I recently injured the tendon above my left outer ankle. Sigh.

It felt pretty much the same as if I had sprained it. But minus the swelling.

And, of course, that meant no running.

Instant glumness.

But, moving on from that, what was (with hindsight) quite interesting, was how my thinking interfered with the healing process.

Let me elaborate a bit further.

Immediately after the injury occurred, there was pain. Which translated into a lot of hobbling around.

Every step hurt like hell.

It was that spot where the tendon attaches to the bone that was inflamed, so any sharp movement of the ankle sent a bolt of pain through the body.

A few weeks passed (no running, still glum), and the intensity of the pain reduced. But I was still super-cautious when I walked. It felt sensitive and the pain was still ever-present. Albeit a duller (is that a word?) version of it.

Yet, when I visited my friendly physio, she politely told me (no, instructed me) that it was time to start strengthening exercises. On that ankle. The painful one.


“But it’s still sore!” I protested! Surely not yet??

But here’s the interesting bit.

As I hesitantly started doing the prescribed exercises, the pain receded. Almost immediately.

Quite the opposite to what I expected.

Yup, the tendon was weakened from non-use (all that limping). Which, in turn, exacerbated the pain. Who knew?

Had I been left to my own devices, I would have followed my fearful thinking and nursed it some more. And the injury would have lasted a whole lot longer. With a lot more no-running-glumness.

Yet, I shifted my thinking (because someone more knowledgeable instructed me to), and Voila! The outcome shifted too. And I felt better.

Brilliant metaphor, right?

We get stuck in a seemingly safe pattern of thinking (aka our comfort zone), even when we know deep down that it’s holding us back. And as we continue (safely) down that path of least resistance, nothing changes.

It just takes a small change in the direction of our thinking, with a little effort, to shift the outcome.

Like trying something new. Or seeing a new perspective.

And almost instantly we feel better.

It’s that simple.