What would happen if you combined a New Age ‘feel good’ practice with hard science in an effort to improve stroke recovery?
You’d end up with affirmations.
Whether the concept of affirmations is new or old to you, it doesn’t matter. This article will help boost your recovery using a simple, scientifically proven method. We’ll introduce the basics and explain the science behind how it works.
Then, we’ll set you up with a practice to do on your own.
What Are Affirmations?
Affirmation are sentences or phrases aimed at training the subconscious mind into believing something that you may not believe yet.
For example, “I am a patient person” is an affirmation aimed at retraining the mind to believe that you’re patient. Or, “I will achieve a full recovery” is an affirmation aimed at convincing the mind to believe that you will achieve a full recovery.
Why Are They Effective?
The only way to achieve success during stroke recovery is through action, and affirmations are an excellent way of motivating action.
Because if we don’t believe in ourselves, we won’t take action because, what’s the point?
But if we truly believe in ourselves – if we truly believe that a full recovery is possible – then we will find the motivation to take action and work towards the recovery we deserve.
The Science Behind It All
The science behind affirmations revolves around neuroplasticity, which is mechanism that your brain uses to rewire and reshape itself.
Neuroplasticity gives us control over our reality by giving us control over how we shape our brain.
Here’s how it works: Each time you repeat a thought or action, neuroplasticity helps strengthens the neural pathways in your brain responsible for those thoughts and actions.
So whatever you think, feel, and do repeatedly will become your brain.
So each time you repeat an affirmation, you are hardwiring those pathways into your brain. In the beginning, your affirmations take conscious effort. By the end, your affirmations will have become part of your brain.
If you repeat that phrase, “I will achieve a full recovery” over and over and over, it will strengthen those connections in your brain responsible for that belief. With enough repetition, you will start believing that you will achieve a full recovery.
Imagine what that can do for your motivation!
3 Steps to Start Your Practice
Identify any limiting beliefs you may have. An easy way to identify these beliefs is to pinpoint any place where you feel stuck in your recovery.
- Is there a particular area where you’ve given up hope?
- Is there a particular thought that makes you depressed?
- Where do you want to see change?
Write down at least 3 of these limiting beliefs, and then rewrite them in a positive, opposite way. These will be your affirmations. (An example will follow.)
Repeat each affirmation at least ten times a day – ideally 50 times a day. Remember, we’re rewiring our brain, and it take serious repetition to take place.
The more you repeat your affirmations, the more motivation you will feel, and the faster your recovery will move along.
Let’s say that there’s a young stroke survivor named Kyle who has unfortunately lost hope and motivation to pursue rehab. His whole left side is paralyzed, and he has slipped into depression.
As Kyle investigates his limiting beliefs, he may have trouble pinpointing where exactly he’s stuck. But after taking some time to reflect, he realizes that his paralysis and lack of support are causing his depression.
With these two problems in mind, he writes down the limiting beliefs of:
- I feel like I’ll never move my left side again
- I feel like I don’t have any friends or support
- I feel like my situation is hopeless
Working off these limiting beliefs, Kyle would reverse them into the following positive affirmations:
- I will move my left side again
- I have an abundance of support around me
- I am in the process of creating positive change
If Kyle repeated each of these affirmations fifty times a day, he will notice a new source of motivation within himself to pursue rehab and reach out to his friends.
A Final Word on Why This Works
Because all action begins with a belief.
- We pursue rehab because we believe it will make us better.
- We feel happy because we believe we are supported and cared for.
- We go the extra mile because we believe that we’re ambitious.
Without a supporting belief, there’s no reason to take action.
And affirmations are the best way to hardwire those beliefs into your brain.
Each time you repeat your affirmations, the connections in your brain responsible for those beliefs becomes a little stronger. As you continue your practice each day, you will slowly build an arsenal of positive beliefs about yourself and your recovery.
And when you sincerely believe in yourself and your recovery – you can move mountains.
You can become a miracle story of someone who beat all odds and recovered way more movement that anyone thought.
Because you simply believed.