Resilience is the ability to recover from or adjust to misfortune or change. Successful recovery from injury requires resilience to overcome physical and psychological challenges. There will always be times during rehabilitation when things seem to never go as planned. This could be a set back where pain or swelling increases temporarily for unexplained reasons. During these situations, it can be easy to look for excuses or a quick fix solution. However, the true solution often lies within us in the form of resiliency.
Physical therapists, trainers, or coaches can assist by instilling a sense of resiliency within their patients or clients. This begins by developing trust and truly understanding what the end goal is. Understanding the desired outcome and feeling prepared for when adversity strikes is a crucial step towards building resilience. Attempting to motivate or push individuals is rarely successful under conditions of adversity. Parents who continuously push their child in sports often undermine resilience and contribute to burnout. The same often occurs during rehabilitation when healthcare providers fail to collaborate and problem solve with their patients.
Resilience and Mindset
Patients and athletes recovering from an injury often expect the worst. This mindset is extremely detrimental to recovery. In order to handle adversity and the challenges of rehabilitation, it is important to put in good old-fashioned hard work. This work must be purposeful, intense, and practiced repeatedly in order to build resilience. Those who commit to putting in the work build resilience and begin to expect success. Those who fail to put in the work often expect the next set back and feel helpless about it. Ultimately, we become what we continuously think about. Expecting a set back with a sense of helplessness will nearly always lead to failure.
Putting in the Work & Mental Toughness
Following through with a rehabilitation program at 100% is an example of putting in the work. This contributes to developing resilience through physical means such as building a foundation of strength and optimizing movement patterns. Putting in the work also develops resilience through mental toughness. When injury or adversity ensues, some look for passive solutions while others dig deep into their mental toughness and work to make things right. These are life skills and personal traits which go beyond rehabilitation or sport.
Successful recovery from injury requires resilience. Resilience requires purpose, goals, hard work, repetition, and mental toughness. Developing a trusting and collaborative relationship with your physical therapist will better prepare you for when adversity strikes. When adversity does appear, the solution is often found within. The resilient individual will adapt and overcome. When things are not going well during rehabilitation, take back control and get yourself back on track.