I wrote an article about coping with injury for the Crossfit & endurance communities. In that article, I offered a list of strategies for healthy coping: cultivate a positive attitude, eat anti-inflammatory foods, follow rehab protocols with discipline, etc. These are ‘big picture’ strategies. But when it comes to coping, what is the smallest behavior that matters?

Targeting the smallest behavior that matters is a critical design principle for effective Behavior Design. When someone is injured, it’s not enough to say “eat anti-inflammatory foods.” Because what does that mean? How do you do that? So how can we better design coping?

In the case of athletic injuries,  consider the following examples:

“Eat anti-inflammatory foods” means

  • eat a handful of blueberries in the afternoon
  • replace morning bagel with bowl of oatmeal
  • add a tbsp. of cinnamon powder to your cup of coffee
  • take fish oil supplements before 12 noon and after 6pm.

“Cultivate a positive attitude” means

  • watch a funny show every night before bed
  • text one thing you are grateful for to a friend before breakfast
  • write down what part of your body is working after you bathe
  • before you get out of bed, choose a positive theme for the day
If you can do just one, small daily habit that matters, you are already coping more effectively.

I’m working on a mobile technology solution to increase calming among injured athletes for better coping. Playing around with what that will look like…..

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