When dealing with a sports injury, it is important that athletes attend to both their physical and mental wellbeing. Whilst most recovery techniques focus on the physical side of things, there are a number of sport psychology methods that can help people deal with the difficult and confusing emotions that come with injury.
Feelings such as anger and sadness are common amongst athletes whose physical fitness is interrupted by an accident. Some may even experience episodes of depression. Here are a few strategies that may help you manage any difficult feelings that you may be experiencing after an injury:
Whilst your injury may not be your fault, focusing on the negative effects it has on your life and thinking of yourself as a victim will hinder your recovery process. To combat negative thoughts, you need to fully accept the reality of the injury and realise that you have the power to influence the recovery process. This will help to combat feelings surrounding loss of control and help you prepare for training again.
It is common for injured athletes to isolate themselves from friends and teammates following an injury. However, staying in contact with others will make the recovery process feel easier and quicker. Knowing that you don’t have to deal with your injury on your own can feel very reassuring and will keep your spirits up.
Sustaining an injury should not stop you from making plans for the future. Instead of viewing your injury as a crisis situation, think of it as an opportunity to set new goals and challenges. Switching to recovery-oriented goals rather than goals based purely on performance will help you stay motivated. Remember that a doctor or therapist can provide invaluable support during your recovery period, and will be able to offer advice about how realistic your targets are. It can be tempting to set overly ambitious goals, so trained professionals will be able to help you stay within your limits.
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