There are many ways to boost motivation during stroke recovery, but the most effective tactic by far is using what you enjoy to recover.
Don’t wait until you recover to enjoy the activities you love. Use those activities to help you recover!
So, what activities did you most enjoy before stroke? Identify them, and then find a way to incorporate task-specific training that directly relates to them!
What Is Task-Specific Training?
Task-specific training involves practicing functional movements that relate to real life.
In order to use task-specific training to boost your motivation during recovery, be sure to practice the exact same movements used during your favorite activities.
For instance, if a stroke survivor’s favorite activity before stroke involved playing the guitar, then he might not be motivated to play with a pegboard. It’s honestly kind of boring.
Although the pegboard would help him get closer to playing the guitar again, the act within itself is not motivating.
If he were to incorporate task-specific training and practice the actual guitar, however, then he will be far more motivated to regain mobility in his hand.
How to Get Motivated – Option 1
As you can imagine, not every stroke survivor will be able to practice their old hobbies and interests because the initial stroke deficits might be too severe. If that’s the case, there is a workaround for this.
First, you can find a rehabilitation method that closely resembles your favorite hobby.
In our previous example, a guitar-loving stroke survivor could benefit greatly from MusicGlove hand therapy because it is very similar to Guitar Hero.
Although the device is not a guitar, the musical aspect makes the experience relatable to something he loves, which would greatly boost his motivation.
As another example, a stroke survivor who enjoys rowing a boat may find the back row machine at the gym is very motivating because the movements are almost identical.
Another survivor who hasn’t rowed a boat before may not find the same machine at the gym quite as motivating.
How to Get Motivated – Option 2
A second option involves practicing your hobby as best you can, even if you can’t perform it fully.
Becaues pursuing hobbies you love during recovery helps you recover more, period.
In one study, caregivers surrounded an oboist recovering from brain injury with recordings of her previous performances to help motivate her.
They even placed the obo in her arms, even though she couldn’t play it yet, and it greatly impacted her motivation to recover.
Fun Facilitates Recovery
If you find yourself bored and unmotivated by your rehab exercise routine, then it’s time to make things interesting.
Pursue forms of rehabilitation that are interesting and beloved to you, and it will boost your motivation to recover.
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