What is "practicing gratitude", and how is it helpful for addictions recovery? In this blog, we discuss how gratitude can help us feel more connected and manage our recovery.
Given the challenging nature of living with an addiction, it might be easy to sometimes focus on misery and negativity. When we get hooked in to these attitudes and ways of thinking, we can feel stuck and it can make recovery harder to maintain.
So how can we un-hook from these unproductive and self-defeating attitudes in order to live more fulfilling, healthier, and addiction-free lives?
The practice of gratitude may be a helpful tool.
Studies have validated the usefulness of practicing gratitude for psychological well-being, and increasingly indicates that a conscious focus on gratitude makes life more fulfilling, meaningful, and productive. Generally, to have a grateful outlook we don’t need a life full of material comforts, but rather an internal attitude of thankfulness regardless of our life circumstances.
Although feeling grateful for what we have (as opposed to feeling regretful for what we don’t have) can be a difficult task initially, but a regular engagement in gratitude exercises can make a huge difference on your mindset and how you manage your recovery.
There are many ways to incorporate gratitude in your life. Here are three simple suggestions that you can do each day as a start;
1. Keep a gratitude diary
Write at least 2 things you are grateful for every morning when you wake up, and at least 2 things you are grateful for before you go to bed. This process can be very helpful to cultivate positivity especially on a ‘bad’ day when you find difficult appreciating life and potentially to help prevent relapse.
2. Focus on the good things not the bad
Instead of focusing on the things you did poorly on that day embrace the things in your life that you’re managing well. Be grateful to yourself for your efforts and remember there’s no such a thing as perfection.
3. Show gratitude to others
Small gestures and acts such as kind words and heartfelt statements of appreciation to family, friends and your addiction support network can be ways of expressing gratitude. This sense of connection with others can create a sense of purpose and direction which is beneficial to people in recovery.
Being able to practice gratitude on a daily basis can strengthen the skills of recovery, staying present in the moment, recognising relapse triggers, feeling connected with others and reducing isolation, and feeling a new sense of purpose in one’s life.
You can see that practicing gratitude is a simple, yet hugely beneficial way of supporting yourself and your recovery. If you want to learn more about gratitude and addiction recovery, click here to contact me.
Until next time,
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The content of this blog is based on our counsellors' academic and clinical experience, but does not constitute therapeutic advice. This blog is intended as general information about counselling, psychotherapy, addictions and mental health issues only. For specific treatment related to you or someone you know, please contact us here to discuss your needs.