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Piece of Mind Cards: Mind Training Prompts to Keep Stroke Survivors Motivated

Lovely people, I’m working on a thing. And I need Beta readers to take a look and give me some feedback. I’d love your comments and emails with advice on what works and what doesn’t. I am hoping to create a deck of motivational cards for stroke survivors. I have drawn ideas from pain science, mind body movement approaches, motivational speakers and sports psychologists. The fifty two cards have four themes: nudging comfort zones, getting moving, boosting self esteem and tuning in. My Uncle Clyde Alder is a designer and he is working on cool fonts and the visual side of the project.

This version may be liberally sprinkled with typos - enjoy them they will be gone by the time they reach hard copy. Thanks so much.

Piece of Mind Cards

If you feel that you were dealt a bad hand or that the decks were stacked against you, well here is a new set of cards. They are motivation cards designed to help with rehabilitation, focus and self esteem. I encourage you to pick a card from the deck at the beginning of your day. Let its message guide your rehab exercises, your activities of daily life and your mindset for the day.

WORDS

My mind listens to my words and responds - even if I’m not correct.

If I hurt myself, a danger message is relayed to my brain. Negative thoughts also send danger messages to the brain. My thoughts are physical and my words matter.

The words I use to describe myself and my movement are only positive. I use words like fluid, easy, strong, graceful. I use best case scenario words, I want to feel smooth and so I focus on that quality. I don’t pretend. I reframe. I cannot change the situation but I can change my perspective.

MOTION

Moving lubricates the joint surfaces, flushes old fluid out of the muscles, makes blood thinner, nourishes and awakens brain cells and pushes oxygen deep into the lungs. These are all good for healing. I will try to move every part of my body today. I will curl forward, stretch back, side bend and twist. I will stretch and mobilise each of my joints, this includes each finger and toe. I can use strong rubber bands as resistance for each digit.

METAPHOR

My brain expends more energy on and creates stronger neural pathways for novel experiences and images. I can exploit this and make my rehab exercises or my activities of daily life easier by using metaphors to guide my movements. I can use the image of a strong and rooted tree as I come up to stand and balance evenly on both feet. I will push my roots strongly down into the ground. When I bend to squat or sit down I can imagine that my hip creases are soft like a rag doll’s or well oiled like pistons. I can let balloons tied to my wrist lift my arm above my head, or a bowling ball in my hand straighten my elbow. These images need to be vivid, I can add smell and sound and feeling to them to reinforce the metaphor to really help improve my movement.

PROPRIOCEPTION

My body schema (brain’s picture of my body) may be a little unbalanced. Parts of my brain that used to register one side of my body might not work as well now. To reinforce my body schema I need to touch it daily especially in the areas that are not clear to my brain. I will let the sensory organs in and around my muscles send messages to the brain telling them that my arm and leg are still here. When I tap, squeeze, stroke and shake my body my brain has a clear picture of where I am in space. When I have an elbow that bends, or a foot that drops I can help my brain navigate my body better by waking up the proprioceptors in that area.

VISUALISE

If I imagine someone has offered me a small yellow sour sweet that smells of citric acid, my mouth waters. My body responds to my thoughts. Mentally practicing the movement that I want to do with correct technique is mental rehearsal. The same area of the brain is activated even though it doesn’t look like I am doing anything. I can use this when refining my technique, when learning a new skill, when I am tired and to improve my focus.