Importance of Mindset to Injury Recovery
Most of us have or will have to recover from an injury, surgery, or a case of over-use at some point in our lives. If you’re lucky a few days off and the correct rehab is all you need. For others the road to recovery was or will be much longer. Keeping a positive mindset can be difficult. Your attitude can directly affect your ability to heal, the timeline to recovery and the opportunity to discover new strengths.
We have a staff member who returned from vacation with her family and she could barely move without being in tremendous pain. Her lower back and hips were completely out of line and she was stuck in extension. There wasn’t an event or specific injury to explain why she was in so much pain. She always had issues with lower back and hips pain her whole life. She never received a diagnosis or an explanation for her “issue”. Up to this point not knowing why didn’t bother her because she wasn’t limited or restricted in my activities. She had trained consistently four days a week and could complete any program her trainer designed. Now, even remedial exercises caused pain and discomfort. She was beyond frustrated and started seeking an answer to the cause of my pain. She spent the better part of six months consulting with different doctors, chiropractors, and physical therapists. Each one could offer a treatment plan but no real reason for her situation. At this point she had to stop dual training with my husband and train by myself, because she couldn’t keep up with him. Mentally she felt defeated and struggled with not being able to do what she wanted and enjoyed doing. She lost motivation to train and began filling my time with other things. This started a negative cycle of unhealthy habits and a fixed mindset.
What she has discovered in the last two and half years is that everyone experiences setbacks. We will all have an ache, pain, or limitation at some point. How we approach that situation makes all the difference. Adopting a growth mindset and thinking in terms of what new things you can learn from the experience will be beneficial. When speaking with our trainers, who have all had to recover from a setback, they agree on a few things when facing recovery: focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t do, and take each day one at a time.
Here are a few more points to keep in mind:
- Set realistic recovery goals.
- Explore new options: if you have a lower body injury continue to train the upper body and set a new goal. Consider learning a new skill. If recovery limits how much time you can spend training consider using that time in the kitchen. Supporting your recovery with great nutrition will help lower inflammation and keep your mind active.
- Focus on the things you can control: somethings you can’t control like how fast your body heals. So, focus on what you can control like doing what your physical therapist and trainer suggest, and keeping your appointments with your doctors to track your progress.
- Be grateful: if you don’t already start keeping a gratitude log. Make a list of things you are grateful for each day; this could be strength in another part of your body, or perseverance.
(resources: www.pouri.com; www.selecthealth.org; www.psychologytoday.com)