Step 4 – Emotional Well-Being

Emotional Well-Being

[mental health is] a state of well-being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.

– World Health Organisation

Apathy and depression are two known non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s*. Others include anxiety, sleep disturbances and impulse behavioural problems. While these do not affect every PwP, if you experience any of these, please speak to your neurologist or Parkinson’s nurse.


Mindfulness based therapies are one way through which PwP’s can support their emotional well-being. Practical approaches include breathing techniques, meditation, guided visualisations and relaxation techniques. Mindfulness involves “living in the moment” by giving your full attention to whatever you are doing at a particular time. Some PWP’s (including those involved with Move4Parkinson’s) have found these techniques useful in managing their symptoms. The idea behind these therapies is that they can help the body elicit a relaxation response, which in turn can reduce stress. The less stressed you are, the better you will feel.

You can find a simple ‘body-scan’ exercise audio track recorded by Padraig O’Morain at our Move4Parkinson’s Patient Empowerment Day here. Padraig O’Morain is a journalist and an expert in Mindfulness, he writes regularly on this topic in The Irish Times.

For more information on emotional well-being and Parkinson’s, please see NWPF’s guide to mood and behaviour

*Non-Motor symptoms of Parkinson’s are those symptoms that do not involve movement, coordination, physical tasks or mobility.

If you choose to make any changes to your lifestyle based on our Five Elements, please seek the advice of your neurologist or a professional in their chosen field first. There is no substitute for professional advice.