The Power of Gratitude in Recovery
Thanksgiving is a time when many people are counting their blessings and giving thanks for things they’re grateful for. But it’s also helpful to bring the feeling of gratitude into our lives on a daily basis, not just at Thanksgiving. Changing your mindset to one of gratitude can vastly improve your outlook on the world, and will likely help your recovery. Seeing the world through the lens of gratitude is empowering. Gratitude helps us to focus on what we have instead of what we lack, it reminds us of the abundant resources we have to draw on from within and around us, and it helps us to face challenges with a new perspective seeing them as opportunities to learn and grow.
Benefits of Feeling a Sense of Gratitude
Like mindfulness, a term you may have heard a lot throughout your recovery journey, practicing gratitude can sometimes take time and patience before it becomes second nature. Shifting your perspective to focus more on what you have than what you lack can be challenging at first, especially if you’ve been struggling the last few years, but that is what makes it all the more important.
Living with a sense of gratitude can actually make you happier. It may surprise you how practicing gratitude can improve your life and enhance your recovery efforts. Feeling grateful can:
- Enhance your relationships: The simple act of saying “thank you” is an easy way to show others you appreciate them. A 2014 study published in the journal Emotion showed saying thank you actually strengthens friendships over time.
- Generate better sleep: Believe it or not, focusing on what you’re grateful for can improve your quality of sleep. Gratitude gives a sense of satisfaction and contentment which translates into a more peaceful mind and spirit when you’re alone with your thoughts at the end of the day.
- Improve your mental health: Gratitude lifts your spirits. In fact, a wealth of studies have linked gratitude to lower levels of depression and less suicidal ideation.
- Produce physical health benefits: Research has shown that gratitude can lower blood pressure, decrease aches and pains, and strengthen your immunity- likely due to it’s stress-reducing effects.
- Improve your energy and mood: Research has found that keeping a gratitude journal increased determination, energy, attentiveness, and alertness.
How to Cultivate Thankfulness in Your Life
To support your journey on the path to a more grateful and sober life, it’s helpful to practice daily habits to establish a more positive outlook. Here are a few ways to incorporate gratitude into your everyday life while recovering from addiction:
- Show gratitude for your recovery: If you struggled with addiction for a long time, you may have felt you would never have a life worth living. But recognizing the ways recovery has helped you can remind you how far you’ve come and how much you have to be thankful for. Think of something or someone you have in your life now that you didn’t have when you were in active addiction. For most of us, it’s not hard to come up with a long list of things. Take time to reflect on what led you to this stage of life and acknowledge what an incredible feat it is that you are here.
- Help others: You’ve heard the phrase “it takes a village to raise a child,” and the same can be said for recovery. Think back to the people in your life who have helped you along the way. What did they do or say that was particularly helpful to you? You can offer that same support to someone in need, and it will undoubtedly bring you a deep sense of satisfaction. Living with gratitude isn’t just about thinking of what others have done for you. It’s also about actively showing your appreciation and returning kindness to others.
- Acknowledge what you’re grateful for daily: This can be done in many different ways. If you enjoy writing, a gratitude journal can be a great way to formalize your practice of gratitude. If you’re more artistically inclined, drawing or painting your appreciation may be the best way to express it. Some prefer simply having a set time of day, like first thing in the morning, at mealtimes, or last thing before falling asleep at night, in which to reflect on what they’re grateful for.
At Legacy Healing Center we understand the importance of treating all aspects of a person to bring about lasting change. Seeing ourselves, and the world around us, through a more grateful lens helps us have a more positive outlook on life. It helps us to recognize how far we’ve come and that we have strengths and resources to draw on as we face life’s inevitable challenges with more confidence.
To learn more about our unique approach to addiction treatment and recovery, please reach out to our intake specialists anytime 24/7 (888) 534-2295. Calls are completely confidential.