To some people, gratitude is feeling joy for the people and things they have in their lives. They naturally feel grateful when loved ones are doing well and circumstances improve. The power of gratitude shows most when in a new lifestyle for those who are recovering from substance addiction. It is a new mindset of a positive outlook on life in general. Practicing gratitude with intentionality can help recovering individuals focus on the hopeful side of life and re-energize them toward progress.
The Harm of Negative Thinking Patterns
Gratitude is the antidote to negative thought patterns that can be very common among people with substance use disorders (SUDs). They rely on drugs or alcohol for pleasure because life does not offer much joy. They find it hard to reach a state of peace and contentment in life without the help of substances. Whether due to past trauma or ongoing relationship conflicts, they find few things to be grateful for. Even during recovery, many people might struggle with negative self-talk and self-doubt.
Negativity and stress shape a lifestyle full of tension, guilt, and shame. These stressors may increase the risk of relapse, even after people achieve early sobriety. The mind needs to detox negative thought patterns the same way as the body did with substances. A lack of gratitude or a positive outlook will not get you far on the journey of recovery.
Gratitude does not happen naturally for recovering individuals; it is a rational choice that requires practice. One must experience a shift in perspective to accept gratitude as a guiding light moving forward. Many treatment facilities integrate the coaching of gratitude into therapies. You are encouraged to look at life differently. A peer group can also help you achieve this mindset shift.
The Benefits of Gratitude
A harmful lifestyle is made up of many small unhealthy moments. When you choose to lean on a new lifestyle of gratitude by minimizing these unhealthy moments, the benefits are multifold. First of all, a lifestyle of gratitude will improve your emotional and mental health by diminishing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Second, practicing gratitude positively affects the immune system because it destresses the body against inflammation.
With gratitude being the theme of your lifestyle, your relationships will improve. The gift of this shift in perspective can increase self-compassion as well as sympathy for others. It allows you to see the good in people, and you will be more motivated to engage in meaningful relationships. Gratitude helps you heal socially.
With the help of a recovery-supportive therapist, you can learn gratitude-guided meditation techniques. They will not only help calm your mind but also create a space for you to connect with your inner self. That is where the sustainable power of gratitude comes from. In a word, a stronger self-identity makes gratitude more sustainable for you.
Techniques to Practice Gratitude
You should start with giving thanks for small things in life, like a sunny day, fresh air, a nice meal, or good physical exercise. None of these should be taken for granted. Realize that you are still fortunate to be alive, breathing, and functional despite the past of addiction. This mindset will nurture itself and expand your vision incrementally.
You should consider keeping a gratitude journal. Pick a time of the day when you can be quiet and focused on writing. Write down at least five things you are grateful for during this day. As time passes, this “counting the blessings” practice can reshape how you see things. You can read back on these journal entries and see how your list of things has evolved.
Gratitude also means verbalizing your appreciation to those who value and support you. Consider calling or texting family members to thank them for their continued support. Connect with your peer group and express gratitude for their openness in sharing. Show appreciation to your therapists. These small gestures of thanksgiving will circle back to you and improve your emotional health.
Showing Gratitude to Yourself
Lastly, be thankful for your very being on this earth. Embrace yourself as who you are. The relationship you have with yourself is a building block on which many other relationships depend. Celebrate small victories you have had so far, including accepting treatment, having repaired some family relationships, and beginning to enjoy sobriety. Focus on what you have succeeded in, not what you have not achieved.
Take time to look back and look into yourself. Pat yourself on the back and thank yourself for trying again. Be kind to yourself and give yourself daily self-affirmations. Allow a hopeful spirit to arise in you as you continue your recovery journey.
Practicing gratitude with intentionality can help recovering individuals focus on the bright side of life and re-energize them toward progress. Gratitude is a helpful antidote to negative thoughts that can be very common among people with substance use disorders. Many people might struggle with negative self-talk and self-doubt during recovery, but health care professionals can help coach you to a healthier mindset. At Capo Canyon Recovery, near Mission Viejo, CA., we help clients practice gratitude during their recovery journey. We know how important it is during treatment, both in terms of physical health and mental health. The benefits you can get from both our inpatient residential care and outpatient long-term care programs are unmatched. At Capo Canyon Recovery, you can trust us to help you achieve long-term sobriety. You need a lifestyle modification, and we are here to make that happen. We also coach you on self-care techniques so you can face life with confidence. Call us at (800) 804-8714.