It's common to feel a great deal of disappointment after an injury. The feeling of worry and anxiety is hard to get rid of, even if you try very hard. It can be difficult for those who don't suffer from anxiety to understand how debilitating this experience can be for other people.
But, this is okay.
Anxiety is a natural response that almost all people experience from time to time. It can be described as an unpleasant emotion that varies in intensity and duration.
It can often be felt as a feeling of worry or fear. This emotion is believed to have evolved in order for our ancestors to detect threats and dangers.
What's the cause?
Everyone's case is different. It's tough to give a blanket answer.
It's difficult to know what exactly causes anxiety after an injury. It varies to each individual's circumstance. It could be the physical pain, or it could be internal feelings of guilt or fear of the surgery procedure.
It could be due to the worry that you might not recover and uncertainty about possible future outcomes. It's also possible to feel anxious after an injury because it makes you realize how fragile life can be.
Anxiety is in essence, is a lack of understanding.
In the absence of knowledge or information about something, our minds tend to fill in the blanks with fear and panic. These feelings are often amplified by an individual's own imagination and irrationality.
For example, suppose you have an injury on your foot. You may have started to develop anxiety around that injury because it's affecting your ability to walk normally.
You start to wonder about many different scenarios: how you'll be able to resume your day-to-day, how you'll be able to shower, how you'll be able to drive, how long it will take to recover, etc.
But by having a conversation with your doctor—and even others who have been in your situation—all these thoughts can be at ease.
An agent for change
Feeling anxious about something we can change is often a good motivator to take action.
Anxiety can be useful when it leads us to engage in productive activities like studying, preparing for an exam, going to physical therapy, being more mindful or seeking therapy.
Learning how to cope with anxiety effectively is a skill of its own. There are many effective tools and strategies for managing anxiety. A modern approach to meditation is called non-sleep deep rest, a practice coined by neuroscientist Andrew Huberman.
It's going to fine
Feeling anxiety when we get injured is an entirely normal response to something we've never experienced before. If we were meant to take every experience at face value, and respond with such fear, then evolution would have never allowed us the chance of survival.
Rest assured, as long as we get proper professional help and guidance, these feelings will pass.
Here are some effective ways to cope with anxiety after an injury:
Power of positive thinking
To be positive is to see the good in everything that happens and to make the best of all situations. A positive person will always look for something good in a bad situation or take pleasure from what they have, instead of focusing on what they do not have.
Thus, a positive person will see the silver lining of every cloud, look for something good in every bad situation, and make the best out of any negative.
A positive person is not necessarily a happy person or someone who laughs all the time. He may be unhappy but still sees something good about his situation.
There are no guarantees about the future, however. There is always a possibility that things will not turn out the way we want, but positive people try to take control of their emotions and reaction and make the best of it.
Putting in the work
The most important thing to understand about having a positive attitude is that it is not just something you can turn on and off at will. It has to be cultivated, nurtured, developed over time.
The effort put into shifting our thinking and becoming a person with a positive attitude pays off in dividends.
One thing that would be good to do is to get into the habit of looking for things you could be grateful for, and when they come up make sure you really notice them.
Really let yourself be aware of the good things in your life, and really feel a sense of gratitude for them.
Mindfulness and meditation
The term mindfulness is from Buddhist tradition and implies being aware of one's thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, surrounding environment, etc.
The biggest benefits of mindfulness and meditation are that it helps you be in the now, instead of being caught up in thoughts about the past or future.
The biggest benefit is when we don't have time to meditate but take a few seconds out of our day to just stop and breathe for a minute or two —this brings us back into the present moment.
Meditation is about being able to still your mind so you can focus on staying positive and finding the good in situations. You learn from meditation that there are two things that keep people stuck: anger and fear.
Meditation has been proven to have a positive effect on anxiety, depression, stress levels, and chronic pain, among many other things.
Therapy can be an effective way to identify and deal with the issues that trouble our minds.
It helps us to change the way we think about everything. It challenges our beliefs and gives us new perspectives. We have so much trouble looking at things from other people's point of view that we need outside help when doing this.
In general, the benefits of therapy is to provide us with an outlet to discuss our problems and how we feel about them. Having this ability can help us gain more control over how we think and deal with these issues.
When we first experience anxiety, it's natural to feel overwhelmed and hopeless. But rest assured, this feeling will pass. It's okay to feel this way. Take a moment to pause, sit comfortably, breathe intently. This will pass.