As I write this newsletter, I want to thank you for reading it and everyone enquiring about it over the last weeks. I haven’t been able to write as much as I would like recently.
A pretty rough landing in skydiving. Nothing critical, but an injury severe enough to have me slow down or stop many things, including this regular exchange with you. I’m recovering and on the way to getting things back to (a new) normal.
This experience, as scary and frustrating as it was, “offered” me some time to read and reflect. I landed (pun intended) on an interesting academic paper published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology by Professor Diane Wiese-Bjornstal and her colleagues in 1998.
They laid out the foundations for a psychological response model to injury and rehabilitation, which has since been reused and developed by many researchers and sports psychologists, especially in the area of “athlete performance”.
They discuss topics like how does a top athlete, competing at a high level, react to an injury? What goes through their minds, and how can it impede or fast-track their recovery?
And the more I read about it, the more I thought that many parts of this model would not only apply to Olympians but any high performer confronted with an “injury”.
I found similitudes with coaching clients with strong expectations for themselves that went through redundancy or major business setbacks.
According to Wiese-Bjornstal, there are three kinds of responses to an injury: cognitive appraisal, emotional and behavioural — each interconnected and influencing the recovery process.
- Cognitive appraisal is related to what we think about the injury. The reasons it happened, its impact on our life, including what we believe we have lost and how long it will take for us to recover.
- The emotional response is obviously what we feel as a result of our injury. Common emotions after an injury are anger, frustration, and boredom. Less often, we can…