Can Your Mindset Improve Recovery from Surgery?

Since January I have suffered with pain due to a torn tendon in my right shoulder. I tore it while helping to empty my mum’s house to put it up for sale following her sad death late last year. I was helping a ‘man with a van’ whose partner was ironically off with an arm injury.
One of the four tendons in my shoulder was completely severed with a 2cm gap between the two halves of the tendon. The pain was serious, and I had great difficulty sleeping. I am normally a professional sleeper who can sleep anywhere including new hotel beds etc. anywhere in the world. I can be asleep in under 1 minute and sleep like a baby no matter what is going on in my life.
I was no longer sleeping like a baby
Then this happened, and I was no longer a professional sleeper. I dreaded going to bed as the pain was too much. I ended up taking Tramadol at night just to try to get some sleep and even that wasn’t working well. I would stay up till past midnight just to reduce the amount of time I would spend lying awake and I was averaging just a few hours.
As I went through this, I kept this news away from my clients and presented a confident persona as I delivered my Masterclasses across the country and across Europe. No one knew what I was going through, and I wanted it that way. I wanted to keep working and then sort this out and move on. My mental resilience was helping me in a powerful way.
This went on for a few months then I decided to have an operation to relieve the pain. I paid privately to see a consultant and following the consultation I was given the option to go via the NHS route to proceed. I took this option then I was given my first follow-up appointment which was nearly 3 months away.
I had a big decision to make
I then thought this through. I realised that I had Masterclasses booked throughout the rest of the year and going via the NHS route meant that I had no choice regarding the date of the operation and its 4–6-week recovery period. This meant that I could be given a date which would mean I would have to cancel booked Masterclasses and I just couldn’t face the possibility of letting my clients down.
Because of this, I decided to go via the private route as I had a window in late July to mid-August without any bookings, and I was given the date of the 26th of July as the only available date due to my surgeon’s holidays in September and our trip to Australia in October. This meant that if I turned this date down the next available date would be in November.
This seems like an obvious decision but there was a booking I had in Germany just over 3 weeks after the operation and I didn’t know what state I would be in to travel to Germany and deliver my 3 Masterclasses to Pilkington Glass staff.  
It was a scary decision
This was a very difficult decision I had to make on the spot. If I declined, I would be in pain for a further 4 months. It was such a difficult decision as I didn’t want to let Marcel Deveraux from Pilkington Glass down but deep down in my gut, I knew that it would be ok, so I said yes. This is where mental resilience really helped.
I am pleased to report that I have just returned from Germany, and I had no problems whatsoever. It was a wonderful trip where the international staff from Malaysia, Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Japan, Poland, Finland, Germany and the UK enjoyed the delivery of my 3 Masterclasses in my Mental Resilience Programme with excellent feedback from them all.
They are a wonderful team run by Energy Category Director Marcel Devereaux who I have known since 2017 when I presented my first Masterclass to Pilkington Glass staff in the UK. Marcel is an outstanding individual who has been instrumental in my 5 trips to Germany over the past few years.  We had a great time and the energy and enthusiasm of the team shone through and the time flew by. Sometimes in life, things just click, and this was one of those trips.
What a wonderful trip and a great group
I can’t remember a more enjoyable trip which included some great meals and a beach BBQ following my delivery. We had many laughs and I had time to reflect on how well I was feeling and how fast my recovery had been.
One of the videos in my presentation contains the statement that recovery from surgery is improved by up to 30% when there is a positive mindset.
There is evidence to show that a positive attitude can speed up recovery following surgical procedures. Here are a few key points from research that highlight the potential benefits of a positive mindset on surgical recovery:
Pain Management: Positive emotions and attitudes have been associated with better pain management. Studies have shown that patients with a positive mindset tend to experience lower levels of pain and discomfort after surgery. This is partly attributed to the release of endorphins and other neurotransmitters that can help alleviate pain.
Reduced Stress and Anxiety: Maintaining a positive mindset can help reduce stress and anxiety levels. Lower stress levels have been linked to enhanced immune function and a faster healing process. High-stress levels can potentially hinder recovery by affecting the body’s ability to heal.
Faster Healing: Some research suggests that positive emotions can enhance the body’s healing mechanisms. For example, positive emotions might promote better blood circulation, which is essential for delivering nutrients and oxygen to healing tissues.
Immune System Function: Positive emotions and attitudes have been associated with improved immune system functioning. This can lead to a reduced risk of infections and complications during the recovery period.
Adherence to Recovery Plan: Patients with a positive mindset are more likely to adhere to post-operative instructions and follow their recovery plans. This can lead to a smoother recovery process and a reduced risk of setbacks.
Psychosocial Factors: Psychological factors like optimism and resilience can influence how patients cope with the challenges of recovery. Patients with a positive mindset might be better equipped to deal with pain, discomfort, and the overall stress of surgery and recovery.
This is real evidence
You can see that there is real evidence to show that Mental Resilience can really help with recovery from medical procedures.
I have had 2 full hip replacements, one 22 years ago and the other 12 years ago and I recall the speed of my recovery after both procedures. I was very positive and saw the recovery as a fun challenge. I adhered to the recovery plan, and I have been pain-free since.
The mind is an amazing tool and it’s not just for work-associated situations it’s for life itself. I am delighted that Germany was such a success and as a bonus, I will now really enjoy our 4-week trip to Brisbane Australia in October to see Julie’s identical twin sister Jen and her husband Tony even more.
Thoughts for the week 

  1. Sometimes difficult decisions take mental resilience and self-belief.
  2. What decisions are you deliberating currently?
  3. Are you swinging between going ahead or not, or between two options?
  4. May I suggest that you go with your gut feeling?
  5. Experts in this field say that 80% of decisions we make using logical thought are wrong, but 80% of decisions made with our gut feelings are correct.

Well, that’s it for this week, have a wonderful weekend and keep believing in yourself.
Warm regards


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