I was picking up the lacrosse ball and my knee suddenly popped. I yelled in pain while I tried my hardest to keep running down the lacrosse floor. I used all the strength I had but I just couldn’t do it and started crying, knowing this was a very serious injury. I went from provincial all-star to the girl who may need to get knee surgery. It all happened so fast. What would you do in this situation?
Positivity is important for everyone because with the right mindset you can achieve anything. An interesting article published by the Mayo Clinic explains how positivity is good for your health because it gives you another perspective and another voice in your situation. If you are going through a tough injury or a time full of frustration and doubt, try to realize that your own actions and thinking can control the misfortunes and tragedies in your life. If you switch your negative mindset to a better one, it can affect your actions and thought process in a better direction.
A positive mindset is something that can be very difficult to have. In tough situations, our automatic reaction is to get angry, sad, frustrated or do something negative. Instead of always thinking about the worst possibility, try to think of the positive side. You will be healthier because positive thinking reduces stress, and gives you a better mindset. When you start thinking negatively, that can cause even more stress.
I know how it feels to go through stressful times. Recently I have been trying to overcome a horrendous injury that I got during my provincial lacrosse game. My initial reaction was to think about all the things I wouldn’t be able to do. The summer had just begun and I was the girl who sits on the couch with the messed-up knee. I felt very frustrated that such a horrible thing had to happen. I wasn’t in the right mindset and started to think negatively about the whole situation. I was worried that I would get so out of shape that I’d never be able to return to the sport that I loved.
But we can control those unhelpful, negative thoughts.
One useful strategy is to talk to someone close to you. The first thing I did, for example, was to talk to my dad. It turned out, he had some good advice:
Life you will have ups and downs. You will have to overcome obstacles that are unexpected. It will be hard for you to watch the sport you love to play, but this time off use it to get stronger. Use this as drive to get in the best shape of your life. Yes, this is a challenge for your, but after we find out the problem and focus on what to do you will become stronger then anyone else.
This helped me to understand that even in a bad situation there is a positive way to look at it.
Negative thinking is toxic because the more we focus on the worst, the more emotionally unstable we get. When I was in the emergency room in a wheelchair, I started crying because I thought there wasn’t anything I could control. I was wrong. No matter how hard the journey was, the one thing I could control was my attitude. If I kept sulking about how bad my knee injury was, that would just make the whole recovery process longer and a lot harder mentally.
It wasn’t easy, and although sometimes things got better, they also got worse. It was like I was on a rollercoaster ride. After two months of physiotherapy I started responding very well and I was cleared to start tackling. This was a huge step in my recovery because it felt like all my hard work was paying off. Unfortunately in my second practice back and I took the wrong step while running and injured it again. It felt like all my progress just went down the drain. But I knew what I was capable of: I was capable of overcoming being in a depressed state and could face this challenge.
After my physiotherapist tested my knee she said I needed to get an MRI and had the unwanted possibility of surgery. I knew that if I needed this surgery it would fix the problem and I could focus on my recovery. I started to change my mindset by watching recovery videos from people in my same situation. Watching their struggles and eventual successes really motivated me. I knew that no matter what happens, in the end I will become so much stronger.
Keeping a positive mindset takes practice. Another strategy is to take time to reflect your problem but also focus on what positive steps you can take moving forward. Try to change “what if” to “I will.” For example, if you think, “what if I’m a bad guitar player?” change it to, “I will practice as much as I can so I can develop more skill!”
Throughout this journey, I have learned and grown a lot. Yes, it really sucks that I could be getting surgery and may have to stop sports for months to even a year but after this whole process, I imagine how much stronger I will become. I imagine my first game back, playing the game I love the most. I understand that life throws us unexpected obstacles, but in the end we will get through it by controlling what we can: our own mindset. As we learn to respond and react to it in a optimistic way, we become healthier instead of lashing out in anger.
No matter what battle you are facing, you should know that you will get through your situation. It may feel like a long time, but you will become even stronger in the end. You should always try to think about the positives before all the negatives.
Simple Steps is an advice column focusing on motivation, written by Bear. Need some advice? Ask Bear by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Your identity will always be kept confidential.