5 tips for managing anxiety and Parkinson's

Anxiety can be triggered by the stress of receiving a diagnosis like Parkinson’s. But it can also be triggered by physical changes in the brain caused by the condition itself.

Here we share 5 tips for managing anxiety. 

1 Set aside a time for your worries

Mental health charity Mind recommends setting aside a specific time to focus on your worries, so that you can reassure yourself that you haven’t forgotten them. Mind also suggests writing down all your worries and keeping them in one place. If you feel as though you need to keep worrying because it feels useful, or you’re worried something bad may happen if you stop, using these techniques to consciously separate and isolate your worries may help.

2 Put pen to paper (or screen)

Mind also recommends keeping a diary of what happens when you get anxious. Writing about your experiences may help you to spot patterns in what triggers your anxiety.

Lorraine, who has Parkinson’s, also suggests writing down how you feel as a way to communicate with others: “I wrote an open letter to my friends and family to try and explain how I feel, which was very well received.”

3 Distract yourself

Lorraine also recommends trying to distract yourself when you’re experiencing anxiety. She says: “I try to distract myself whenever I start feeling anxious, even if it’s with something simple like social media.”

4 Use your voice

A Parkinson’s UK Forum user suggests singing as a way to combat anxiety:

“One of the best ways of dealing with anxiety is singing! Sing around the house, sing in the shower – but best of all, join a choir. I lead a community choir and we have weekly rehearsals.

“Often the last thing I want to do is go to the choir, but I always feel loads better by the end of the evening. Choral singing benefits you in so many ways, mostly by being part of a group and socialising on a regular basis.”

5 Get outside

Another Forum user finds that getting back to nature can help with anxiety.

She explains: “When I feel a bit uptight I often go for a short walk. It needn’t be far. Just 10 minutes can make me feel better.

“Nor does it matter if you live in the countryside or a town. There’s always something to see that you haven’t noticed before. Then you return home in a more refreshed frame of mind.

Forum user Roro agrees. She says: “Getting out of the house helps to release stress, even though it can be the last thing I feel like doing at times.

“I find that by being amongst people, such as in a supermarket, makes me have to act normally and speak to others.

“I don’t need to buy anything, but being in a normal situation just grounds me and helps me get some perspective.”