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EPISODE 19 Use Your Mind to Heal Your Body

By March 7, 2017March 15th, 2019Free Videos

In this Thursday Therapy episode, The “Weight Psych” Glenn Mackintosh shows you three ways to enhance healing from any injury using the power of your mind. He talks you though the power of goal setting, empowering self-talk, and healing visualization to help you have a positive, quick, and complete recovery!

At 8:12 Glenn takes you through the “Golden Orb” healing imagery to ENHANCE RECOVERY.

Oh, and Glenn sings again 🤔 🙂 😉

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Outcome Goals Worksheet:
Smart Goals Worksheet:
Mental Notes Consulting Website:


  • Viewer question on maintaining a positive mindset after a sports-related injury. [01:36]
  • Ensuring you have the right support. [02:00]
  • Goal setting during injury rehab. [02:16]
  • Using positive self-talk. [04:15]
  • Fast healer’s self-talk example. [05:24]
  • Ways to increase positive self-talk. [06:24]
  • About healing imagery. [07:21]
  • Activity: Glenn’s healing imagery session. [08:12]
  • Healing imagery affects. [14:06]
  • Summing up! [14:47]

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Hey guys, welcome to Thursday Therapy. The question we’re answering today is on the right mind-set for injury rehab. Hey guys, welcome to Thursday Therapy. The question we’re answering today is on recovery from a sports injury but it can apply to any injury. Before we get into it, we’ve had a couple of people email through saying they’re not getting all the YouTube videos and we’ve figured out how you do that, so right next to the subscription button, and if you haven’t subscribed, subscribe now, right next to that button there’s a little bell, if you just click that bell then a little box will come up and say do you want regular notifications, click that and you’re all booked in for Thursday Therapy.

So, anyway, let’s get on to our question that comes from Nicholas. Nicholas asks, “How would you recommend maintaining a healthy / positive mentality during rehab after surgeries for sports related injuries?” Thanks mate, awesome question. Mate, you’ve obviously had a pretty significant sports injury that requires surgery, so I’m going to draw from my background in sports psychology but guys, if you don’t have such an injury this will be really good for some chronic conditions that you might have or even something less severe that’s just happened. Let’s get into it. I’m going to give you my three top tips, so guys I’m just going to assume that you have the right support for this whether it’s your doctor, your surgeon, your physiotherapist, your exercise physiologist, your chiropractor, your massage therapist, you’ve got the right support team around you and then we’re just going to focus on you.

The first thing that I wanted to do, is start to set some goals around the injury, so I’ll provide a link to our outcome goal-setting sheet so you can set some measurable goals for what you want to achieve. This is going to help you to start tackling the injury proactively. Let me give you an example of the goals that I set after I had shoulder surgery, so you can see here I’ve modified our outcome goal sheet at the top; I’ve included a cool picture of a phoenix because I wanted to consider my rehabilitation like a phoenix rising from the ashes and I’ve included a goal with shoulder range of motion which is a technical goal that I’ve developed in conjunction with my physio, then I’ve also got a goal for shoulder strength which is one that I can pretty easily measure myself and for me as a meaningful goal, that’ll tell me that I’ve progressed. So, I’d really encourage you to set your own outcome goal, so then you can start tackling your injury on the front foot rather than being reactive to what’s happened to you.

The next step that you want to do then, is start to set some process goals; so how you’re going to get there. The best way to do that is to set SMART goals that a specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and timed. We’ll provide a goal-setting sheet for you to do that too if you want. So, for example for me, in my ongoing shoulder rehab, my shoulders are pretty good now, I’ve reached all of those goals with my ongoing rehab is just to do half an hour of the physio therapy exercises three times a week. The second thing that I want you to focus on is positive self-talk, now, when I say positive self-talk I just want you to think of it in percentages more positive and less negative. Of course, it’s really normal to have some grieving thoughts, I don’t want you to beat yourself up for that but I want you to think of this sports psychology idea of valid pain vs invalid pain. So, a valid pain might be this sucks, this is a real inconvenience, this has put me back.

An invalid pain might be why me, this is never going to get better, I can’t ever do what I want to do again, so I want you to be okay with having some unpleasant thoughts around this because it’s an unpleasant situation. We’ve got to be cool with that but start to think that you want to swim around in those unpleasant thoughts, you don’t want to soak in them and you definitely don’t want to drown in them.

The other thing that you want to do is increase your positive self-talk, so one particular study showed that people who recovered really quickly had a lot higher percentage of positive self-talk and let me read you some of the things that they were saying to themselves; one person said, “when I had my velcro cast, I took it off and tried to walk. I told myself, I can do it, that I can beat the odds and recover sooner than normal.” Another person said, “I have to work to get my leg as strong as the other one.” Someone else said, “I would have a conversation with my other self and ask myself what it the injury made me realize about me and how to make the most of what could be done.”

So, there’s just a few examples of some positive self-talk. I’m not going to tell you exactly what to say to yourself or how to say it but a few ideas are you could create a mantra, something that you say to yourself every day, you could create an affirmation that you say when you’re talking to other people because a lot of other people will often ask you when you’re injured and rather than saying, it’s really slow going, it really sucks you could say you know what we’re getting there we’re making progress or sounds like a funny idea but you can even talk to your body part.

