Overcoming injuries is something most of us will face throughout our lives. Unfortunately, we do not have any control over where it happens, when it happens, how it happens or how severe it is. One of the most important mental factors in effectively overcoming injury comes in the form of acceptance. It is natural to have an emotional reaction to the injury. Some may go through a five-stage process following injury; 1.) Denial, 2.) Anger, 3.) Bargaining, 4.) Depression and lastly, we are able to 5.) Accept the injury. Once the injury has been accepted, the presence of an injury tends to become more recovery-focused and action-oriented. The individual becomes more focused on answering the question, “How can I get better?” The more emotionally charged individual that embraces the challenge of recovery tend to adhere to medical advice and achieve better results in the end.
Coping and accepting an injury, which may have restricted us physically and sometimes psychologically, is easier said than done. The following are strategies for coping with injuries from Dr. Alan Goldberg, Sports Performance Consultant.
- Be Sad- Your emotions are part of the healing process.
- Deal With What Is – Realizing that this is your reality right now and not spend too much time on the “could have been”, “should have been”, and “if only”.
- Set Realistic Goals for Yourself – Small achievable goals in a certain amount of time.
- Maintain a Positive Attitude, No Matter What – This may be difficult but, stay positive as possible. Avoid being negative because nothing good ever comes from negativity
- Take An Active Part In Your Healing – Be conscientious about your physical therapy. Follow the doctor’s advice closely.
- Seek Out Support – Make a serious effort to reach out to your support team during moments of self doubt, negativity and celebrate your achievements with them.
- Be Patient – Allow yourself enough time to heal properly.
Accepting and coping with your injury is the first step to the rehabilitation process. The more that you invest yourself in the process, the better your outcome will be. Seek out a licensed physical therapist to help you begin working towards your goals!