An easy way to understand how a sports injury affects a person is to compare it to a romantic break-up. The connection that one develops to their sport becomes a key part of their life and it can be very difficult when an injury causes that relationship take a break or end. This is both a loss of identity, and of the physiological benefits that come with sports participation. Exercise releases endorphins, which are chemicals that reduce perception of pain and trigger positive feelings in the body. Whether you are a professional athlete or just play for fun, not being about to participate can be devastating. But there are things you can do to lessen the blow while you are sitting on the sidelines. Here are some of my favorite suggestions:
1. Don’t ignore or try to suppress what you are feeling. Be aware of how the injury changes your daily living.
2. Build a routine that helps compensate for this change. It could include modified workouts, getting support from friends and family, and using mental tools such as meditation, imagery and visualization to help with both physical healing and keeping your sports skills sharp.
If you want to learn more about new mental skills to optimize your performance, please check out my book: Life as Sport.