Face The Fear: How To Cope With A Temporary or Chronic Injury – Sports Medicine Weekly | Dr. Brian J. Cole
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Published on: 11-Nov-2021

Injuries are typically followed by a physical rehabilitation program. But many people forget how much of an impact an injury can have on your mental and emotional state. It’s not just your body that suffers a knock.

Feelings of frustration, denial, anger, and even depression are not uncommon side effects of having a serious physical injury. The sudden immobilization and presence of pain can trigger the development of poor mental health, which makes recovery much harder. 

Shifting the focus from limitations to possibilities can help people in these circumstances to overcome their anguish and tackle rehabilitation with more energy and optimism. By focusing on what you can do rather than what you can’t, a sense of hope can be reignited. 

In any healing process, it helps to focus attention on how far you’ve come rather than how much further you have to go. No matter whether your injury is chronic or temporary, dealing with daily physical pain and limitation requires great perseverance and strength. 

If you’re struggling with a physical injury, that’s negatively impacting your mental and psychological health, here are some expert-approved tips on how to cope.

Keep Yourself Busy 

Fixating on a frustrating situation can make you feel overwhelmed. But distracting yourself with activities and hobbies can help. Keeping busy will mean that you no longer spend hours ruminating over your injury and putting yourself down about something that’s currently outside of your control. 

It doesn’t matter what it is; what matters is that your mind has something else to focus on until the recovery process is complete. 

Reading a new book, learning how to paint, or starting a journal are all things you might not have had time for otherwise. But they can play a vital role in keeping your mind busy while your injury heals. 

Seek Support From Your Community 

Physical injuries are pretty common, and there are sure to be people within your community who are struggling with similar feelings. Connecting with them can help you share your frustrations, musings, and breakthroughs with people who really understand the complexities of your experience from a personal point of view. 

Although it can at first feel uncomfortable to lean on others for support, doing so has proven to be a highly rewarding experience that can serve as an important reminder that you’re not alone. 

Learn About Your Injury 

When going through an experience that limits you, finding other areas of your life that you can exercise control in can help you feel more independent. 

Learning about your injury can give you a new perspective on the healing process. It can provide you with eye-opening information on the problem that you may not have thought of on your own. 

Reading articles about physical anatomy pertaining to your injury will help demystify the pain and remind you of the important truth that knowledge is power. Keeping yourself in the dark might feel safer. But it will prohibit your understanding of the injury and maybe even help you to prevent it from happening again in the future. 

Develop (And Stick To) A Recovery Routine 

Chances are, your doctor has already prescribed a routine aimed at both short term and long-term recovery. Having the structure of a routine can help you feel more in control of your life and provide you with milestones to look out for and celebrate. 

If you don’t have a recovery routine already planned out, developing one with the help of an informed doctor can make a huge difference in how you perceive your progress. It can include daily exercises, a diet plan, strength training, and goal setting. 

Even if your injury does not require a rigorous recovery program, inventing a basic personal health plan for the next few weeks can really help you cope better with your condition. 

Set Realistic Recovery Goals 

On the topic of goal setting, numerous studies suggest it is one of the most effective ways to overcome a challenge. The process of setting realistically reachable goals over a period of time can allow you to measure your progress more accurately and celebrate every milestone achieved. 

Whether it’s something as small as wiggling a finger or reclining properly in a wheelchair, or as big as taking your first step in months, goal setting encourages you to appreciate every little progression and gain greater faith in the next one. 

Being aware of the trajectory your recovery process takes will give you something to look forward to while instilling faith in your ability to make it through the other side, stronger than before. 

Don’t Forget About Mental Health 

When you are dealing with a physical injury, it can sometimes be easy to forget how much support your mental state needs. In addition to the physical pain and discomfort that arises with an injury, your mental and emotional health are also likely to take a hit. 

Seeking out methods of mental health support can keep your mood stabilized while you focus on healing your body. Staying positive isn’t always easy when you feel like your world has turned upside down. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. 

Doing things you enjoy will help to alleviate stress and keep your mind off of what’s bringing you down. Try to engage in activities that calm, nourish, amuse, or connect you to the world around you. Spending time with friends, watching funny movies, and venturing into nature are all great starting points. 

Trust The Process 

When it comes down to it, recovering from any injury requires immense trust in the healing process. Even though it can feel like the biggest challenge of all, trying to accept your situation rather than fighting against it will make the entire process much easier to manage. 

Remember that feeling a wide range of emotions is completely normal. It is okay to be angry and upset by what’s happening. However, dwelling in those negative states of mind will make your recovery much harder than it needs to be. 

Remember that your life is not defined by injury. Your chance at a happy, healthy, activel life remains intact—you may just need to make a few adjustments to your mindset.

The post Face The Fear: How To Cope With A Temporary or Chronic Injury appeared first on Sports Medicine Weekly .