The possibility of a full recovery from stroke is seldom talked about in the medical community. The intense differences in recovery among patients prevents the conversation from happening – but there are critical points that every stroke survivor should know about.
These things make the difference.
In this article you’ll learn:
- How compensation strategies affect your recovery
- Why limiting beliefs are the real enemy
- Why you should fake it ‘til you make it
Seem strange? That’s why it’s worth listening to.
Compensation Techniques – Friend or Foe?
As human beings, we’re always on the lookout for shortcuts to save us time and effort.
A good stroke recovery requires that you override that impulse. Doing things without shortcuts (i.e. compensation techniques) is the only way to fully regain lost movement after stroke.
To explain why, let’s look at some definitions.
Compensation involves performing an old movement in a new manner. Recovery involves restoring the ability to perform a movement normally (in the same manner as it was performed before injury).
Sometimes we need compensation to get things done, but unless you eventually grow past them, they don’t help you fully recover.
When possible, you always want to choose recovery over compensation.
Using your affected muscles requires more time, effort, and patience, but it reaps the most rewards in the end. The more you use your affected muscles, the better your brain becomes at controlling them.
That’s how neuroplasticity works.
The Comfort vs Growth Paradox
Sometimes compensation techniques need to be used, and that’s always okay!
Compensation is never bad, but it’s always a good idea to keep your eyes locked on your ultimate, long-term goal: a full recovery, free of compensation.
The length of your recovery may tempt you to settle for compensation techniques because they’re comfortable; at least, more comfortable than doing things the long way all the time. Try to avoid this trap.
We need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable in order for any real change to take place. This is a struggle that every individual who wants to grow must go through.
And it’s always worth the effort.
The Real Deal on Self-Fulfilling Prophecies
Are you limiting your recovery before you’ve even begun?
If you have toxic thinking patterns feeding your self-fulfilling prophecy, then you probably are. In psychology, the self-fulfilling prophecy is a belief that comes true because we act as if it’s already true.
In other words, your thoughts influence your beliefs, which influence your actions. Then, your actions are bound to produce results that influence your beliefs even more.
It’s a positive, upward spiral – when your beliefs are positive.
Think for a moment… If you’re standing in front of an audience about to give a speech and you think to yourself, “I can’t do this. There’s no way I can remember everything.” Then chances are, you’ll choke.
But if you stand in front of that audience and think, “There’s adrenaline in my body but it won’t affect my delivery. I’m scared but I’m going to deliver this speech flawlessly in spite of it.” Then chances are, you’ll do much better than the former example.
Your encouraging thoughts will improve your performance, and better yet, you’ll feel more confident and continue to get better and better.
‘Fake it ‘til you make it’ is actually solid advice, from a psychological point of view.
Curiosity Makes the Difference
A full recovery is something that we encourage every stroke survivor to be curious about. Don’t be afraid to question your therapists – kindly, of course – and challenge the limits you’re facing.
Get curious about your compensation techniques. Can you find a way to outgrow them in time?
Be curious about your mindset. Are you limiting your recovery without even realizing it? How can you remain aware of your thought patterns and improve them where necessary?
Grow curious about your discomfort threshold. How much uncomfortableness can you stand? How much farther can your recovery go if you continuously push your edge?
By simply considering these questions, things will start moving in a positive direction.
The Not-So-Standard Disclosure
After everything is said and done, what happens if you sincerely can’t make a full recovery?
Well, the truth is many people have a shot at a full recovery, and, in more severe cases, some don’t.
But here’s the other beautiful truth: Simply believing in a full recovery will get you much farther than believing you can’t.
No doctor will argue with that.
What do you think about a full recovery after stroke?
Realistic, or too optimistic?
Leave us a comment below and share your opinion with our community!
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