Living with addictions and mental health issues can cause us to develop thought patterns that contribute to our emotional pain. We tend to worry, complain, think negatively and be pessimistic. One way to create new thought patterns that reinforce health and happiness is to develop a gratitude practice.
In the midst of our emotional pain, we can feel like we have nothing to be grateful for. We feel there is nothing redeeming about ourselves or our lives, and nothing beautiful in the world around us. When we begin our gratitude practice, we might struggle at first thing to find anything that makes us feel a sense of gratitude or appreciation. As difficult as it can be at first, the more we practice, the easier it becomes.
Start small. Try to think of three things, even small things, that you feel grateful for right now in this moment. List them out, and include any details about them you wish, including how they make you feel. For example, the bright sunlight in the morning might make you feel hopeful. Having clean drinking water might make you feel blessed. Repeat this exercise in the morning when you wake up, at night before you go to sleep, and/or throughout your day. You can use a journal to help you establish a routine for your practice.
Over time, a gratitude practice helps to rewire our brains to start seeing more things around us to be grateful for. We start to see things everywhere that we can add to our gratitude lists. It starts to change the way we think. We start to see the positive in things more easily and more often. We start to appreciate the little things in life. We begin to see our strengths and gifts rather than only focusing on our faults and weaknesses. We start to appreciate our relationships more. We start to see that we are in fact very blessed, no matter how much we might be struggling or how hard our circumstances might be at the moment.
Practicing gratitude is a holistic way of helping to ease our depression and anxiety. We start to find joy in the simplicity of life, in the natural world around us, in the comforts of home. We strengthen our ability to be optimistic and think positively. We feel stronger and happier. This simple practice can have huge lasting effects on our perspective. The more positive and optimistic our outlook, the greater our chances of developing the inner strength we need to have a successful recovery. With practice, the way we view ourselves, our lives and the world can be transformed.
We’re here to help you find the healing tools that can help you in your recovery. Call 888-570-7154 for information on our treatment programs.