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8 Hacks to Conquer a Life-changing Injury like a Boss

8 Hacks to Conquer a Life-changing Injury like a Boss

Life is rarely easy but, for some unlucky few, it often throws a life-changing curve ball. While many of us can shrug off cuts and bruises, there are some injuries that change lives.

It’s during these challenging moments that many people simply give up and accept their change as a loss. However, life is full of pleasant surprises and examples that show a better option – talk about transforming lemons into lemonades. History is full of people accepting their devastating injuries and like true champions – finding a way to achieve even more in the aftermath.

A valuable example can be easily traced to the success stories already being achieved in the wake of the Boston Marathon Bombing. Survivors suffered various injuries and health issues, yet many are achieving great things with their lives, using the experience gained to realize their potential – all in just two years!

So, how can you take inspiration from these real life heroes and improve your own life when the worst happens? Life-changing injuries don’t need to be a change for the worse and, with these life hacks, you can strive to overcome them like a boss!

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1. Don’t Live in Denial

A positive attitude really does count for a lot, but even this initially requires acceptance. How can you have the right frame of mind if you don’t come to terms with your physical changes? One of the first things you should do is accept, both mentally and physically, what you can and can’t do.

To put it another way, this is a way of finding your current limits and setting a goal to beat them. Once you know what you are and are not currently capable of, you can start finding ways to push that bar higher and higher. Denial, on the other hand, will simply mislead you.

2. Set Goals

Speaking of goals, it’s important to have a series of achievable targets, rather than one large or vague goal. The latter might look impossible, while a series of objectives more firmly within reach gives you something to constantly strive for. This can be as simple as using a wheelchair, learning to stand up on your own and then walking.

3. Find an Outlet

When injuries change you on a physical level, it’s often no surprise to experience emotional or mental changes as well. As part of the healing process, it helps to find an emotional outlet. Not only will this give you a means to work through your pain; it can help fill time, encourage you to head outdoors, and even meet others.

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This is also important because, in many incidents, the brain can be just as damaged as the body. The mind is a frail thing, so be sure not to neglect it during these difficult times.

4. Practice Mindfulness

As mentioned earlier on, it helps to accept your own physical limitations. Similarly, you should always keep these in mind, practicing constant mindfulness to ensure you don’t take on too much, do something dangerous, or push yourself too hard.

5. Go Back to Nature

There’s always been something calm and relaxing about the natural world and modern science suggests that even the smallest touches of nature can help people heal. Whether it’s the vibrant colors, the enticing fragrance or just forgetting about the city for a while, nature can play a large role in the healing process.

You don’t need to even leave your home to do this. While a day away from the city life can do wonders, there’s nothing wrong with growing flowers and plants in your home. There are many activities you can enjoy with loved ones by simply embracing the environment.

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6. Meet with Others

It’s a big world out there and no matter what happens, you are never alone. There are always other people who have experienced something similar and if you take the time to look, you can find people willing to share experiences. Perhaps more importantly, they might understand better too.

Part of coming to terms with, and consequently beating injuries is finding a way to be happy. Positive thinking can lead to better, faster recovery rates and meeting like-minded individuals is a great way to do this. What’s more, people like company and seldom benefit from long periods of loneliness. Therefore, regular contact with other individuals will definitely give you the cheer to beat your setback!

7. Your Disability is not an Excuse

One of the biggest issues with disabilities is that life itself is often seen as an excuse. Yet, the fact remains that disabled people can do just as much as anyone else. The best way to describe this is to look at two different options.

In one instance, you can work around your limitations or injury and find something you can do. This includes finding a job, or finding new hobbies to replace ones you no longer feel are suitable. By choosing a new path, you can stay active, engaged and happy.

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On the other hand, there are those who wish to push through their injuries, seeing the disability as a challenge. Many runners from the unfortunate Boston Marathon incident for example, have gone on to run again, defying expectations.

In either case, you’re doing something. If you accept your disability and use it as a means to get out of things, life will never improve. Like anyone else, you have to push yourself and not fall back on excuses.

8. Become an Example/Inspiration to Others

Finally and perhaps, most importantly, you should always set an example for others. Many people look up to the survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing. Many have become a shining example of what individuals can achieve and if you’re ever in the same situation, there’s really no excuse not to do the same.

In summary, many of these points focus on finding a passion or goal to inspire yourself but, by being the best you can be, you will also inspire others to do the same as well. Start thinking about how you want others to see you, and plan then to become that person!

Featured photo credit: Official U.S. Navy Page via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Step right up, don’t be shy!

Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

Culturally Conditioned

We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

1. Broadens Your Network

After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

2. Improves Your Communication Skills

I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

3. Continually Learning

So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

4. Increases Self Confidence

Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

How to Talk to Strangers

Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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1. Say Hello

Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

2. Ask About Them

Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

3. Just Do It

One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

4. Don’t Take It Personal

One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

6. Detach

A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

7. Share Your Stories

Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

8. Give a Compliment

Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

9. Relax Your Body Language

If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

The Bottom Line

As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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