Mindfulness and Parkinson's

Mindfulness meditation is a complementary therapy that can help people with Parkinson's manage their symptoms.

It can also play a role in helping people adjust to living with long-term conditions, such as Parkinson's.

You may find it particularly useful for managing mental health symptoms like anxiety and depression, and for achieving a general sense of wellbeing.

The Parkinson's mindfulness toolkit

The Parkinson's mindfulness toolkit is a series of videos and an audio session that aim to introduce people with Parkinson’s to the key techniques and benefits of mindfulness.

We developed the toolkit with Sue Newsham, an independent health and wellness coach and an Area Development Manager for Parkinson's UK, as well as with people affected by Parkinson's.

The Parkinson's mindfulness toolkit consists of:

  • a short video explaining the benefits of mindfulness for people with Parkinson's
  • a full 15-minute mindfulness audio session 
  • 5 short videos with instructions on how to practise basic mindfulness techniques

You'll find the toolkit below. You can email us if you have any questions about the toolkit, or would like a copy of the audio files.

How can mindfulness help people with Parkinson's?

Practising mindfulness regularly can help you to create a space between the trigger (this might be frustration you feel about your condition or a particular symptom) and your reaction to it.

Mindfulness helps us acknowledge a situation for what it is, then gives us the space to choose how to respond.

Try these mindfulness techniques

Conscious breathing (3 minutes)

This technique focuses on the breath to slow the heart rate and calm the mind and body.

4, 7, 11 (3 minutes)

This breathing exercise helps you to relax when trying to get to sleep.

Body scan (5 minutes)

This technique focuses on increasing awareness of your mind and body.

STOP (1 minute)

This 4-step technique helps you to stop and acknowledge your surroundings.

2 feet, 1 breath (1 minute)

This calming technique focuses your awareness on each foot in turn and brings you back to the present moment.

You may find this particularly helpful if you have problems freezing when you walk.

Follow our 15-minute mindfulness session

The audio session is designed to help you take 15 minutes out of your day to be mindful, help manage anxiety and depression and enhance your overall wellbeing.

It can be used alone or in a group, but you should be somewhere that you feel comfortable and can complete the session without being interrupted.

Sue's top tips for everyday mindfulness

Rose, who has Parkinson's, knitting

Everyday life with Parkinson's

There are lots of ways you can take control of everyday life with Parkinson's, from adapting your diet to doing regular exercise.

Take control of everyday life with Parkinson's

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness meditation is a complementary therapy that can help people with Parkinson's manage their symptoms.

We all have the ability to be mindful.

Mindfulness is about paying attention to the present moment, without being judgemental about what's happening or how you feel. It's important not to be judgemental as this can increase anxiety around any physical or mental pain that you're experiencing

Who is the toolkit for?

We've developed this toolkit for people with Parkinson's, but family, friends and carers might find the techniques useful too.

Although the sessions have been tailored to people with Parkinson's and the symptoms they might experience, the basic mindfulness techniques could be beneficial for anyone.

When and how should the toolkit be used?

The 5 short videos are designed to teach you simple mindful methods and techniques that you can use anywhere – at home or out and about. They are designed to help you cope with stressful situations, or just whenever you need to take a moment to calm your mind and body.

You can use as many or as few of the 5 techniques as you want – you may find that some are easier or more effective for you than others.

The audio session is designed to help you take 15 minutes out of your day to be mindful, help manage anxiety and depression, and enhance your overall wellbeing. It can be used when you’re alone or in a group, but you should be somewhere that you feel comfortable and where you can complete the session without being interrupted.

Is the toolkit safe and suitable for everyone?

We developed the mindfulness toolkit with the help of people with Parkinson's and Parkinson's UK staff members. If you're concerned about the effects of using the toolkit and practising mindful meditation, please consult your GP or Parkinson's specialist before doing so.

Parkinson's UK does not endorse any particular therapies. As with all treatments for Parkinson's symptoms, different things work for different people. So we encourage anyone affected by the condition who is interested in mindfulness meditation, and other complementary therapies, to explore what works for them.

Do you have a question about the toolkit?

Please email us with any questions or feedback. We'll aim to respond within 5 working days.