Going beyond the physical
so that you can heal
completely with ease.
How to Overcome Fear after Injury
You’ve probably heard the saying, “fall hard seven times, rise up eight times.” Does it sound like an easy task? Well, when you suffer an injury it’s definitely not as easy as it sounds! After I broke my ankle, I got really scared. You can imagine I was scared of not being able to walk or run ever again, but the biggest fear was of being re-injured again. Of doing something that would damage my healing tendons or cause the fracture in the bone to open again. But my fear did not paralyze me. It did not stop me from making progress until I finally got to run and swim and bike again! So I know you can overcome this, if your post-injury fear still keeps you paralyzed.
Here are three tips to help you remove that fear and get you moving!
Talk to your mind
Never, ever underestimate the power of positive visualization. Fear can be a warning sometimes, but more often it comes from unrealistic events and expectations in your head. Therefore, you have to talk to your mind and calm yourself. Calming yourself will release the tensions in your muscles. My personal daily mantra during the recovery was “My body is capable of doing this. I am totally safe.” Everyday I would say that to myself to get rid of my fears. I would greet every new challenge I faced (and you know you face plenty of challenges getting back up after an injury).
Recovery is not only a physical thing. It is also an emotional and psychological experience.
Most athletes that do not recover quickly have negative thoughts and emotions, including fear! Imagine the fear of not being able to compete again. But there are those that recover better because they keep their vision of being able to step on the playing field again. What are the positive affirmations you can tell yourself? Here are some examples:
- I am strong and healthy. My body is repairing itself.
- I am improving day by day. I will be pain free.
- My body is full of energy. Everyday I am getting better.
- I will _________ (insert physical activity you enjoy) soon.
I suggest that you post your daily mantra or positive affirmation in a place where you can read it everyday. Place it in your bedroom. Have a small note on your bathroom mirror. Keep reminding yourself of it throughout the day – this will make it even easier to draw strength from when you need it.
Relax your muscles
Did you know fear makes you tense up? When you are scared or afraid, your muscles are tighter – you’re basically poised for action, fight or flight.
This can lead to you experiencing more pain when you walk or run, because your tendons are probably tight already, and you’re adding tight muscles into the mix as well.
That’s why my first tip is to be more relaxed and practice positive affirmations. Now go one step further and bring some visualization to your physical state of being. Just imagine having a good massage after a long day. Doesn’t it feel great? Aren’t your muscles relaxed? That state must be your state during your recovery. Being physically paralyzed by fear can lead to more physically pain, which makes it harder to take the necessary steps forward. So if you find yourself tensing up at the thought of physiotherapy or doing the exercises that you know will benefit you in the long run, do some relaxation techniques.
First, calm yourself by taking a few deep breaths, following each breath all the way down as it enters your body and fills your lungs, then out again. Then take a minute or two to visualize each part of your body loosening up and relaxing. This will help you to keep your muscles relaxed and soon, you’ll be running again!
Find a mentor
It’s really normal to be afraid or feel anxious about recovery. That is why having someone mentor you through it can help you move through this process better. You will of course get the necessary medical treatment from your doctor and will likely go through quite a few physiotherapy sessions. But a mentor or a coach can help you set timelines and goals during your recovery, be there to track your progress, motivate you and hold you accountable when necessary.
Find someone who can relate to what you’re experiencing.
This can be a friend, it can be a partner or relative, or it can be someone who’s in the business of helping people achieve the best possible results, no matter what the situation. If you need an injury recovery expert who understands what you’re going through, then drop me a message and we can have a look at your current situation, your goals, and set the plan for you to reach them!
So to close, I have two important questions for you. Are you, or have you ever found yourself paralyzed by fear after an injury? And what exactly was the injury that caused this? Comment below with your answers!