If someone holds the door for you or lets you merge into traffic on a busy road, make a conscious effort to be grateful. Once you’ve been able to adjust to this mindset of gratitude as your default, negativity will creep into your mind far less often, even when negative circumstances arise. When you’re mired in the depths of addiction, other negative situations often come along with it. Substance abuse strains relationships, impacts personal finances, and can stymie your career, among other potential barriers to happiness.
Part of being grateful – especially during this Thanksgiving season – is giving others something to be grateful for, too. It enables others to feel grateful in a time they need it most. It also allows you to fill your time, by giving back to friends, family, and the community. Again, if you are just starting your recovery journey, this all may be easier said than done. In early recovery, it can be hard to find things to be thankful for when you are simultaneously battling withdrawal symptoms and the consequences or realities of your drug problem. During active addiction, we may have taken friends and family for granted or overlooked the simple pleasures in life.
Things to Be Grateful For In Recovery
Only include things for which you are truly grateful and not the things you think you should be grateful for. You need to feel the gratitude in order for it to be an effective tool. Gratitude can lower blood pressure, boost immune health, and make you less susceptible to aches and pains. A 2015 study revealed that heart damage was generally lower among people with higher levels of gratitude. These higher gratitude scores also correlated to better mood, less inflammation, and better sleep — all of which can worsen heart failure symptoms.
When properly cultivated, gratitude becomes an action of expressing your love for someone or something. If you’re grateful for your mother, you call her or visit her. If you’re grateful for your recovery, you stay committed and contribute to it. Practicing gratitude helps us connect more deeply with the people and things we love in our lives, while acknowledging how they enable us gratitude in recovery to live a better life each day as we navigate recovery. Even when you’re committed to sobriety and living a healthy, growth-oriented lifestyle, it’s easy to overlook the importance of gratitude. However, research has demonstrated that gratitude has the power to improve happiness and aid in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety—common triggers for the cycle of addiction.
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Another way to practice gratitude is to shift the tone of your conversations to eliminate self-blame. Instead of responding to questions with “I’m sorry,” or worse, using “I’m sorry” as a greeting, like “I’m sorry I’m late,” or “I’m sorry for taking so long to email you,” say “thank you” instead. Learning about the forms of negative thinking can prepare you to combat them with a dose of gratitude. There are many guided meditations on different meditation apps or YouTube that are free. This will not only help you calm your mind but also find things to be grateful for you may overlook. Gratitude is defined as the quality of being grateful; readiness to show appreciation for and return kindness.
These 8 ways to maintain an attitude of gratitude in addiction recovery will put you on the right path to staying focused on what’s important. Gratitude is an intrinsic element to many forms of addiction recovery. Whether you’re attending AA, any form of 12-Step, or science-based programs like SMART Recovery, gratitude is often a strong focus.
Why Gratitude is Essential in Recovery
This is not to say negative emotions should be overlooked or ignored, but obsessive or continuous negative thinking is hazardous to a healthy recovery. Cultivating gratitude is an important part of recovery and gratitude is recognized as one of the foundational virtues in the creation of happiness. If individuals are grateful to be on the road to recovery, then it’s less likely they will relapse because they are empowered to move forward. A grateful attitude means they can face the challenges that are before them. Although issues may arise, they view it as a chance to grow rather than an obstacle. This positive way of thinking helps them reach their recovery goals.
They feel satisfied that their own needs are being met so they can now focus at least some of their attention on the needs of other people. When people are grateful for what they have, they will experience a great deal of happiness in their life. When the individual is constantly lamenting their lot, it will be impossible for them to find peace of mind. There are billionaires who still do not feel satisfied and poor people who feel they have everything they need.
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