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5 Positive Steps Towards Regaining Your Life After A Personal Injury

5 Positive Steps Towards Regaining Your Life After A Personal Injury

Only those that have suffered through a major setback in life, like a personal injury, can understand how difficult it is to put the pieces of your life back together again. While it may be challenging to find the will when you’re incapacitated, you have the opportunity to overcome obstacles that in turn only makes you stronger. You may have to adapt by restricting yourself of certain activities but know that you can find passion in life again. There are people and methods that are there to help you. You just have to take the steps and never stop believing in yourself. It’s through perseverance regardless of circumstance that we truly understand our power.

1. Face and Accept What Happened

No matter what type of personal injury you have suffered, there is some level of acceptance you’ll want to reach to mentally heal from it. Don’t shut out the events no matter how painful. While the brain naturally tries to protect you from emotional pain and struggle, to move past the personal injury, you need to face it and make your peace. Don’t allow yourself to repress the feelings you have surrounding your injury. It’s only going to serve as an obstacle in your rehabilitation. Seek help if you need to but find a way to deal with what’s happened to you. This is essential for mental and physical recovery. Acceptance is the foundation for you to heal.

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2. Ask For Help

After a personal injury, you may have moments where you lose faith that you’ll get back on your feet. This is the time to round up your friends and family and ask for help. Researchers have found that support from loved ones and others in your position can rapidly increase psychological recovery. When life gets difficult, your bond with people tend to deepen. You feel supported and cared about. This prevents you from feeling negative about your situation which in turn accelerates your recovery time. You may be surprised at the depth people care for you. You also increase your chances of a full recovery.

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3. Explore New Horizons

Psychology Today speaks in length about posttraumatic growth. There are two roads you can take when you’ve dealt with a traumatic situation through personal injury. You can stop living or struggle with what your life once was, alternatively, the experience of trauma can lead you to a new direction. Finding a blessing amongst adversity is highly empowering. Your life may become even more meaningful and rich.

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4. Protect Yourself

A personal injury can result in losing valuable assets you’ve worked hard for. Initially, you may not think you’ll be incapacitated for long but healing can often take longer than you expect. Make sure you record details of the events as soon as possible. Depending on the situation, you may need to contact the police or maybe even a lawyer. Chicago personal injury lawyer John Borcia recommends getting legal representation immediately if you fear loss of wages. Dealing with emotional and physical pain shouldn’t be compounded by the stress of finances.

5. Practice Patience

Recovery after a personal injury can take time. Usually, more time than you’d like. There may be some things you can’t do for awhile in which case it’s time to seek out what you can do. Talk about what happened to those who will listen. Take the time to properly rehabilitate instead of rushing the process. Take it day by day and do what you can. Keep a positive frame of mind and focus on the end goal. Keeping track of the small goals towards rehabilitation will keep you motivated on your path to full recovery.

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Loraine Couturier

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Last Updated on September 10, 2018

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

We thought that the expression ‘broken heart’ was just a metaphor, but science is telling us that it is not: breakups and rejections do cause physical pain. When a group of psychologists asked research participants to look at images of their ex-partners who broke up with them, researchers found that the same brain areas that are activated by physical pain are also activated by looking at images of ex-partners. Looking at images of our ex is a painful experience, literally.[1].

Given that the effect of rejections and breakups is the same as the effect of physical pain, scientists have speculated on whether the practices that reduce physical pain could be used to reduce the emotional pain that follows from breakups and rejections. In a study on whether painkillers reduce the emotional pain caused by a breakup, researchers found that painkillers did help. Individuals who took painkillers were better able to deal with their breakup. Tamar Cohen wrote that “A simple dose of paracetamol could help ease the pain of a broken heart.”[2]

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Just like painkillers can be used to ease the pain of a broken heart, other practices that ease physical pain can also be used to ease the pain of rejections and breakups. Three of these scientifically validated practices are presented in this article.

Looking at images of loved ones

While images of ex-partners stimulate the pain neuro-circuitry in our brain, images of loved ones activate a different circuitry. Looking at images of people who care about us increases the release of oxytocin in our body. Oxytocin, or the “cuddle hormone,” is the hormone that our body relies on to induce in us a soothing feeling of tranquility, even when we are under high stress and pain.

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In fact, oxytocin was found to have a crucial role as a mother is giving birth to her baby. Despite the extreme pain that a mother has to endure during delivery, the high level of oxytocin secreted by her body transforms pain into pleasure. Mariem Melainine notes that, “Oxytocin levels are usually at their peak during delivery, which promotes a sense of euphoria in the mother and helps her develop a stronger bond with her baby.”[3]

Whenever you feel tempted to look at images of your ex-partner, log into your Facebook page and start browsing images of your loved ones. As Eva Ritvo, M.D. notes, “Facebook fools our brain into believing that loved ones surround us, which historically was essential to our survival. The human brain, because it evolved thousands of years before photography, fails on many levels to recognize the difference between pictures and people”[4]

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Exercise

Endorphins are neurotransmitters that reduce our perception of pain. When our body is high on endorphins, painful sensations are kept outside of conscious awareness. It was found that exercise causes endorphins to be secreted in the brain and as a result produce a feeling of power, as psychologist Alex Korb noted in his book: “Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, neurotransmitters that act on your neurons like opiates (such as morphine or Vicodin) by sending a neural signal to reduce pain and provide anxiety relief.”[5] By inhibiting pain from being transmitted to our brain, exercise acts as a powerful antidote to the pain caused by rejections and breakups.

Meditation

Jon Kabat Zinn, a doctor who pioneered the use of mindfulness meditation therapy for patients with chronic pain, has argued that it is not pain itself that is harmful to our mental health, rather, it is the way we react to pain. When we react to pain with irritation, frustration, and self-pity, more pain is generated, and we enter a never ending spiral of painful thoughts and sensations.

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In order to disrupt the domino effect caused by reacting to pain with pain, Kabat Zinn and other proponents of mindfulness meditation therapy have suggested reacting to pain through nonjudgmental contemplation and acceptance. By practicing meditation on a daily basis and getting used to the habit of paying attention to the sensations generated by our body (including the painful ones and by observing these sensations nonjudgmentally and with compassion) our brain develops the habit of reacting to pain with grace and patience.

When you find yourself thinking about a recent breakup or a recent rejection, close your eyes and pay attention to the sensations produced by your body. Take deep breaths and as you are feeling the sensations produced by your body, distance yourself from them, and observe them without judgment and with compassion. If your brain starts wandering and gets distracted, gently bring back your compassionate nonjudgmental attention to your body. Try to do this exercise for one minute and gradually increase its duration.

With consistent practice, nonjudgmental acceptance will become our default reaction to breakups, rejections, and other disappointments that we experience in life. Every rejection and every breakup teaches us great lessons about relationships and about ourselves.

Featured photo credit: condesign via pixabay.com

Reference

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