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stroke resilience and recovery

How to Build Resilience After Stroke

A stroke can be a life-altering event affecting resilience. When a stroke arrives, it is a sudden interruption in the brain’s blood supply, which can cause a wide range of difficulties. It’s not uncommon to experience physical, emotional, and mental impairments. Adding to that list, fatigue and discomfort can compound your physical struggles.

Life after a stroke can be a place of anxious feelings and a loss of self-confidence.

If you experienced a stroke you can help yourself throughout the journey. Be mindful that resilience is not the absence of challenges, but the ability to bounce back. While that is certainly easier to say than live on some days, this article explores challenges you might face as a stroke survivor and points to strategies to help build resilience.

Don’t doubt your abilities because you are already a stroke survivor!!

Types of Challenges After Stroke


stroke2These challenges from a stroke can have a significant impact on a person’s independence and overall well-being. Pursuing small successes through therapy and repetitive actions is a healthy approach to physical impairments.

Rehabilitation, physical therapy, and adaptive equipment can aid in regaining strength, mobility, and independence. Perseverance and guidance can help you lessen the challenges and promote gradual improvement.


emotional3After a stroke, individuals often face a multitude of emotional hurdles. Feelings of frustration, anxiety, and depression are prevalent because of sudden life changes and uncertainties.

Losing independence or struggling to communicate can lead to emotional distress. Coping with grief of the person they once were before the stroke is also common. Yet, with patience, support, and medical care, emotional recovery is possible.

Strategies like counseling, support groups, and natural therapies can help navigate these emotional challenges, offering hope and a path toward emotional healing and change to a new way of life.


cognitive4Stroke can affect cognitive functions, including memory, attention, and problem-solving abilities. People often misread cognitive challenges after a stroke and assume that cognition is lost.

Having been there, I can tell you the internal talk continues. It is the interaction with the external world that is impeded. Noticing the change from the inside generates fear. These fears affect confidence and cause uncertainty for the future.


soocial5The aftermath of a stroke often leads to social isolation. Changes in speech, mobility, or behavior can make it challenging to maintain relationships and interaction with others. This is a two-sided problem. While you struggle with the changed condition, so are others you’ve known. I experienced this situation between my first and second strokes.

People I interacted with for years didn’t know how to help. They chose self-comfort by choosing not to be helpful. Rather than try to help a guy they’ve known for decades, they labeled me as broken goods and that meant I was bad and an inconvenience.

This is an important point for you as a stroke survivor in this situation. While others may take the easy way out and blame you for something that wasn’t your fault, just know their weakness can never take away the years of good you’ve done.

After the stroke, you might have frailties in your mind, body, and emotions, but it is the people outside of you that chose a failure of character.

Strategies for Building Resilience

1. Mindfulness Meditation

mindfulness6Mindfulness meditation is a powerful practice that can reduce anxiety and improve psychological well-being in stroke survivors. The practice of involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. Through mindfulness, stroke survivors can find calm and clarity amid their challenges.


2. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

cbt7Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an evidence-based approach that can help you recognize and change negative thought patterns. Because of the stroke, it’s common to experience depressive thoughts and anger. Stroke survivors can work with a therapist to address anxious thoughts and replace them with more constructive thinking.

3. Hypnosis

hypnosis8Hypnosis is a natural approach that uses guided relaxation, focused attention, and suggestion to promote deep relaxation and heightened suggestibility. Hypnosis can help address negative beliefs and hurtful events in your life. It can help individuals overcome past trauma, reduce anxious feelings, and create a sense of inner peace.


4. Physical Rehabilitation

pt9The need for physical rehabilitation is common after a stroke. Many physical therapy options exist to aid your recovery, to include motor skill exercises, gait training, and occupational therapy tailored to individual needs.

Successes in these endeavors restore physical functions and plays a vital role in building resilience and confidence. As you regain strength and mobility through therapy, your confidence starts to increase, boosting self-esteem and add to an improved quality of life.

5. Support Groups

support10Post-stroke, taking part in supportive groups offers opportunities to share experiences, knowledge, and emotional support. These groups vary, ranging from online forums to local meet-ups, providing a platform to exchange coping strategies and triumphs.

Support networks help the recovery process with confidence and resilience. When living amid the mess that comes with a stroke, it becomes easy to see your stroke experience unique from others. While each stroke may have its nuances, many similarities exist that help each person know they are not alone.

That’s where a support group adds value.

Sharing successes and setbacks among peers instills a sense of belonging and encourages resilience. The companionship and shared experiences within these groups contribute significantly to renewed hope, empowerment, and a stronger sense of community.

6. Goal Setting

goals11Setting specific, achievable goals after a stroke is important for recovery. Your goals could focus on physical milestones, cognitive improvements, or reaching points of emotional well-being.

Collaborating with a coach or hypnotherapist in this process offers structured guidance and supports successful goal setting. They help align your intended goals with realistic steps, providing a framework for success to visualize and achieve goals to overcome post-stroke challenges.

7. Gratitude Journaling

grateful12The practice of gratitude journaling aids in post-stroke recovery by promoting a positive mindset. When living the challenges that come with recovery, it helps to capture your thoughts and reflect on the daily blessings, progress, and support. This cultivates a sense of gratitude, enhancing emotional wellness.

This practice contributes to confidence and resilience by shifting focus from challenges to acknowledging and appreciating successes. Gratitude journaling promotes a resilience mindset by nurturing an optimistic outlook.

Putting it All Together

As a stroke survivor, you likely face a host of challenges that can test your resilience, but with the right strategies and support, theses approaches can rebuild their life with strength and determination. Be proactive by addressing physical, emotional, cognitive, and social challenges to find peace and purpose after a stroke.

Just know that while you may feel alone, you don’t have to be. There are many free support groups available online. Each person has their own collection of lessons learned and connecting with stroke survivors who’ve been there, helps you build a network of support.

About the Author

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Anthony M. Davis is a Certified Leadership, Success and Stress Coach. He is a clinically trained Board Certified Hypnotherapist.

He has earned a national reputation for his Transformative Life Centering work with clients from across the nation. His unique approach helps clients remove underlying fears and triggers, and then, through coaching, helps them pursue and accomplish life and career goals.

He provides Coaching and Hypnotherapy sessions remotely through Zoom. If you have challenges and are ready to move past them, Contact him Here to create the life change you desire.


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