Mindfulness and Parkinson's

Mindfulness meditation is a complementary therapy that can help you manage your symptoms.

It can also play a role in helping you adjust to living with a long-term condition.

You may find it helps you manage mental health symptoms like anxiety and depression. It may also help to improve your general wellbeing.

The Parkinson's mindfulness toolkit

The Parkinson's mindfulness toolkit is a series of videos and an audio session. They aim to introduce you to the key techniques and benefits of mindfulness.

We developed the toolkit with Sue Newsham. Sue is an independent health and wellness coach and one of our area development managers. We also worked with people affected by Parkinson's to create the toolkit.

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 at [email protected] 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 and your reaction to it. Your trigger might be the frustration you feel about your condition or a symptom.

Mindfulness helps us acknowledge a situation for what it is. Then it 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

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

You can use it alone or in a group. But you should be somewhere that you feel comfortable and where no one will interrupt you.

Sue's top tips for everyday mindfulness

Rose, an older woman with 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. It 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. It's about not being judgemental about what's happening or how you feel. 

It's important not to be judgemental as this can increase anxiety around any pain that you're feeling.

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.

We're tailored the sessions for people with Parkinson's and their symptoms. But the basic mindfulness techniques could be beneficial for anyone.

When and how should the toolkit be used?

We've designed the 5 short videos to teach you simple mindful methods and techniques. You can use these anywhere – at home or out and about. 

We've designed them to help you cope with stressful situations. Or 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.

We've designed the audio session to help you take 15 minutes out of your day. This is to help you to be mindful, manage anxiety and depression, and enhance your wellbeing. 

You can use it alone or in a group. But you should be somewhere that you feel comfortable and where no one will interrupt you.

Is the toolkit safe and suitable for everyone?

We developed the mindfulness toolkit with people with Parkinson's and our staff members. 

Please consult your GP or Parkinson's specialist if you're concerned about:

  • the effects of using the toolkit
  • practising mindful meditation in general

Parkinson's UK does not endorse any particular therapies.

As with all treatments for Parkinson's symptoms, different things work for different people. If you're interested in mindfulness meditation, we encourage you to explore what works for you.

Do you have a question about the toolkit?

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