When beginning your new life after recovery, changing the way you view the world can be a way to help you along that process. Part of this transformation involves incorporating gratitude into your daily routine. Being grateful for the blessings in your life, whether large or small, helps cultivate a humble, appreciative attitude.
As you begin your recovery journey, keep an eye out for all the positive things you encounter each day — see each one as a gift! By practicing gratitude, you will slowly transform the way you look at life, as well as the people you interact with. These small instances of gratitude can amount to a bigger overall impact on your mental health.
What is gratitude?
Gratitude refers to the recognition and expression of thankfulness. When we are grateful for something or someone, we feel an immense appreciation for them. Too often, we forget to practice gratitude because of our busy lives. We intended to send a thank you note to that relative. We planned on thanking a coworker for covering our shift. However, in recovery, it is important to follow through with such actions and actually express thankfulness.
Practicing gratitude is more than just mailing a thank you letter. To practice daily gratitude means viewing the world through a lens of appreciation. This becomes evident in your interactions with others throughout the day. A grateful attitude propels you through life, sporting a compassionate heart versus a chip on your shoulder. In fact, integrating gratitude into your daily life becomes, in essence, a reflection of the spiritual awakening you’ve experienced in recovery.
How to practice gratitude
It may take a little practice to get into the daily habit of living life with an “attitude of gratitude.” Consider these tips for increasing your sense of gratitude:
- Increase your Awareness: The next time you leave the house, make an intentional effort to acknowledge the little things that bring you joy. Whether it’s the friendly cashier at the grocery store, the gorgeous blue sky or your favorite song coming on the radio — take a minute to express thanks.
- Keep a Gratitude Journal: Put aside a few minutes to jot down the positive events that occurred in your day. This practice of reflecting on your day and identifying the things you’re thankful for can help improve your both physical and emotional wellbeing.
- Say it Out Loud: We might make a mental note of a pleasant experience we had with another person and leave it at that. Why not take the practice of gratitude further and tell that person how much you appreciate them? Thank them for their kindness, their help, their patience — whatever it was that made you feel good inside. Let them know that they made your day.
The benefits of gratitude in recovery
Starting a new life in recovery involves pushing through regrets from the past and shedding a lot of baggage. 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.
When you make that shift into a grateful mindset you radiate a very attractive and influential positivity.
Your positive attitude ends up helping others who are just starting their recovery journey, and in turn becomes a gift to many.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders. Our programs are accredited by The Joint Commission, and result in frequent publications of ongoing research into effective treatment methodologies. We offer holistic care that encompasses the mind, body and spirit through inpatient and outpatient treatment, provide drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Our driving principle — “everything for recovery” — reinforces our mission to transform and save lives through the science of medicine, the art of therapy and the compassion of spirituality, and is complemented by our philosophy of healing with respect and dignity. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call (866) 313-6307.