THE MOST IMPORTANT PHASE OF RECOVERY IS RESILIENCE
Last week we talked about building healthy habits. Those habits are a vital component of developing resiliency. Why is resiliency so important when discussing physical therapy or physical training? Because, no matter how much we train, how well we follow our physical therapy plan, how diligent we are about fueling our body with the right food, how consistently we hydrate, or how well we plan, we will eventually encounter a setback. Those setbacks can range from injuries to irritations that may require us to take time off from training. No matter the catalyst, we can more easily navigate these disappointing situations when we are able to rely upon our resiliency. Luckily, we build resilience as we engage in physical therapy.
A PROCESS OF RECOVERY AND DISCOVERY
When you experience setbacks in physical therapy or training you most successfully navigate the circumstance if you can pause and reflect. Believe it or not, this takes consistent practice. It's natural for our first reaction to be one of frustration, disappointment, or even anger. After all, when you have spent a significant amount of time putting in the work and enjoying the reward, it seems rather unfair to experience a backslide whether big or small. If we don't intentionally structure our daily habits in a way that supports the growth of our resiliency we will have a significantly harder time staging a comeback.
Resilience is a superpower that helps us to reduce the mental and physical impacts on our health and to grow through the experience with success. Resiliency allows us to not only manage the stress of an injury or setback with relative ease but also contributes to a faster recovery. When we understand that our setback is temporary and we reframe our thinking, we can more proactively and positively address the circumstance. Making progress in physical therapy helps us to gain experiences to draw upon when healing isn't going according to plan. In other words, your perspective will evolve and you will arrive at your next starting point with newfound confidence. You’ll likely even conclude that these experiences strengthen you more than you could have envisioned (both physically and mentally).
When we think about resiliency as it relates to physical therapy, we must remember that there will always be times when things do not go as planned. These setbacks are not an indication that things aren't working. Life throws us curveballs that can impede or pause our progress. And many of these situations are a sign that you are making progress. For example, say you've gone to physical therapy to address a chronic back issue and your goal was to rehab it to enjoy the myriad of activities you were once able to do. You follow the plan, gain strength and mobility, your pain subsides, and you can participate in all those activities you love once again! Success! But, spoiler alert, as your body gains more strength and mobility, you will tend toward challenging it in new ways (this is a good thing)! When you challenge your body, you may end up irritating a prior injury or even experiencing a new one. At this point, it is perfectly legit to be frustrated and disappointed; you may even question whether or not you should have engaged in the offending activity. But, this is also the point when you must take a step back and reframe your thinking. First, think about your end goal when you first went to physical therapy. If the goal was to get back out there and do all the things you once enjoyed, then hooray, this happened while you were doing just that! And now that you have gone through the process once, you can rely upon that frame of reference. You built resilience with your hard work and can rely on that experience to successfully navigate this one. Progress isn't linear, but forward is forward!
Resilience helps us to approach our challenges rationally. When we can reframe our thought processes, we can moderate our stress with greater ease, manage our emotions, practice mindfulness, and reaffirm our goals. The key is to spend your time and energy on the areas you have control and influence over and not to spend extraneous amounts of mental energy on those areas out of your control. Don’t let the starting point get you down. Start where you are, start over when you must, and remember that what the mind believes is what you can ultimately achieve.
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Wouldn't it be awesome if we could just stay pain and injury free forever? That is always the goal, but if you have a body and you use it regularly, the chances are you will experience something. And, if you do, we are always here to help you work your way through it. And, bonus! Along the way, we will help you to develop resilience. Not only will you be physically stronger, but you will be mentally stronger as well. If you are ready to strengthen your resilience muscle, reach out today!
Strong mind, strong body, strong life,
Nicole and the OMPT team Want workouts specific to your activity? Reach out for a customized plan.