parkinson’s for 3 decades
Optimism in the Face of Adversity
When we struggle it’s easy to focus on all that is wrong. All that we don’t have. All the stressors. How unfair it is that our bodies aren’t as perfect as we had hoped. That life is harder than we dreamed.
Those living with ADHD, or living with a partner with ADHD, know what it’s like to have a long-term challenge that needs to be managed, just as Fox has with his Parkinson’s.
Fox has had many years to learn how to manage his Parkinson’s – probably more than you’ve had to learn how to manage ADHD. And Parkinson’s is degenerative, while ADHD is not. But there are many parallels, and that’s why I was so struck by Fox’s focus on gratitude.
Gratitude is like a deeply dug well of positives from which we can draw the energy to persevere. It is the understanding that it’s not about perfection, but about mindfully paying attention to the beauty found around us and within us. It’s about having an argument with a partner, then being able to sit quietly and be grateful that you have 2 wonderful kids; that beauty is as close as your local woods; that your home is warm and cozy; that you had the energy to accomplish 3 of the 5 things you had hoped that day.
Gratitude is about perspective. And with perspective, there is room to nurture optimism.
I urge you to take a little bit of time every day to be grateful for the good in your life. Write down what you are grateful for in a journal by your bed, or in your daily paper calendar. You will be amazed by the shift this practice creates in your life.
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