Our understanding of recovery from injury owes much to professional sport. Studies of athletes who have made a rapid and complete recovery from serious injury reveal these common threads:
- They are dedicated to regaining full fitness, and insist on nothing less. Many want more – to be in better shape than they were before their injuries.
- They approach recovery one step, gaining satisfaction from reaching small milestones. Thinking about the whole rehabilitation process at once can be too intimidating.
- They have an incentive for recovery, e.g. a cup final, Olympic appearance, medals to win.
- They involve themselves fully and participate in the healing process.
- They believe they can influence the course of events.
- They don’t compare themselves with others. Comparisons with rivals can be unhelpful. They focus on their own progress.
How can we use these insights to heal ourselves of injuries and disease?
1. Take full responsibility
Assume full responsibility for your healing. Realise that all doctors can do is create the conditions in which your body’s natural healing processes are encouraged. The more you help yourself, the sooner you’ll get better.
2. Aim for full health and fitness
Dedicate yourself to regaining full health and fitness. Nothing less.
3. Have an incentive for recovery
Find as many reasons as you can to get better. Write them down. Read them every day. If you have a loving family, or a successful business to return to, you’re more likely to recover than someone who is lonely or unemployed. The reverse is also true – if you have an investment in being ill, ill you’ll stay.
Tension is one of the great enemies of healing. The best way to eliminate it is to learn to relax deeply and practise at least twice every day.
6. Creative Imagery and Affirmations
Your body responds to your thoughts and mental imagery. Give your mind a compelling description and image of what you want and your cells go to work to make it a reality.
Emile Coue, a French psychologist working in the early part of the twentieth century, coined an affirmation which has astounding results when used regularly:
‘Every day in every way I’m getting better and better.’
Choose affirmations such as:
- All my muscles and organs work in perfect harmony.
- Love fills my whole being and dissolves away anything detrimental to my health.
- I am strong and healthy and full of energy.
- I take good care of myself.
These tools work for everyone – not just athletes – whatever the injury or condition. Try them for yourself!
©David Lawrence Preston, 9.7.2016
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