Whether you’re a serious athlete or simply a happy-go-lucky running enthusiast, chances are strong that you will sustain a sports injury at some point in your life. The simple truth is that getting hurt sucks and it can seriously derail your self-confidence and your motivation to carry on. The good news is that you can train your brain to deal with an injury the same way you would train your body to deal with physical activity. Here are three ways you can use your mind to recover faster from a sports injury.
Mind power to recover from a sports injury
Don’t be consumed by it
Depending on your injury, getting hurt can be a very painful experience. Aside from the obvious physical pain you are probably experiencing, there is a mental pain that is often overlooked. You are grieving the loss of your normal ability and you will have to deal with this loss; which can involve feelings of depression, anger and frustration. The important thing is to accept that these feelings are normal.
However, there comes a point where you need to stop focusing on how much your injury sucks and start focusing on the way forward. This means pushing away thoughts of,” why me?” and turning them into thoughts of “what can I do to get healthy?” If you don’t, you could find yourself withdrawing from life which will only slow your recovery.
Use mental imagery
In sports psychology, the benefits of mental imagery or visualisation are often emphasised because imagery is not just something that happens in your head. Mental imagery has been shown to connect your mind and body and it can even activate your muscles in the same way as in sport.
Mental imagery is when you imagine yourself performing an activity using all of the senses, such as sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. You imagine yourself performing successfully and feeling satisfied with your effort. Mental imagery or visualisation can also be used to recall a past performance (such as beating a competitor) or to overcome negative thoughts by focusing on positive outcomes.
While you recover, imagine yourself improving in particular areas and continuing to practise. This will not only speed up the recovery process, but it will keep you motivated and inspired to get back into your sport as soon as possible. It will also keep your self-esteem and confidence levels up as you visualise yourself succeeding and winning.
Focus on another passion
Another way to recover faster from a sports injury is to focus your energy on something else. It makes sense that while you aren’t able to do what you normally do (whether you’re a professional athlete or not), you can spend your time and energy on another skill. Is there anything you’d like to learn more about? Have you wanted to learn another language but haven’t had the time? Well, now is the perfect opportunity. Find something you care about that you can throw all your energy into.
It will take your mind off your injury and it can increase your confidence as you excel at learning another skill. If your injury is less serious, you could even try your hand at another sport. As long as it won’t affect your path to recovery. For example, if you are a runner, swimming and cycling can serve as excellent cross-training workouts to build your strength.
Not being able to do what you love is difficult. However, it is better to take the time to recover properly than to run the risk of never taking part again. Use these three mental tricks to help you recover from your sports injury. You will find that you are back in the pool, on the track or on the field in no time.
Do you have an interest in mental skills training? Could you see yourself working with a professional sports team to overcome mental obstacles and improve their performance?
If you’ve answered yes to these questions, a Sports Psychology course could be just what you are looking for. Trifocus Fitness Academy is a leader in health and fitness education, offering an extensive array of health and fitness qualifications at competitive prices. To find out more about our sports psychology course or another internationally accredited fitness course, speak to one of our qualified consultants at 0861 444 765.