Power of our Mind in Rehab
Power of our Mind in Rehab
As we enter the New Year, we make resolutions, goals, and intentions for what we would like to achieve in 2018. Some of these goals pertain to health, fitness, and physical abilities. Maybe they incorporate financial goals.
Some years ago, I was asked by a quite accomplished massage therapist, “How are you able to feel what you do with your hands?” My answer was very simple; “Because no one told me I couldn’t.” I admit that perhaps I had selective listening and did not hear any of the messages of “You can’t”. This message has guided me well in my practice of physical therapy with clients.
The same message works with the resolutions, goals, and intentions you set for yourselves. When working with patients, I too often hear, “I can’t do this. I’m not good at X. I’ve never been able to do it.” But I believe that, if you feel you can’t, this message is so invasive and toxic, that you are creating your own obstacles to achieving your goals. Now as a coach or as a physical therapist, we are the guides to give you the steps for working towards that which you can achieve. We practice patience and compassion for the patient, who is on the way to recovery, giving encouragement and guidance, but our jobs would be so much easier and the results come faster if we didn’t need to also contend with self negation and negative thoughts.
No road is a straight line. In rehabilitating from a specific injury, there are also no straight lines of progress. There will be times when a plateau is reached. Usually the greatest seen improvement occurs during the early phases in rehabilitation. Later, the gains are not as extreme and noticeable. You may give up. This is when your mind wonders whether to stop or keep going. My former instructor would read an excerpt from the book, “Mastery: the Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment” by George Leonard. The excerpt was about “Loving the Plateau” and read to us on the 3rd morning of a 4 day class when we students felt overwhelmed, wondering if we would ever “get it.” This concept is key. When you feel you have reached a plateau, don’t think “This is the best it will be”. Embrace the plateau and keep going. If you stick with it, eventually you will gain a new level of ability. No one can tell you exactly how far you will go, what you can achieve. Time, patience and perseverance will serve you well.
So as you venture forth into 2018, please keep in mind that you can get in your own way on the road to your goals. There will be bumps in the road; there is no straight line to success. Learn to love the plateau and continue on, whether to personal or physical achievements. If you think you can, you