Gratitude is showing appreciation for what you have. When you go through traumatic experiences, or you feel as if life is dealing you hard blows left and right, it can be hard to see past the bad in order to see the good. But, if we take the time to count our blessings, it can help us see the silver lining in even the darkest situations.
For people in recovery, practicing gratitude can help reinforce what they have achieved. It’s easy to get caught up in feeling guilty for past mistakes, or feeling overwhelmed in a new sober life. The consequences of addiction can leave people with many issues to deal with, including physical and psychological damage.
During recovery, there can be struggles and setbacks. Every day won’t go as planned, but by trying to see the good in each day, you can form a new, healthy habit of seeing the positive. Negative thinking is an easy trap to fall into, and it’s often used as a mechanism for people who feel they don’t deserve to be happy. But everyone deserves to be content with themselves and their lives.
Learning to practice gratitude can have a positive effect on many different areas of one’s life, and here's how. If you know someone suffering from an addiction, reach out to Legacy Freedom. We can help them with quality alcohol and drug rehab in Raleigh NC!
The Attitude of Gratitude
There has even been research done on what it can do. Robert Emmons, a psychologist at the University of California, Davis, wrote a book called Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier that says keeping a gratitude journal can help you learn to appreciate the positive things in life that can, in turn, increase a person’s sense of well-being as well as their own satisfaction in life.
A person who practices gratitude will increase positive emotions, have a lower chance of depression, feel less stress and have more compassion for others. They may also become more generous and place less importance on material things than they did before. It can also work as a motivator toward personal goals which, for someone recovering from addiction, can mean a lower chance of relapse.
The effects of practicing gratitude aren’t only limited to your thoughts and emotions, it can also have a positive effect on physical health. Emmons found that people who express gratitude exercised more. When you exercise, you improve health all around, which is important for someone who used drugs or drank heavily in the past. The effects of those substances can wreak havoc on the body, so adopting a healthy lifestyle in recovery is a key component in recovery that uses a holistic approach.
Practicing gratitude requires just that - practice. It is something you have to learn to do by doing it regularly. There is an old theory that it takes 21 days to form a new habit, but that timeframe varies depending on the person. Give yourself time to start thinking this way and pretty soon you won’t actually have to think about it, it will come naturally.
So where do you start when learning how to practice gratitude? Here are seven ways to get started. Remember, Legacy Freedom offers affordable and reliable alcohol and drug rehab in Raleigh NC. If you, or a loved one, need help with addiction, please call us.
1. Keep a gratitude journal. In his book Emmons said that the fastest way to train your brain to see the positive is to write down things you are grateful for a few times a week. Taking the time to reflect on your life will help you process the things that happened and see the little things that occurred that you may have overlooked. We all have busy lives and often miss the small things that could bring us joy.
2. Before you go to sleep, think of five things you are grateful for from your day. It could be the good lunch you had or the kind words someone said to you. This will help train your brain to pick out the positives throughout the day. This practice may even help you sleep better since you are replacing your normal routine of worrying about things until you fall asleep with positive thoughts.
3. When you wake up, think of the things you are looking forward to that day. Some days it can be hard, especially if you know it will be a tough day at work, but you can generally find one thing. Maybe you’re planning to try a new recipe for dinner that you’re excited about, or maybe you’re going to wear your favorite shirt.
4. Tell your loved ones how much you appreciate them. We often forget to tell our family and friends how much they mean to us. Take the time to send a quick text that says you care, or share a memory on social media that expresses how grateful you are to know them. Our relationships with people are a foundation of our happiness and are often the motivators for wanting to become a better person. However, if your loved one has an issue with addiction problems, please call Legacy Freedom for quality alcohol drug rehab in Raleigh NC.
5. Stop yourself from engaging in negative thinking. We all have negative thoughts. They stem from being hurt or upset in most cases, but sometimes they occur out of habit. Gossip can be one of the worst ways of engaging in negative thinking and we don’t even realize it. We talk badly of other people, whether they’re people we know in real life or celebrities, to make ourselves feel better and to find a way to relate to others. But it’s not healthy and not nice. Rather than spending time hashing out the bad parts of people, look for the positive.
6. Cut down on worrying time. You probably spend a lot of time worrying about things that you don’t have any control over, or worrying about things that are coming up. Worrying doesn’t accomplish anything, so try to limit the amount of time you spend thinking about those things you can’t control. Let yourself ruminate for a set amount of time, then let it go. You’ll be surprised by how much better you’ll feel if you free yourself of unnecessary worry.
7. Don’t become complacent. They say variety is the spice of life, so don’t forget to mix things up every once in a while. It can be easy to get caught up in daily routines, but when we do that we tend to get caught up in bad habits. Make it a point to do something new each week, even if it’s something small. Every few months, try something new, whether it’s visiting a new place or taking a class. Having a new perspective can help you see things for which to be grateful.
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