There is no doubt that stroke can cause many serious consequences. In fact, stroke is the #1 cause of disability in the United States. With such a statistic, it is easy to focus on the negative when recovering from a stroke. However, many stroke patients have been able to recognize positive changes in their lives as a result of their stroke. And studies show that focusing on the positive has a strong correlation to better outcomes.
Research demonstrates that individuals who survive a traumatic experience are able to cope better and have better outcomes when they take the time to examine the event in a positive light. While the negative aspects of a traumatic experience should not be ignored, neither should the positive. Sometimes positive outcomes are obvious, but other times they take effort to discover. This effort to find the positive can help a survivor heal and recover faster.
Putting a positive spin on your new reality
It’s important to acknowledge the times when stroke recovery gets too hard, when you feel overwhelmed, or when you don’t see enough progress for all your effort. Make sure to discuss these frustrations with your doctors and caregivers so you feel supported. At the same time, try to frame the emotions constructively and look realistically at the situation.
Caregivers can help you by directing conversation to consider how much you’ve improved recently; new things you’ve learned; kind people you’ve met, and other positive thoughts. While this does not deny the reality of your pain or frustration, it can help you feel more at peace and willing to keep trying. And that motivation to keep going is the real secret ingredient to continued improvement.
Examples of turning a negative into a positive
If you lose your job because of limitations due to the stroke, you may now have time to pick up a new hobby. You may be able to take classes to start a new career in another area of interest. Maybe you had a long commute, a bad boss, or a nasty co-worker that you don’t have to deal with any longer. These thoughts might help you feel less sadness over losing your job.
Often stroke patients lose friends since they are unable to engage in some of the activities where they used to see them. And some friends may just feel uncomfortable and don’t know how to interact with a person who has new limitations. But you may also discover who your real friends are. You may find your remaining friendships deepened like you never thought possible, including your marriage. And you may find new friends through therapy or support groups or new hobbies.
Some people find that their limitations cause them to become more empathetic toward others with disabilities. You might begin a support group or participate in an online chat group for stroke survivors across the country or the world.
Seeing others being so helpful to you may help you grow in love and appreciation for others and can help you grow in patience with people whom you used to find frustrating or difficult since others are now so patient with you.
Sometimes stroke patients discover a new lease on life, appreciating the small things and the people in their lives so much more. Some grow deeply in their faith.
Continuing your recovery
Stroke recovery can be hard, but having a positive mindset and knowing that hard work is just part of the process can make it a lot easier to go through.
It’s important that you feel safe throughout your recovery. That is what we at Neuralert are all about. Twenty-five percent of all strokes are repeat strokes, and fear of a second stroke can be overwhelming to deal with. We bring you peace of mind with our Neuralert stroke detection wristbands so that if you do start to show signs of a second stroke you can quickly get the help you need. Ask your medical team if a Neuralert wristband should be part of your recovery plan.
And remain positive. Positivity should be woven into every part of our lives. Not only does adjusting to a positive mindset improve recovery after trauma, but it can also make every aspect of life easier.