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Healthy Mindset 11

Chapter 11: Dealing with Injuries and Setbacks

Anyone who has ever played a sport also knows that there will be times when you lose. It's how you deal with those losses that define you as an athlete. The same is true in life. You will have setbacks, but it's how you deal with them that defines you as a person. If you have a healthy mindset, you will see setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow. You will use them to make you stronger and more resilient. You will come out of them better than before.

Dealing with Setbacks A setback is anything that throws you off your game, whether it's an injury, a loss, or a bad day. It's important to learn how to deal with setbacks because they are a part of life. If you can learn to stay positive and keep moving forward even when things are tough, then you will be successful no matter what. It's important to have a healthy mindset when dealing with setbacks. Remember that setbacks are temporary, and they don't define you as a person. They are simply opportunities to learn and grow. So, don't let them get you down. Stay positive and keep moving forward. One of the best ways to deal with a setback is to be mindful of your thoughts and emotions. Don't dwell on what went wrong or how much it stinks. Instead, focus on the present moment and what you can do to improve the situation. Ashley Wagnor, an Olympic figure skater, said, “Setbacks are inevitable, especially in my sport. Ice is slippery. Life happens. But at the end of the day, you set a goal for yourself. If you can acknowledge that you are not just going to get there in a day and that it takes baby steps along the way, that makes it so much more manageable” (5 Olympians Share Their Advice for Overcoming Setbacks, 2018). Whenever you experience a setback, it's important to take a step back and assess your goals. Are you still on track to achieve what you set out to do? Or do you need to make some adjustments? For example, let's say you're training for a marathon. But then you get injured and have to take several weeks off from running. In this case, you might need to readjust your goal of running the marathon in 3 months. Instead, you might aim to run the marathon in 6 months. The key is not to get discouraged by setbacks. Instead, use them as an opportunity to reassess your goals and make any necessary adjustments. When it comes to competition, there are always going to be winners and losers. But no matter the outcome, there are always things that you can take away from the experience. For example, if you win, you can take pride in your accomplishments and use them to motivate you to keep pushing yourself. On the other hand, if you lose, you can learn from your mistakes and use them as a springboard for improvement. Either way, it’s important to remember that the key to success is always striving to do your best.

What setbacks have you dealt with in the past?

How did you react to those setbacks?

Knowing what you know now about developing a healthy mindset, what can you change in the way you deal with setbacks moving forward?

Dealing with Injuries Injuries are an unfortunate part of the game. But it's not just the physical pain that can be tough to deal with - the mental toll of an injury can be just as bad, if not worse. The key to recovery is to maintain a healthy mindset. It's important to stay positive and believe that you will make a full recovery. This can be difficult, but it's essential in order to stay motivated and focused on your rehabilitation. Having a healthy mindset can help athletes deal with injuries and setbacks in a few ways. First, mindfulness can help you stay in the present moment. When you're mindful, you're focused on the here and now rather than worrying about what might happen in the future. This can be helpful when you're dealing with an injury, as it allows you to focus on the healing process rather than worrying about when you'll be able to return to your sport. A healthy mindset can also help you accept your injury and the setbacks that come with it. Acceptance doesn't mean that you're happy about your injury, but it does mean that you're accepting of the situation and are willing to work through it.

Using Mindfulness to Deal with Injuries and Setbacks

Injuries and setbacks are an unfortunate part of any athlete's career. But how you deal with them can make all the difference. Mindfulness can be a powerful tool for managing pain, boredom, and frustration. Here are some tips for using mindfulness to deal with injuries and setbacks: Acknowledge your feelings. It's normal to feel disappointed, angry, or sad when you get injured or have a setback. Allow yourself to feel these emotions, but don't dwell on them. Acknowledge them and then let them go. Be present in the moment. When you're injured or dealing with a setback, it's easy to dwell on what could have been or what might happen in the future. But all that does is add to your stress levels. Instead, focus on the present moment and what you can do right now to help yourself recover. Don't compare yourself to others. It's natural to compare yourself to other athletes who are healthy and able to train freely. But this only leads to feelings of envy and resentment. Remember that everyone is on their own journey, and comparisons are pointless. Find things to appreciate. When you're injured or going through a tough time, it can be easy to focus on all the negative things. But there are always things to be grateful for. Maybe you have a great support system, or maybe you're able to use this time to work on other aspects of your life. Whatever it is, find something to appreciate each day. Aaron Volpatti was never supposed to make it to the NHL. That's what the doctors said after he was severely burned in an accident. But Aaron didn't listen to them. He worked hard in rehabilitation and made it his goal to play professional hockey. And that's exactly what he did. Aaron was a guest on my Podcast, The Mike Hartman Show, in January 2022. In the summer of 2005, his team had just lost a game, and the whole team went camping. Things got a little out of hand, and Aaron spilled gas on himself – then he caught on fire. Aaron received 2nd, and 3rd-degree burns to 35% of his body (Hartman, 2022, 7:00).

When he woke up in the hospital, he was wrapped like a mummy and thought his career was over (Hartman, 2022, 11:30). But he still had the mindset that he could bounce back and lead a relatively normal life. He got a call from his coach. A team was looking for a player, and Aaron fit the bill. His coach said, “I need a guy who can put the fear of God into the defensemen of the Ivy League.” There was just one problem. He was still recovering in the burn unit (Hartman, 2022, 14:58). “I hung up the phone, and I just remember crying and getting really emotion like I’d worked my whole life, almost 20 years for that opportunity, and now I’m stuck here, and my career is over,” he said (Hartman, 2022, 15:30). The doctors gave him a long list of reasons why he couldn’t play again, but Aaron just made a choice that would not be him, and he got to work. He said, “Mindset and visualization allowed me to go on this journey to the NHL, but it also saved my life after retirement” (Hartman, 2022, 3:03). Aaron is an inspiration to all athletes. He shows that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible. Despite the odds, he made it to the NHL and played for several years. He is a role model for anyone who has ever been told they can't achieve their dreams.

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