The Role of Gratitude in Recovery
My gratitude goes out to this wonderful universe.
It is a blessing to have shelter and food.
I am grateful for all the opportunities that come my way.
It is a privilege to be myself.
The ability to give and receive love is something I’m grateful for.
Life is precious to me, and I am grateful for it.
Focusing on the bad instead of the good is easy when we get caught up in negative thought patterns. There are multiple facets of therapy that can help with this, but one of the first ones to try is gratitude affirmations and gratitude meditation. The practice of gratitude affirmations and meditation can help you boost positivity and continue your journey of self-discovery while you continue your healing process.
This holiday season, remember all of your reasons for why you continue pushing forward. Why do you continue to practice recovery every day? Why do you continue to keep your promises to those who you love and to yourself? Why did you start this recovery process, whether just beginning your journey or halfway through? These ‘whys’ will not only help your recovery but also open the door to endless possibilities when it comes to understanding what you’re grateful for in life.
How Practicing Gratitude Can Help You Overcome and Carry On
We only have so long on this planet, and you’re aware of this – if you weren’t, you wouldn’t be reading this or committing to addiction treatment or therapy. You know that life has meaning and that you’ll find it as long as you keep trying and moving forward. And lucky for us, even though our brains can negatively affect us at times, we have the power to practice happiness, hopefulness, and gratitude. By focusing on gratitude affirmations and gratitude meditations, you will be able to rewire your brain. With a positive mindset, you’ll feel happier and see life more positively.
The holiday season brings high expectations for a cozy and festive atmosphere. Nonetheless, this time of year can be tinged with sadness, anxiety, or depression for many people. Of course, professional help is needed for people suffering from severe depression or anxiety disorders. But, what about those who feel lost, overwhelmed, or worried about relapsing at this time of year? There is one aspect of Thanksgiving that can lift the spirits, built right into the holiday – being grateful.
When people express gratitude, they appreciate what they receive, regardless of whether it is tangible or intangible. By being grateful, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. At some point, people recognize that the source of their goodness lies at least partially outside of themselves. Due to this connection to something bigger than oneself, gratitude also encourages people to connect with other people, nature, or higher powers.
Now, don’t get us wrong. It’s not likely that gratitude will come naturally in a time of crisis. Gratitude is easy when things are going well, but no one is grateful for losing a job, a home, or health. There are times when gratitude journaling prompts don’t provide a lesson to be learned, and they just feel like a chore. But gratitude isn’t frivolous or naive; it’s a coping mechanism. Gratitude will not instantly return you to joy, nor will it erase the difficult times. It would be naive to suggest that you focus on the rainbow when the storm can’t be avoided. It’s important to recognize that gratitude is not a “cure-all” during difficult times, but a tool that can help us get through, even when we’re not certain we can.
Positive psychology research finds a solid and consistent connection between gratitude and happiness. People who are grateful experience more positive emotions, enjoy good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build stronger relationships. So, how does one cultivate these feelings of gratitude?
Ways to Cultivate Gratitude
When people show gratitude, they are less likely to reach for something new, hoping it will make them happier, or to believe that they can’t be satisfied until all their physical and material needs are met. Being grateful helps people focus on what they have instead of what they lack. Even though it may seem contrived at first, this mental state becomes more robust with practice.
Gratitude can be nurtured in several ways.
- Write a thank-you note. Write a thank-you letter or email to family or friends expressing your appreciation and enjoyment of their influence on you to foster your relationship. You can send it or, better yet, deliver it and read it in person. Every month, send a gratitude letter. Consider writing one to yourself from time to time.
- Stop worrying about what you lack, and start being happy with what you have. The lesson here is the classic glass-half-full mentality. We’re all given glasses with water in them, and it’s up to us whether they’re full or empty. Not only are we able to see the glass differently, but we can also change the reality of the water we do have. There is more to enjoy when a glass is half full.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Keep a journal or share with a loved one how you appreciate the gifts you receive each day, such as using a coping mechanism that’s genuinely helping you or realizing how grateful you are for your sponsor who continually checks on you.
- Count your blessings. Every week, take a few minutes to reflect on what went well or what you are grateful for. Picking a particular number – like three or five – each week can help you stay focused. If something good has happened to you, be specific and write about the sensations you experienced.
- Pray. A religious person can cultivate gratitude through prayer.
- Meditate. The goal of mindfulness meditation is to focus on the present moment without judgment. Many people focus on a word or phrase (such as “peace”), however, you can also focus on something you are thankful for (the warmth of the sun, a soothing sound, etc.).
- Volunteer. Helping others going through difficult times is rewarding, helps form connections, and serves as a reminder to appreciate what’s meaningful in life.
There is Healing in Believing
The importance of a grateful attitude cannot be overstated. An appreciative perspective on life is advantageous under crisis conditions. In the face of demoralization, gratefulness can be an energizer. In the face of suffering, gratitude has the power to heal. In the face of hopelessness, gratitude can bring hope. As a result, gratitude can help us get through difficult times.
Being grateful, however, is a choice, a habitual attitude that endures and remains relatively impervious to the ups and downs of life. The perspective of gratitude allows us to view life as a whole rather than being overwhelmed by temporary circumstances when disaster strikes. Although this is a challenging perspective, research indicates it is well worth it.
At Discovery Point Retreat, we practice mindfulness and gratitude every day. We understand the importance of expressing these emotions and feelings. We’re grateful to you. We’re thankful that you’re here with us. We’re grateful that you’re reading something that gives you a different perspective on life. We’re grateful for the opportunity to be an elite care center offering comprehensive and specialized substance abuse treatment that has already aided in so many people’s recovery.
If you or someone you know is struggling this holiday season, we are here to help. We want you to be able to explore the other side of life, one without constant pain or trauma. You deserve to feel loved, secure, and safe, and there is no better time than now to pick up the phone and receive the treatment that can change your life forever. Call today at 855-306-8054 or contact us online to learn more about the treatment we offer.