Surprisingly Good Changes After a Stroke


A stroke is undoubtedly a serious medical affliction. A stroke is an abrupt, sudden and unsettling event that takes time to heal and almost always results in long-term consequences, even if those consequences are mild. Everyone always focuses on the negative aspects of a stroke- because the negatives can be so life transforming. However, some stroke survivors have actually experienced a few positive life changes after a stroke.

1. Getting perspective in life

After a stroke, you might finally decide to do what you really want to do. That might mean retiring, traveling, rekindling a hobby that you have cast aside, or even looking for your dream job. A stroke can compel you to look at life with a mindset that you may have the good fortune to continue to live for many more years or you may not. While that fact rings true for even for those who have never had health problems, it comes into clearer focus after a stroke.

2. Strengthening Relationships

If you have had a stroke, you might decide to pay closer attention to people in your life that you have taken for granted, to repair broken relationships, to build stronger friendships and to appreciate the companionship of others more than in the past.

3. Taking care of health

A stroke can highlight the consequences of health issues such as hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking.

Because people do not feel sick with each high fat meal or with each cigarette, it is all too easy to neglect the long-term damage as it builds. For most people, a stroke is also a reason to finally have a thorough medical evaluation, which may uncover some treatable health problems that were not identified before the stroke.

4. Not sweating the small stuff

When you have had a life threatening condition, you might not get angry about the little things. When there is only one checkout lane open at the grocery store, or when someone wants to ‘win’ a senseless, longstanding, passive-aggressive argument, you can step back and see that it isn’t worth getting upset over.

5. Getting things in order

 A stroke can be a wake up call for you to get the administrative side of your health care and your life in order. If you have not been sick before, you might not have your doctor’s phone number handy. You might not know which hospital is in your health insurance carrier’s network. Your emergency contacts might not be up to date. Similarly, you might not have communicated a way for your close family to contact your work if you become sick, or to contact your bank to get financial matters such as your home mortgage payments taken care of while you are sick.  

6. Taking steps to appreciate age

While stroke can affect the young, much of the time it is an unpleasant reminder that you are getting ‘old.’ However, getting old has some amazing benefits- wisdom, life satisfaction, maturity, and wonderful memories. A stroke can give you a nudge to look at the good aspects of aging.

7. Writing a memoir

After a stroke, deep reflection, or even lighthearted reminiscing can motivate you to get your life story on paper. Writing a memoir, drawing or painting can chronicle the ups and downs you have experienced so far in your life for your own enjoyment and it can provide valuable memories for your loved ones for generations to come.

8. Accepting help

You may have always been independent. Perhaps you are a generous person- always reaching out to help others. A stroke may inspire people in your life to help you, and it may finally allow you to accept the kindness of others.

9. Humility

There is no illness quite as mysterious as brain illness.

When you experience a stroke, you have physical or cognitive handicaps that stem from deep within the brain. The fact that the injury is so out of reach can give you an appreciation for your body and for nature that can make give even the most proud individual a sense of humility.

10. Spirituality

The experience of a stroke can force you to formulate your feelings about where you fit in the world. Whether a stroke prompts you to become more or less spiritual, or whether you maintain your pre-stoke degree of religiousness, a stroke generally causes you to become more deliberate and mindful about your place in the world.

Closing Thoughts

There is no doubt that a stroke has unpleasant consequences. Yet, even in light of such a serious event as a stroke, some people manage to find a way to benefit themselves and others. If you are looking for positive examples and role models when it comes to stroke recovery, a support group can be a good resource for you.


Older adults' descriptions of hope after a stroke, Bays CL, Rehabilitation Nursing: The official journal of the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses, January 2001

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