Music has the amazing power to touch our hearts and souls. The right song at the right time can move us in powerful ways, eliciting emotions ranging from brightest joy to deepest sorrow. Harnessing the power of music can also help brain injury survivors (along with the rest of us) make it through their days more successfully.
It is a common sight at a gym to see the majority of participants working out with music in the background to help keep them motivated and driven. This music tends to be upbeat and intense. This workout music highlights the ability of music to boost our performance. Survivors may want to consider using similar energetic background music while they are working out, whether in a gym or in therapy, to help them when they might be feeling low in energy. However, it is important to ensure that the music does not distract the survivor. An example of this pitfall to be avoided can be observed in a survivor suffering from substantial deficits in the arena of attention. A catchy song could cause this survivor to sing along and devote a disastrous lack of attention to foot placement while practicing walking. Finding the balance (whenever possible) between drive and distraction is important. Energetic music may also help mitigate general fatigue that can occur at any part of the day.
Music has the ability to lift us when we feel down. Following a brain injury, many survivors will display acute symptoms of depression or at the very least be significantly (if understandably) sad about their situations. Survivors should identify songs that lift their moods and listen to that music when they find themselves feeling low. These songs often tend to incorporate themes of hope and joy. Religious music is also a very popular and effective source of this helpful form of mood modulation.
Many survivors also face serious difficulties with stress and anger. Certain music can help individuals to relax and stay calm. Soft, classical music tends to be popular to ease stress and anger though other types of music can do this as well. Some individuals prefer listening to sounds of nature (such as waves lapping upon a beach) to reach a more calm state. Meditation music is a hot market and there is a huge amount of excellent music available both in stores and online.
Not every song will help with every mood and sometimes the music that is most helpful may not be the survivor’s favorite song or from a favorite band. What is most important is that the music in question leads to the emotional experience that the survivor would like to cultivate. Technology has advanced exponentially over the last few years, and survivors should take full advantage. A survivor can keep a playlist of songs to help influence his or her emotions on a smartphone, Ipod or other similar device that can then be accessed throughout the day. Remember that music can be an important part of any recovery process!
Learn about brain injury treatment services at the Transitional Learning Center! Visit us at: http://tlcrehab.org/
Posted in Learning about Brain Injury, Mood, Behavior and Adjustment
Tagged acquired brain injury, aneurysm, anoxia, brain, brain injuries, brain injury, client, depression, emotion, feeling, feelings, galveston, lubbock, mood, music, patient, recovery, rehabilitation, sad, sadness, stroke, survivor, tbi, texas, therapy, tlc, traumatic brain injury
“Just be grateful you are alive”
“Just be thankful you didn’t die”
“You should just focus on the fact you survived”
Brain injury survivors hear these types of well-meaning lines all the time. They are used by family members and friends to help survivors see the “brighter side” during their recovery periods. There is undeniable truth in each one of these statements; traumatic brain injuries, strokes and other forms of acquired brain injuries lead to death for millions of people worldwide every year. It is worthwhile to be thankful for life. But these well-intentioned statements can all too often serve as double-edged swords.
Taking a step back for a moment, most survivors are truly thankful to be alive following their near-death experiences. But that does not mean that they have not suffered real, painful losses. While one may feel the commendable impulse to encourage and support survivors, it is also important to allow them to mourn these losses. There is nothing inherently wrong with lamenting loss of arm function or fluid speech, as long as this does not lead to a serious decline in mood or performance. For instance, wouldn’t any person be upset if, after decades of normal walking, he or she would have to suddenly learn how to walk all over again because of a stroke? A balance has to be struck between fostering positive mood and allowing for reasonable mourning of loss. “Just be grateful you are alive” is clearly not an inherently harmful statement, but it can still nonetheless be overused and thus inhibit healthy adjustment to change. Excessive repetition of such a statement can often cause survivors to be frustrated and feel as if they are being discouraged from expressing their feelings. Though it may be difficult for family members or friends to witness as survivors experience sadness or anger, this is often one of the steps necessary while making a successful transition into post-injury life.
Learn about brain injury treatment services at the Transitional Learning Center: http://tlcrehab.org/
Posted in Learning about Brain Injury, Mood, Behavior and Adjustment
Tagged acquired brain injury, adjustment, aneurysm, angry, brain, brain injuries, brain injury, concussion, disability, galveston, grateful, head, head injury, lubbock, mood, mourning, patient, recovery, rehabilitation, sad, stroke, survivor, tbi, texas, thannkful, therapy, tlc, traumatic brain injury, treatment
It can be scary when a brain injury survivor lacks sufficient awareness of the full effect an injury has had upon his or her life. It can be all too easy for a survivor in such a circumstance to engage in what could potentially be extremely risky behavior. For instance, if a survivor does not realize that he can no longer walk, he may attempt to get up from his wheelchair anyway to walk to the bathroom. This could lead to a terrible fall. Similarly, a survivor who is not aware that she now suffers from severe memory deficits may turn on a curling iron for her hair and forget to turn it off. This could lead to a fire. When survivors gain in awareness of their situations post-injury, families understandably feel much more at ease as these risky behaviors can only decline.
However, there is one downside to such improved awareness. When a survivor first becomes significantly aware of his or her deficits, he or she often experiences a marked decline in mood. The survivor is suddenly aware of the severity and implications of the injury. It is depressing to realize that life has changed, in some cases irrevocably, and that success over these new challenges can only come after many trials and tribulations. It is important that the loved ones of brain injury survivors understand that this decline in mood is natural and expected. This is the time when a psychologist, counselor or psychotherapist can step in and help the survivor adjust to his or her new situation. With therapy and support, most brain injury survivors will see an improvement in mood after this initial decline due to increased situational awareness.
Learn about brain injury treatment services at the Transitional Learning Center: tlcrehab.org
Posted in Learning about Brain Injury, Working on Skills
Tagged aneurysm, aware, awareness, brain, brain injuries, brain injury, concussion, depressed, depression, disability, galveston, low mood, lubbock, mood, patient, recovery, rehabilitation, sad, stroke, survivor, tbi, therapy, tlc, traumatic brain injury, treatment