It would not be wrong to say that Motivation plays a key role in a successful stroke recovery. If a stroke survivor does not feel motivated, keeping up with his rehabilitation will be a challenge. The decreased participation and engagement during rehabilitation program may lead to longer stay in the hospital and depression of not getting back to the normal life. This is why it is important for stroke survivors to find what motivates them so that they have the best chance of recovery. Here are some motivation tips to help keep your momentum going.
1. Goal Setting
Goal setting is one of the most powerful tools to motivate people. And, the Motivation is further enhanced when there are clear, personally relevant goals. Goals need to be personalized, functional and meaningful. A clearly defined path to a long-term goal (with small goals along the way) gives a stroke survivor something optimistic to strive for.
Difficult goals are a challenge, which is why you need to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) with your goals (with you and your therapist’s mutual understanding). Initially, attainable goals could be something that is important to you like joining a support group or attending church.
2. Focus on the Process, Not the End Result
Staying focused on the end result might seem like a good idea, however, that’s not always a good practice to meet your ultimate goals. If you stay focused on a long-term goal without setting short-term goals, you will lose the motivation along the way as your eyes will be set too far ahead. It might make you feel that you are not making any progress.
The best thing to do is focusing on the process rather than the end result. Focusing on what is happening right now and celebrating small improvements will boost your confidence.
3. Find Motivation in Hobbies
Everybody tends to have at least two activities they love and enjoy. These activities could be anything – gardening, painting or fishing. If the stroke survivor loves gardening and is frustrated that he can no longer do this, he could be motivated to do it again. It will make him actively engaged in the rehabilitation process.
Initially, a gardener can begin to pick out the necessary items to help him plant something close to his heart. Here, the gardener as a helper needs to make him participate as much as possible. If not physically, the stroke survivor could verbally guide him to finish physical tasks.
Professional athletes use Visualization very often, particularly before important competitions. They visualize themselves in full speed and perfect form to follow through. Similarly, when a stroke patient visualizes performing difficult tasks, it mentally trains him to perform that task. This trick boosts motivation by making it easier for the patient to do the things he doesn’t want to do otherwise. For instance, visualizing doing rehabilitation exercise would reduce his fear of starting them.
For finding motivation, one needs to have determination, a clear head and stable emotions. Practicing meditation helps ease depression, balance issues and fatigue – some of the common post-stroke side effects. Meditation also affects brain areas that are responsible for attention, emotional balance and mental flexibility.
6. Try Music Therapy
Many studies provide evidence that music enhances focused attention and verbal memory during neural recovery. Interestingly, Music Therapy is not only about listening to music. It is also about creating music and being allowed to express the patient’s creative self. A caregiver can pick music that matches the patient’s mood. Finding music that triggers memories for an individual is helpful in cognitive rehabilitation.
7. Find Motivation in Social Relationship
Many individuals find motivation in being able to interact with the people they care about. Playing with their grandkids or going out with friends are some of the common things they miss most from their life before the stroke. Find a way to make them socialize even if they have physical limitations, speech limitations or memory issues. An individual with impaired speech will be more motivated to talk to an old friend by writing down things that he wants to communicate. Similarly, a survivor with physical limitations may be more motivated to move to another room where the setting is more social.
8. Seek out support
Various community services, such as stroke survivor support groups are available for you and your caregiver. Stay in touch with your doctor who can help you find the right support group. Hearing stroke survivors and caregivers with similar problems in group meetings will help you relate and feel motivated to beat all odds against stroke.
This Blog is contributed by Dr. Deepak Kr. Nain. He is a certified therapist who specializes in the field of rehabilitation. Deepak possesses a clinical expertise in prescribing the best solutions to help people with neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS).