Josh Chandler | November 18, 2021

The Power of Gratitude in Addiction Recovery

Benefits of Cultivating More Gratitude in Recovery

When you are in addiction recovery, you may find yourself feeling low at times. Perhaps you feel that nobody understands what you are going through, or you have regrets about your past actions and behaviors. You may be wondering how to change this mindset.

Gratitude (gratefulness) is the appreciation you feel for your life, others around you, and how much you have, without taking anything for granted. Anybody can practice gratitude in their lives, no matter how rich or poor they may be. You may look around the room you are in right now and think about how lucky you are to have electricity, enough food, and a comfortable place to sit. It will remind you that life is beautiful.

The practice of gratefulness requires introspection, thoughtfulness, and stillness, so you can take the time to be thankful for what you have truly. It is pretty simple and easy to bring more positivity, contentment, light, and happiness into your life. There is no downside to cultivating and expressing gratitude, and there is plenty to gain, so why not try it?

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To see the benefits of practicing gratitude, you may have to work at it in the beginning by reminding yourself how lucky you are to have what you have. Some of the benefits of mindfully practicing gratitude include:

Improved Mental Health

Gratitude may help you rewire your brain in the same way behavioral therapy can help with anxiety or depression. It helps manage stress, improves mood, and encourages optimism, assisting us in building resilience and better handling difficult situations in life.

Improved Physical Health

Expressing gratitude can relieve your pent-up stress, helping improve your sleep and give your immune system a boost. An overall positive outlook on life has been linked to a longer lifespan in some individuals. It can also be related to improved cardiac health and improved self-image.

Stronger Social Bonds

The people in your life deserve to feel appreciated, and expressing your gratitude will assure them that you appreciate and care for them. Give thanks to them, and acknowledge all they have done for you and the positivity they bring into your life. It benefits the recipient of the gratitude, making them feel better about themselves, which creates a mutual bond and a stronger relationship.

Greater Resilience Within Yourself

When you express gratitude, you begin to refocus your brain on positive emotions, creating a more optimistic and solution-oriented version of yourself. This will help you deal with problems and hardships in your life more effectively and improve your overall quality of life.

Ways to Cultivate More Gratitude

The way to find more gratitude during addiction recovery include:

Writing it Down

Take time each day to write in a gratitude journal, a blog, or an app of your choosing, or write a gratitude letter once a week. Writing a letter of thanks, or putting small notes of gratitude into a jar, using specific examples and details of what makes you feel grateful, even if you never send the letter or read the notes, is a good practice to solidify the thoughts into actionable truths. An appreciation note or positive memory, a journal entry, or any other writing practice will make you stop and take the time to experience the feeling of gratitude deep down.

Thinking About It

If you feel yourself spiraling into negative thought territory, stop and remind yourself of the things you are most grateful for in life. Morning contemplation is a popular method of developing a habit of daily gratitude. This is where you take 30 seconds to a minute to remind yourself how lucky you are and decide that you are going to make the most out of what you have, setting intentions for the day such as choosing to be kind and deciding to enjoy what you are given to its fullest.

Talking About What You Are Grateful For and Give Thanks

Set a goal for yourself to tell somebody you appreciate them and why every day. Say thank you. The habit of expressing gratitude will set you up for daily success and positivity. Putting this healthy outlook into the world can also help you make new friends and form new social bonds, as people will naturally gravitate to those who make them feel good about themselves.

Finding External Inspiration

As humans, the phrase “you are what you eat” applies to more than just food. You may pick up the same downer attitudes if you surround yourself with negative people and consume only depressing or violent media. Try watching inspiring documentaries, volunteering at a positive organization, and spending time with pleasant people who make you feel good about yourself. People are like sponges, so the more you surround yourself with positivity and gratitude, the more you will exude it back into the world.

Trying Meditation or Mindfulness Practices

Keeping yourself in the present moment is essential to feel gratitude without any accompanying thoughts of unworthiness. To truly feel grateful, you need to be able to switch your thoughts off for a little while and truly experience the beauty of being.

Practicing Being Kind and Selfless in Your Everyday Life

Volunteer, do good deeds, or just be kind to those around you. Providing care and love to others, even strangers, is an act of service, which will help you forget your ego and be reminded of what matters most. This process does not need to be a significant, sweeping gesture. Even the small acts of giving up your seat on the bus or having friendly interactions with shopkeepers will help you continue your daily gratitude exercise.

The best way to start on your own personal gratitude journey is to begin small, avoid comparison with others, be authentic, and don’t force yourself into a practice that makes you feel stressed. Remember that your feelings are valid, and even if you don’t always feel grateful every moment of the day, you can find the time to express yourself in small ways, appreciating the little things in life, building the habit over time. Some examples of small things you may want to start with include:

  • A delicious meal
  • Your home
  • Your family or loved ones
  • Your health
  • Something beautiful
  • Nature
  • A hot shower
  • Your job or education
  • Laughter and humor
  • A nice cup of tea
  • The opportunity to learn something new
  • A pet
  • A friendly stranger
  • Music
  • Weekends
  • Money in the bank
  • Technology and modern conveniences
  • A beautiful sunrise

These are only a few examples to get you started. You can be grateful for silly things like a good hair day or seeing a funny video online, or you can get deep and think about the scope of the universe and how lucky we are to even exist on this planet. There is no limit and there are no rules. Be authentic to yourself and your feelings without judgment.

Addiction Treatment and Recovery Support at Muse

At Muse Treatment’s addiction recovery center, our philosophy for addiction recovery is to keep things stress-free by providing a high level of care with an infusion of spirituality. We offer effective individualized treatment programs. Our caring, compassionate and professional staff will keep our patients safe and as comfortable as possible throughout their entire stay in our detox and rehabilitation programs.

We provide dual diagnosis treatments for those with a co-occurring mental health condition. We combine psychiatric care, physical health care, prescription medications, and spiritual wellness into one whole-patient approach. We work alongside you to help you get to the underlying root of your addiction to provide you with the best possible chance at long-term recovery.

Recovery is different for each of our clients, and at Muse, addiction treatment is customized to best suit your needs, budget, preferences, and beliefs. We offer the full spectrum of care, from detox, through inpatient and outpatient rehab, to a life-long aftercare program. These programs are all provided in the same location, so you do not have to change health care providers or transfer to a new site as you move through your program.

Through behavioral therapy, education, talk therapy, group therapy and processing, counseling, and other treatments, our expert team can help you change your mindset, your unhelpful behaviors and help you to become a grateful, drug- and alcohol-free person you want to become. You will gain life-long coping tools and have continued support and a connection to a sober community. You will always be able to schedule one-on-one therapy appointments, attend groups or get together with sober alumni. We also provide continued connections to medical and psychiatric care for as long as you need it, giving you the ability to live independently, free of drug and alcohol use in long-term recovery.

Contact us today at (800) 426-1818 to learn more about addiction recovery programs, medically assisted detox, inpatient rehab, and outpatient rehab. We are here to help and are happy to answer any questions or provide information on what your next step should be when it comes to addiction recovery.

Josh Chandler
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