What No One Tells You About Coping With Sports Injury
“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” Dalai Lama, Haruki Murakami,
Injuries are a part of life for athletes and sportspeople. Unfortunately, it’s one of the hazards of the profession, and sometimes, some injuries can have a lasting impact on their mental health and not just their bodies.
Sports injuries come with struggles and challenges of rehabilitation that many sports fans would likely never see, but still, the athlete has to deal with them. Without proper management and care, a sportsperson may heal physically but never fully recover from their injury mentally.
Sports psychologists confirm that athletes recovering from injuries struggle with feelings of isolation, depression, incompetence, frustration, and even anxiety. “Would I ever be good enough to compete again?” Sometimes you may even have fully recovered from your injury, but your head keeps telling you you’re not ready.
If you’re rehabilitating from a sports injury, or you know someone who is, certain techniques can help to bounce back mentally during physically recovery. They are psychological skills that you can develop to help you fight your way out of your injuries successfully.
Set attainable goals
As you work towards physical recovery, set realistic goals for yourself that will help you monitor your progress. When you set realistic and achievable goals, you get your mind in sync with your body, so you know that you are getting better and can return to compete soon. In addition, your goals will serve as a drive, a push to keep you keep going even when you don’t feel like it. A good way to set goals is by using the SMART method. Set Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals for best results.
Take responsibility for your recovery
Although receiving help during your recovery period is great, don’t act entitled to it. You must accept that getting better is your responsibility, and changing your story is entirely up to you.
Mentally prime yourself to step up to the task when necessary to help you build confidence in your skills and existing abilities. Remember that the injury does not define you and that the skills and talent you had pre-injury have not disappeared.
Visualize yourself as fully recovered
Your injury time is not the time to mope around gloomy or sulking. Instead, you need to channel your mental energy into practicing visualization. See with your mind’s eye, over and over again, where you hope to be performing when you have recovered. The goals you want to achieve, the awards you wish to win, and the level you want to compete.
See yourself playing your sport and playing it excellently well. See yourself in action, doing what you know to do best. Picture yourself running across the field and being the star athlete you are. Read more about the role of visualization in boosting performance for better guidance.
Accept help from a psychologist
Working with a psychologist is one of the next steps towards complete recovery. They will help you maintain a positive outlook during the period and even afterward and help you acknowledge and understand your feelings and emotions. This way, you can avoid falling into depression or social isolation as you work towards recovery.