It’s been said that the brain is our most powerful muscle — that we’re able to control our quality of life just by the way we direct our thoughts. Indeed, we are all familiar with the use of the phrase “glass half-full” versus “glass half-empty” to describe whether we view life through a positive or negative lens.
In addiction recovery, we face many challenges that, without a mindset rooted in positivity, could allow that glass half-empty attitude to quickly undo all our hard work. At times, it may seem difficult or even unreasonable to maintain a cheerful outlook. Read on to learn how to push through adverse situations and cultivate positivity in your daily life.
Benefits of positivity
You need not look further than experts in medicine, such as Johns Hopkins and Mayo Clinic, to learn all about the health benefits of positivity. While not yet fully understood, it seems that having a positive mindset can help us manage the effects of stress better, which then protects heart health and boosts the immune system. In addition to the physical health benefits, there are several mental health benefits that stem from positivity.
Here are some of the many mental health benefits of a positive attitude:
- Nurtures a sense of hope
- Makes us more productive
- Helps us overcome adverse events
- Nourishes our relationships
- Makes us feel more energetic
- Increases confidence and self-esteem
- Propels you to achieve goals
Tips for maintaining positivity
Even though we know that a positive attitude is good for us, it isn’t always easy to achieve. Sometimes it takes a bit of effort to break through negative thought patterns and replace them with positivity. Here’s how to make it easier on yourself:
- Seek out positive people: Who we spend time with matters, as their emotions and attitude can influence our own. Surround yourself with Happy Helens versus Debbie Downers.
- Volunteer: Nothing gives your perspective a refresh like helping out. When you offer your time and talents to help others, you not only feel more positive and joyful yourself, but you reflect positivity outward.
- Spend time in nature: Nothing boosts your attitude like spending time outside in nature. Just being surrounded by natural beauty can lift your spirits and improve your outlook on life.
- Shift your thoughts: Our thoughts have a significant impact on our mental health in general. Whenever you catch yourself dwelling on negative thoughts, reframe them in a positive light. It takes some practice, but thought shifting is very effective.
- Practice gratitude: When we take a few minutes to acknowledge the things we are thankful for, we can’t help but become more positive. Try keeping a gratitude journal where you can record all the positive things that occur in your life.
- Develop healthy habits: When you feel good, you have a more positive mindset, which affects how you interact with others. Make exercise a priority in your life, monitor your diet, and establish healthy sleep habits to cultivate positivity.
- Practice techniques to reduce stress: Some days, you can find yourself all wound up in a big ball of stress. Learning some relaxation skills can help you reclaim your positivity. Consider taking up yoga or meditation, or practice deep breathing to achieve a calm, positive state of mind.
Don’t allow the challenges you face in recovery to steal your love of life. With a little practice, you will improve your outlook and walk through your days radiating positivity.
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.