That said, there are going to be residual negative emotions and memories that can hinder your recovery. One of the benefits of cultivating a grateful heart in recovery is that it helps you better handle the negative things that come your way. Gratitude becomes like a sweet salve that not only heals but also contributes to your sense of joy for breaking free from substance use.

why is gratitude important in recovery

Practicing gratitude means being aware of good things, recognizing that work has gone into them, recognizing when people have helped you, and being thankful that you get the opportunities. That mindset can help you to improve your self-esteem in a number of ways. First, you can focus on what you’ve done for yourself, on how far you’ve come, and on how many steps you’ve taken in the right direction.

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Meditation is an age old way to increase concentration and focus, and a meditation practice centered on gratitude can not only help to calm both mind and body, but also to keep the goals of recovery in mind. Meditation encourages mindfulness – the practice of being in the present moment without judgment. Mindfulness helps you focus on all those everyday events and experiences that make you feel positive – and grateful. Journaling has a long-established history as a tool for self-discovery and healing.

But in several other ways, it requires you to actively put in the effort. At the beginning of your addiction treatment, you may not be thinking of much else outside of how you feel physically. Dive deeper into your sobriety by expressing daily gratitude for a life in recovery. Be grateful for a fresh start, for possibilities and opportunities. The good news is that gratitude is a mental outlook that can be developed and strengthened over time. The great news is that the benefits occur almost immediately with significant impact on your recovery success and overall well-being.

Gratitude improves your physical health.

Instead of being frustrated over cravings and withdrawal symptoms, gratitude leads to a thankfulness for being able to overcome without indulgence in drugs or alcohol. If you’ve spent months or years soured by a negative outlook, it isn’t easy to swap rose-colored glasses with your current position of seeing everything as gray and stormy. The good news is that gratitude is contagious, and you can practice gratitude with others to help teach yourself to find positivity naturally. Our default mode is to look out for danger and try to anticipate what might go wrong.

  • Our patient-centered, evidence-based approach to treatment allows us to put the care of the client first and provide a foundation for long-term recovery.
  • It may also help individuals view recovery as a challenge that will help them grow instead of as an obstacle that could overtake them.
  • When you feel overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed, try a guided gratitude meditation to help ground you.
  • As a bonus, they also reported exercising more and going to the doctor less than the participants who had written about things that annoyed them.

Recovery can seem big and impossible, so it’s important to set small doable goals along the way. That gives a sense of accomplishment, boosts self-esteem and gets things done. Break down big goals into smaller ones and mark them off your list as you complete them.

Gratitude List in Recovery

At its core, gratitude involves feeling thankful for positive experiences or people in one’s life. This active process of recognizing and appreciating what one has, rather than focusing on negativity or lack, can have profound effects on mental health. Life is full of experiences and challenges, many of which can teach you valuable lessons. If you recently completed drug rehab, you most likely learned a few (if not many) valuable life lessons that changed you for the better. Reflecting on these life lessons and asking yourself what you’ve learned in the last week, month, or year is a great way to practice gratitude and reflect on your own personal growth in recovery. A quick way to practice gratitude is by making a list of things you’re grateful for in recovery each day.

  • Recovery from addiction isn’t only a matter of abstaining from drugs and alcohol; it’s about feeling good about your life without drugs and alcohol.
  • Most research consistently shows that when you take time to be grateful, it makes you feel better about where you are and what you have.
  • Gratitude shouldn’t only be practiced when something amazing happens, like receiving a job offer at your dream career or seeing a long-distance friend.

However, maintaining a sense of gratitude can help you stay focused on what is important and find strength in difficult times. Mindfulness is the practice of being present, which allows you to detach yourself from anxieties about the future or depressed feelings from your past. It requires you to separate gratitude and recovery yourself from the stress of everyday life, put down your phone and look up from your computer screen. Once your head is cleared from daily distractions, it will be easier to recount everything you have to be grateful for. It will open up and free your mind so you can experience thankfulness.

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For example, if someone from your AA group needs a place to stay for a week, opening up your home is a great way to be generous. Or if you see someone struggling to carry groceries to their car, the simple act of offering a helping hand can go a long way. Conditioning your mind to be thankful instead of sorry is a sure sign your attitude of gratitude is improving. Another way to practice gratitude is to shift the tone of your conversations to eliminate self-blame. Instead of responding to questions with “I’m sorry,” or worse, using “I’m sorry” as a greeting, like “I’m sorry I’m late,” or “I’m sorry for taking so long to email you,” say “thank you” instead. When you communicate with other people, express what you are thankful for.

why is gratitude important in recovery

Often, just by going through the motions, you’ll find yourself feeling grateful by the end of the day. Changing your language can help you focus on the good in the world, in others and in yourself. When you do this, you’ll start to unconsciously and effortlessly practice gratitude throughout the day.

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