Why breaking my arm was a triumph, not a disaster 24



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Breaking bones when you’re over 60 can be a worry. When I broke my arm last year, my initial reaction was fear and shock.

For the first 40 minutes I was in a huge amount of pain. I was focused on the pain and trauma. When I got to the emergency department at the hospital, they assessed me and said they would bring me some painkillers while I waited for an x-ray. After an hour, no painkillers had arrived, but by then I’d decided I didn’t need them.

The television in the waiting room screened a news item about an earthquake and flood in Serbia. Images of people injured, dying, losing their homes and families flashed before my eyes and I shifted my focus from my trauma to my blessings. I realised that as someone who teaches people resilience skills – how to survive and prosper in life and business – I had to live my philosophy 24/7.


So, I used hypnosis to control the pain and set myself the challenge of becoming fully ambidextrous within a few days. Instead of ‘awfulising’ about my situation (I broke my right arm which is my dominant one), I geared myself up to be excited about the challenge and how I would go about it.

Here’s a 2-minute video clip of how I turned breaking my arm from a disaster into a triumph:

Within just 24 hours I’d mastered completing the majority of daily tasks with my other hand. I did it by rewiring my brain.

Is it time to rewire your brain?

Most people are emotionally attached to being the same person year in, year out. I get it. I’ve been there. But it doesn’t serve you emotionally, relationship-wise, socially or in your career or business.
Doctors’ surgeries see a host of people requesting drugs to alter their moods because they’re unable to cope with change. Bankruptcy courts deal with the consequences of many business people who didn’t adapt to market forces.
And the cemeteries house a plethora of people who lived a life of regret and whose dying words were: “If only”.

I read an article recently about a woman who said her two-year marriage, which ended 20 years ago, was still the cause of her not having relationships today. This is a classic example of holding your past responsible for everything that happens today and in the future.

Like I said, I’ve been there and done that and I know it’s no way to live life. So, it’s time to get your slow brain into action in the fast lane – no matter what your age, it’s not too late to make changes. Adaptability is the key to an extraordinary life.
Nothing stays the same. We are not designed by nature to stay the same. The only guarantee in life is that change will occur. Yet society, families and many other groups try to convince you to stay in your own little corner of the world. You may even tell yourself to stay the same and not rock the boat, in an attempt to remain safe.

But change will happen, with or without your permission. How you handle it will determine your level of happiness and satisfaction with your life. Here’s the good part: You can rewire your brain, change your thoughts, behaviours, emotions and circumstances fast when you surrender yourself to the possibility of change and learning new survive and prosper skills.

Here’s a short video of me 48 hours after breaking my arm, writing my name with my non-dominant hand. Click ‘play’ to see which easy and fun technique I used to rewire my brain and make this happen:


Tell us, have you broken a bone? What did you do to cheer yourself up?



Tracie O'Keefe

Dr Tracie O’Keefe DCH, BHSc, ND is a clinical hypnotherapist, psychotherapist and sex therapist as well as a naturopath and nutritionist who takes a mind-body approach to health. Director at the Australian Health & Education Centre in Sydney, she has over 20 years’ experience helping thousands of people achieve optimum physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Tracie is the best-selling author of seven books on topics including sex, gender and sexuality diversity; self-hypnosis and natural health. On her YouTube channel she features health tips plus interviews with extraordinary people redefining expectations of themselves. In addition to running her clinic, Tracie is a speaker and trainer with a range of downloadable, digital self-help programs. www.doctorok.com

  1. I’ve only ever broken one bone,and I literally saw stars!! It was at Expo in Brisbane and we had my 5yr old son plus mother and father in law from
    Overseas. I slipped and came down hard on my nether region and immediately knew I was in trouble. I felt I had fractured my coccyx and it took me a while to even stand up. I laughed it off in front of the family,thinking,no way am I spoiling everyone’s holiday by having to go and get X-rays etc. So for the rest of the three week holiday, I kept to myself,that I wasn’t sleeping and that I could only sit on one side of my butt at a time. So yes, you can rise above pain and yes,when we got home it was indeed a fracture!

    1 REPLY
    • We went to that Expo too. It was the first time we had ever waited in such long queues. Had lots of fun talking to the other “queuers”

  2. At 66, I seem to have lost balance. I did fall and broke 5 ribs, ouch! I am more aware now, careful near uneven surfaces, I hang on on stair ways and hold my husbands hand when we are down town. I try to have no obstacles at home.

