Recovering from Injury … The Mental Battle | with IFBB Pro Brad Rowe
Many people spend their whole lives in fear of injury. This fear is natural as part of our self preservation instincts. But some let the fear consume them and can’t live out their lives to the fullest. When injuries do occur, it plays into our deepest fears and can drive us into an extremely negative state.
We worry about the basics like being able to provide for ourselves or family due to injury. Some also worry that the quality of life will be reduced long term, or even ruin their ability to perform their hobbies and interests or even worse, their careers as in professional sports or other physical jobs.
The Mental Stress State & Physical Recovery State
This negative thinking is the worst thing you can do to ensure a full and swift recovery. Not only do we ball up and become depressed or angry and put strain on external relationships. But we force our body into a continuous stressed state. This enhances our sympathetic nervous systems response into prolonged action. This causes increases in cortisol levels and changes in other hormonal systems. It does not allow our body to fully expend nutrients and resources into healing. But even worse it disrupts our entire body. A prolonged stressed state effects digestion, metabolism, anabolic state, neurotransmitter response, and further drives us into a deeper negative mental state. As you can see you are now dealing with far more than just the injury at this point and are really doing damage to all the systems of your body!
Staying positive can be very difficult especially if it’s the first time dealing with major injury, or reoccurring injuries that continually set you back. So the first step is to control the mind and the body will follow. You must cultivate positive thoughts through out the day from the moment you wake until you go to bed. Think about all the great things and people you have in your life, think about past accomplishments, think about future plans, try meditation and breathing techniques.
From a physical standpoint….remain active! If you have injured your right arm, you can still do activities with your legs and your left arm. Not only will being active increase blood flow which delivers nutrients and other healing factors to the injury, but you release endorphins that help perpetuate a positive outlook.
Accomplish small tasks through out the day. Create a checklist of things you may have been putting off for sometime. Start knocking off easy things. This again creates a feeling of accomplishment and well being which helps you feel like the injury is not that debilitating. Put a little more focus on those that love you. Again this will help perpetuate a positive feeling knowing you are building greater bonds with those that are closest to you instead of pushing them away like we would in a negative/depressed mindset.
So much of our bodies responses are controlled by our thoughts. All the proper nutrition, supplementation, therapy, and other medical modalities do not nearly do as much for recovery than keeping a positive outlook on our situation. Always move in a forward direction no matter how small the steps are because they still add up and bring us closer to what we want in life.
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