I have a client and she had a really bad ankle injury, her ankle was smashed after getting rolled over by a car and she made miraculous recovery due to not only the great support that she had from other people and her commitment but every day she would talk to her ankle and say, you know what, it’s all right you’re getting better, I’m going to take great care of you, things will be fine, sounds a little bit funny but it helped her create a beautifully positive mind-set. The third thing that can really help you is healing imagery, so what’s healing imagery it’s just where you visualize that that body part is healing.

This might sound a pretty weird idea and it certainly did to me. I went through my first six years of my psychology degree thinking that imagery was a bit airy-fairy until I saw a study on the effects of healing imagery in injured athletes and what it showed was that people who practiced healing imagery on top of their rehab got back to sport faster, they had a lower chance of re-injury and they felt better. So, we’re going to go through a little healing imagery now and this is something you can practice at home, probably good to do every couple of days or daily if you’ve got a big injury. Start off by taking a few deep, comfortable breaths and close your eyes when you’re ready. As you relax I want you to imagine a golden orb of light around that area that you want to heal.

It could be really localized around that area or it can extend to any areas that you know are related to that area. But imagine that golden orb of the light. As you continue to relax, imagine that the orb gets a bit bigger and a bit brighter. You may even feel a sense of warmth from the golden orb. Imagine this area of your body bathing in the golden orb just like a warm bath and just like when you’re in a warm bath the muscles loosen and lengthen and relax when bathed in this golden orb. Imagine that the orb not only surrounds the entire area but permeates through, inside muscles, ligaments, tendons and bone. As the area warms up, increased blood flows to the area you’re healing. You can imagine the arteries and the arterioles and the capillaries opening up, bringing all of those healing nutrients to the area. Vitamins and minerals, proteins and carbohydrates, red and white blood cells and then imagine the capillaries and venules and veins away from the area opening up to. The increased blood flow away from the area is taking away any inflammation, any lactic acid, all of the by-products of the healing process. You might even imagine that the orb has some mystical or magical or spiritual healing energy and that the orb itself is actually healing the area. You could imagine the transformations on an anatomical level.

The orb is knitting the bones together and you can imagine them growing dense and strong. The orb is strengthening, growing and relaxing the tendons and ligaments. The muscles are relaxing, repairing and strengthening in this golden orb. Allow yourself to relax comfortably for as long as you want, bathing in this golden orb of healing light. Finally, you can imagine that the orb is starting to absorb any tension or discomfort or inflammation. The orb is soaking it up like a sponge as it takes away any pain or tension or discomfort it may even change colour, maybe to a red or a purple but the orb is absorbing any discomfort or inflammation or tension and finally, in a time and a way that’s right for you, the orb is moving away from the area, leaving it free of tension, free of inflammation, free of discomfort, just a comfortably relaxed and healing part of your body.

So, guys that’s the basics of the healing imagery we went for probably about 5 minutes or so but you could extend that out to 10 or 15 minutes. You can add bits on, you can take bits off, just do it in a way that’s right for you. The really cool thing is they’ve actually done some subsequent research on what happens when we do healing imagery and found that there is a psychophysiological effect, so firstly, you do get a reduction in cortisol, that’s stress hormone, and when that’s lower you heal better. Also, it’s linked with decreased muscle activation, so you get less tension in the muscles in the surrounding area and also increased blood flow, so you do get increased blood flow, bringing all of those healing nutrients and taking away the by-products of the healing process.

So, I would encourage you to give that a go in a way that’s right for you and you might be really surprised with the benefits. So, for me, as we work through those points, there’s a real common theme, that common theme is empowerment. With the goal setting, we’re taking a proactive approach to managing the injury. With the self-talk, we’re saying, yes, I can’t help what’s happened to me but I can help the way that I view it and with the healing imagery you’re not just relying on outside forces to help heal you, you’re really zooming in on the power of your mind to heal your body. So, I want you to work through your unfortunate injury, allow yourself to experience the natural grief but work through it in a really empowered way. Guys, before we finish up really quick shout out to Andrea First.

Andrea is the only psychologist I’ve ever worked for. She’s a sports psychologist and for me she’s been a wonderful supporter of me to follow my dream into this area which is my real passion. She’s a fantastic role model for how good psychology is done in the real world and she’s such a vibrant, energetic, lovely person that’s really rubbed off on me and allowed me to become quite a self-expressed in what I do. So, big shout-out to Andrea and Matty Ahlberg and all the team at Mental Notes Consulting. We’ll provide a link to them, guys, just in case anyone needs any sport psychology, they are absolutely wonderful. Andrea’s worked at the AIS, she’s worked with Olympic athletes and now works at the English Institute of Sport.

So, Andrea we’re still friends, unless you start working with the English cricket team or the English rugby team but will provide a link to those guys. Guys, it is really tough time when you’re working through a significant injury, so please pay attention to these ideas, I’m sure they’ll help you and if you know anyone who’s going through an injury, please share this video with them. Of course, as always, if you haven’t already subscribed for regular sessions and I will see you in a couple of weeks. So, you guys might be wondering why I’m wearing this jersey. I thought you know what it’s like a sport related question and I thought I’d represent the greatest football team on the planet, potentially in the universe, the Collingwood Magpies. I’ve, plenty of times, thought of switching what I do and going to work for the Collingwood Magpies, I really wanted to get Travis Cloke to just remember how to kick him through the big sticks but now he’s gone to some other team, so he’s dusted anyway.