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Building A Strong Mind: 5 Ways To Mentally Cope With Knee Ligament Injury

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I will not lie, suffering from an ACL injury is a life changing moment. Only the person who is suffering from the pain understands the hardships they have to face. I get it. It has been observed that people who suffer from critical injuries like knee ligament injury, can feel many emotional and physical turmoils. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete whose season has abruptly ended or someone who now finds day to day activities troublesome, coping with the mental and emotional ups and downs is a crucial step toward recovery. In this blog, we will learn about how we can stay motivated during knee ligament injury treatment and ACL injury rehabilitation. 

1- Respect Your Feelings

One of the very first steps in knee ligament injury recovery or ACL knee injury recovery is to understand the emotional and mental turmoil you’re facing. It is important that you understand and acknowledge your feelings. If you’re feeling sad, just accept you’re sad and talk to your close friend about how you’re feeling. Accepting your emotions can largely affect the ACL injury recovery time.  Denial will only further lead to more anxiety and mental stress. 

Grieving is Normal

It is important that you recognize that you have lost certain abilities and routines. But it is also important to remember that these changes are temporary. Talking about your emotions to your friends and family can uplift a lot of mental stress and you will feel more focused towards getting better with an ACL injury treatment plan. 

Be Kind Towards Yourself

You have gone through a lot. The whole experience of knee ligament injury treatment is very painful and takes a toll on your mental state. Now imagine if your friend had been in the same state, I am sure you would have offered them the support they needed. Be that friend to yourself too. Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations and understand that setbacks are a part of the recovery process. 

2- Set Goals And Celebrate Small Victories

In order to maintain a positive mindset you can try setting up small and achievable goals/ milestones. As you achieve those you will be able to witness your progress and it will help you stay dedicated to your knee injury exercise regime. Achieving milestones will give you a sense of accomplishment and will help you stay focused. 

Set Your Game Plan

It’s your recovery journey and only you can decide how to navigate through it. Your physiotherapists can only guide you, at the end of it is you who will decide whether you want to adhere to it or not. So, set small and achievable goals and prepare a proper game plan about how you’re going to approach your ACL injury rehabilitation journey. I have also written a blog on how you can set SMART strategies to improve your rehabilitation journey. 

Celebrate Victories

Once you’re set with your game plan, you start your rehabilitation journey and approach this adversity head-on. As you achieve your goals, don't forget to celebrate it. Celebrating small victories will further help you stay motivated and will help you go back to your knee injury exercises with more confidence. 

Don't Push Yourself Too Hard

Planning a game plan is one thing and adhering to it is another. If you're able to adhere to it properly in one go or you’re facing setbacks, you need to remind yourself that Rome wasn’t built in a day, recovery will take time. Hence, staying flexible is also important. 

3- Stay Connected To Your Friends And Family

Repeat after me, I will not isolate myself. Isolation can also lead to many mental and emotional turmoils. You need to keep this in mind that you are not alone. There are people around you who will stay by your side no matter what. Hence, discard the feelings of isolation and remain in contact with your friends and family. 

Communication is the Key

If you do not tell anyone how you’re feeling and continue to feel sad, angry or frustrated; the feelings will only intensify. It will not get better if you will not share how you’re feeling. So call your friends and family and tell them how hard it has been for you and how you would like them to support you. 

Seek Empathy and Not Sympathy

While it’s natural for others to feel sorry for your situation, seek empathetic listeners. People who have gone through similar experiences will be able to understand more about your situation and in fact, they can also help you calm down and understand that what you’re feeling is normal and everyone who goes through such an experience feels that way. 

4- Focus on Mental Health Practices

Practising activities like meditation, mindfulness, and other relaxation techniques will help to relax and calm down. You’re already going through a lot and mental health practices will help you feel better on the inside too. Mindfulness will help you stay focused in the present and will help you overcome dwelling on what happened in the past. 

Meditation Will Help You 

You can use apps like Calm, or Headspace for guided meditation sessions. Meditation will help you stay focused and will also help you reflect on how you’re feeling. Sessions on these apps are designed to help reduce stress and anxiety. 

Visualise A Better You

If you are able to visualise yourself getting better, it means you do believe that you can get better. Visualisation will help you increase your focus. 

5- Explore New Hobbies

Well, just like they say, “Every cloud has a silver lining”. And, in your case, it is the fact that now you have the chance and the time to learn a new skill. You can utilise this time to learn activities like singing, creative writing, reading a book you haven’t been able to read, etc. When I suffered from a broken shoulder and wasn’t able to move my hands for months, I used that time to finish several books that I always wanted to read. 

Keep Your Mind Active

You can also engage in activities that enhance the cognitive strength of your brain like solving a crossword puzzle, learning a new language, etc. This will keep you distracted from your grief and help you stay positive. 

Engage In Volunteerism

Now that you have time in your hand, why not utilise this time to uplift society. Read about the social issues people in your community may be facing, engage in volunteerism and channel your energy towards a good cause. 

What We Learned So Far

Your key takeaway from this blog is that you need to firstly surround yourself with optimistic people, maintain contact with your friends and family, understand your emotions and say I am going to be OK! 

Granimals offers a comprehensive online physiotherapy session, we are a growing community of like minded people. If you agree with what I wrote here, join us and become a Granimal yourself.  

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Q1- What are the psychological responses to ACL injury? 

Answer- Recovering from an ACL injury comes with many emotional and mental turmoils. A patient may suffer from anxiety, anger, frustration, etc. 

Q2- Why tearing your ACL is so devastating? 

Answer- ACL injury brings instability in the knee which hinders basic every day to day life activities like walking, going to the washroom, etc. Even after surgery, a patient may not be able to walk for weeks and when they do, they have to walk with the help of a stick or something like that. This entire process can feel devastating to the person who is suffering from an ACL knee injury. 

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