The Bounce Back–Cultivating Emotional Resilience to Heal After an Injury

By Maj. Kimberly Brutsche, Command and General Staff College, StudentAugust 26, 2022

(Photo Credit: Taylor, Jasmine) VIEW ORIGINAL

Physical resilience is an essential part of Soldier readiness. Healthy behaviors like sleep, diet, and exercise provide self-confidence and the ability to overcome challenging situations in life. However, despite preventative measures, there is always a potential risk of physical injury. A 2020 study for Military Medicine stated that noncombat musculoskeletal injuries might account for nearly 60% of Soldiers' limited duty days, and more than half of all active-duty Soldiers sustained at least one injury in 2017.

When you are injured, professionals will often prescribe a plan to help you physically recover. But this is only half of the equation. Recovery from physical injury is not always as simple as easing back into one's old routine – the proverbial “bounce back.” In some cases, you may never return to your pre-injury condition, and your state of fitness is temporarily or permanently changed. What happens when an injury makes you no longer feel as "fit" as you once were? This may have negative effects on your self-esteem or confidence.

Recovering from an injury is as much a journey in emotional resilience as it is in physical. This is no

coincidence, given the positive psychological benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Luckily, the roadmap to emotional healing resembles the steps you may see in a physical recovery plan. If an injury or other circumstances have affected your strength or endurance, and thus how you feel in a fitness minded community like the Army, consider the steps and supplemental questions below to help you “bounce back.” Your body may not return to what you once were, but your mind will be strengthened to recover, reset, and move forward.