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    • I am like that as well. Hate walking outside at night for fear I won’t see an obstacle and will trip over. I have had 6 falls in the past 4 years. Thankfully no broken bones. But lots of bruises and pain.

    • One night I went in the dark to garbage, never again. I kicked a piece of timber and broke a toe. Lol.
      I am more aware now, paths are not good either.

  3. I broke my ankle two days ago! ‘Not happy, Jan’! I’ve spent the last two nights sleeping on the couch; totally uncoordinated on crutches; the ‘moon boot’ is incredibly heavy and until the swelling subsides, my ankle hurts like hell! And I live alone!

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  4. Sue when I had surgery on my foot last year, i couldn’t use crutches so I got from Ambulate a scooter that holds your injured foot up, you actually kneel on it, and is so easy to use, it was really really worth it, I had to use it for 3 months, I would definitely recommend it to you.

  5. I’ve cracked ribs from a few falls and also hurt my shoulder. I’ve realised that I mustn’t rush, and that I need to wear flat shoes. Also to be more aware of ground surfaces and obstacles in my path.

  6. My 91 year old mother has just broken a rib in a fall. There’s no way she can suck it up. She’s a strong lady and I’m concerned for her.

  7. I was diagnosed with osteoporosis a long time ago after cracking a few vertebrae. Once I recovered from the accident, I was very careful and constantly on the lookout for obstacles and not falling.
    A couple of years ago, I discoved I dont have oeteoporosis! I was over the moon! I have noticed though that I am still careful but less afraid of breaking something.
    I never want to be like my brother.He injured his back and was never himself for many years before he faded away and died. He took to his bed and pretty much gave up on himself. ‘Keep moving’, is the lesson I have learned from him.

  8. I broke ribs yesterday. Sleeping with broken ribs is the hardest part. Very annoyed with myself as this is the 2nd time in 9 months I’ve slipped on the same bath mat coming out of the shower and fractured ribs against the roll top bath. Good bye to that bath mat.

  9. I slipped on ice and broke my shoulder, injured my groin and hip 6 days before our son’s wedding in Canada. Yes it was a huge learning curve and yes I got strength to drag myself then to France to meet our new grand daughter. I agree Catherine you do rise above the pain, in my case through a morphine haze. I learnt something about myself and my sons and husband praised me for my grunt to care on. I’ve had fractured wrists and feet major to me, minor to others but it has given me the compassion that when I hear of others breaking bones I can empathise and help.

  10. Bully for you, I am not as strong,I fractured my ankle 6 years ago and after 4 trips to theatre and plates and screws my life as I knew it ended.I have given up work as I could no longer stand,I have not exactly pain but a feeling of heaviness and aching every day.My ankle still swells if I’m on my feet for too long and because I limp my whole body is out of alignment,a simple accident which has left me feeling like I’ve been run over by a train!

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    • Compound fracture tibia and fibia October 2013. Made me mental. They took a large porterhouse from my right thigh which stuffed that leg too. Went as a 60 year old feeling 30 to feeling 80. Got my brain back now, feeling 50.

    • I have been run over by my own car …dragged across the road and dumped in the gutter .17 major fractures …3 months’ recovery ….been a long haul but am back running etc after being told I would be in a wheel chair. Bolts and steel posts …face smashed to pieces … I am still standing … Go to the gym five days …and still working two jobs …I am in my mid 60’s … Yay!!!!!

  11. I found that “rewiring the brain” idea inspiring. The only actual break I’ve had was a collarbone when I was 17. (Writing off my car was the big problem) but those rewiring ideas can be applied anywhere. I’m fat which is just as big of a problem as having broken bones. My feet and knees yell out “Get Orf! Get Orf!” when I get out of bed. I’m not organized and that is the main problem. Eating what is at hand instead of having a proper plan and shopping list.. I must “see” myself sitting at the table, choosing recipes and making sure I have the ingredients. Thank you for that Tracie. I shall refer to this regularly to keep being inspired.

    1 REPLY
    • You’re most welcome Leone. Yes, you can indeed apply this technique in many areas, and visualisation is a wonderful way to achieve your goals 🙂

  12. When my right wrist was out of action, I just could NOT write with my left hand. I wonder if this doctor was naturally left-handed as a child in the 50s?

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