While many of us have heard that gratitude is important to practice and express daily, we often find ourselves struggling to find the motivation to practice it, let alone believe in its benefits. Understanding the impact that gratitude can have on your sobriety is vital for beginning to implement this new daily routine into your life. Here are some ways gratitude helps your journey to recovery.
Gratitude Helps You Handle Negativity
Odds are that addiction has caused you a significant amount of pain and suffering. Additionally, when you enter addiction recovery, the pain does not necessarily go away. In some cases, the pain (along with other difficult, unpleasant emotions) can be amplified while living in sobriety. Living in this constant mindset of negativity can serve as a gateway for potential relapse.
Practicing daily gratitude can aid in avoiding this frightening scenario. It does this by helping to shift your typical way of thinking. Since thinking negatively has essentially become a habit for your brain, retraining it to focus on the good things within your life can help to change this. By committing to recognize, identify and appreciate every good thing in your life, you can begin to feel happier and realize how wonderful your life is, and is becoming.
Doing so will also help you feel better equipped to work through difficult times throughout your life. During times like these, it may be especially tempting to resort back to old, familiar ways of coping that involves drug/alcohol abuse. However, if you have already been consistently practicing gratitude, these moments may not cause you to falter as they have before. Gratitude allows you to realize that, despite unfortunate seasons, your life still has so much good; and that is well worth feeling positive about.
Gratitude Helps You Avoid Entitlement
Being goal-oriented while in addiction recovery is very helpful to gain progress. However, this can oftentimes lead to experiencing entitlement. When we do not meet a goal in recovery (such as skipping meditation or an AA meeting) we can forget about all the work we have accomplished thus far along in our journeys. It is common for us to become distraught and even beat ourselves up regarding those disappointments. In this way, we may have become entitled and then subscribe to mistake-free false expectation thinking during our recoveries. Denying that we are human and may fail from time to time is a form of entitlement that is very common. This can become very dangerous to those in recovery.
To avoid potential harmful behaviors due to this entitlement, gratitude can help us to remain humble. Recognizing, despite our shortcomings, that we are fortunate to have the things that we do have in our lives, keeps us from becoming entitled. For example, if you forget your daily meditation, rather than beating yourself up, consider expressing gratitude for access to a warm shower, a cozy bed, or the embrace of a loved one. This can help you to have the motivation to keep trying, rather than punishing yourself for having a minor mishap.
Where to Start Your Gratitude Journey
There are many ways you can begin practicing gratitude, however, it may be challenging knowing where to start. For some, simply creating a daily list of things that they are grateful for helps them to do this. For others, there are other techniques that work for them, such as:
- Singing a song: A fun, creative way to begin implementing gratitude into your routine can include creating a “gratitude song.” You can do this by taking the tune of your favorite song and replacing the words with statements of gratitude. No matter how you do it, turning your thankful thoughts into song can be a fun way to make this a new routine.
- Creating sticky notes: Many people use sticky notes to practice daily affirmations. You can also use sticky notes to practice gratitude. On each sticky note, you can write different things you are grateful for in your life. Then, place them somewhere you go often, such as a bathroom mirror, and recite one or two of them as you see them.
- Complimenting others: Giving a compliment is a great way to boost someone’s self-esteem and spread happiness. It is also a great way for you to practice being gratuitous for the beauty of life that surrounds you. Try throwing out daily compliments to others and recognize how you feel afterward.
- Meditating with gratitude: If you are interested in or already practice daily mediation, adding gratitude into this practice may be very ideal for you. You can try this by repeating a phrase of thankfulness as you clear your mind and concentrate on your breath. In this way, it can serve as a gratuitous mantra.
- Setting a daily intention or goal: Before you begin your day, you could either say to yourself or write down an intention to thank the world for what you have. By setting this intention, you can go into your day with a committed mindset to practice this.
Being in recovery may mean experiencing unpleasant, unwanted thoughts of negativity and emotions. That’s why the practice of gratitude is so important in recovery for navigating these difficult experiences. Some ways to practice and implement gratitude into your life during your recovery journey include singing a song, using sticky notes, complimenting others, and more. Gratitude is a very important habit to begin forming during recovery, and at Pinelands Recovery Center of Medford in New Jersey, we have the tools to help you do this. Recovery is personal, so finding a way of practicing and expressing gratitude in a way that is authentic to you is vital. Call us today at (877) 557-5372 to learn about the ways in which we can help you.