The Power of Gratitude

Written by Chris Clancy

Gratitude is one of the most important qualities for happiness, acting as a gateway to a healthier emotional view of yourself and the world. People in recovery often struggle to practice gratitude, partly because it works entirely different muscles in the brain than active addiction.

Like addiction, though, gratitude can be self-perpetuating. The regular practice of gratitude gives a person new reverence for life itself, opening them up to new feelings and experiences, which in turn open the door to more gratitude, and so on.

Below are three ways to spark and maintain gratitude in your everyday life.

Be Cool with Imperfection

Many people make the mistake of believing that if they focus their mental energy on all that is lacking or in need of improvement in their lives, they’re living more honestly than those who think everything is always rosy. Not true! Maintaining gratitude allows a person to more clearly see the truth of his or her situation.

And the truth is this: You are not perfect, but you have a lot to be proud of.

Embracing this truth often helps you to face life’s challenges head-on, without wasting time on self-pity, blame, or resentment. As The Power of Now author, Eckhart Tolle advises, “Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.” By quickly accepting the present moment, gratefully, you can get on with doing your best to meet the challenge that the present moment contains.

Practice mindfulness

Staying mindful—that is, staying conscious, aware, alive to possibility—is essential not only to maintaining gratitude but to a lasting recovery from addiction. Mindfulness allows for more constructive, less self-centered behavior because when you spend your energy looking outward instead of inward, you can grow on in ways you never would have imagined.

On the other hand, without mindfulness, it’s very easy to fall back into old patterns of negative thought, which in turn can lead to isolation, which in turn can lead to relapse.

Keep a gratitude journal

This may call to mind images of sensitive scribes writing poetic descriptions of every flower they see, but keeping a daily gratitude journal is a highly effective way to practice gratitude. And one of the great things about keeping a gratitude journal (there’s no rule saying you have to call it that) is that after a few weeks you can look over what you’ve written and get a quick pick-me-up on, especially difficult days.

It may seem difficult at first, trying to come up with stuff you’re grateful for. Don’t limit yourself to “the unwavering support of loved ones” or your health, though those are perfectly nice things to be grateful for. Inspiration can be found literally everywhere: a cup of coffee, a song on the radio, a good night’s sleep. Try to think of stuff that makes you laugh or smile, or shake your head at what a strange, beautiful world we live in.

Treatment at JourneyPure at the River

If you or a loved one suffers from a chronic substance abuse problem, please contact us today. We offer medically-assisted detox services, individual and group counseling, and experiential therapies. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is ready for you to get healthy and stay healthy.

Categories

The Addiction Blog

  • Recovery Coaching for Addiction Treatment

    The coaching model, originally borrowed from sports, is very popular for all sorts of topics right now. There are coaches available to help you with your weight loss goals, to help you build or grow your business and to guide you to better health and ...

    READ MORE
  • Your Brain On Drugs: How the Damage Is Done and How to Undo It

    The study of the human brain has made great progress in recent years. In 2015, for example, new discoveries were made in the link between the brain and the immune system, new details were revealed about how the brain changes as we age and new insight ...

    READ MORE
  • How Heroin Travels in the U.S.—Infographic

    1960s Heroin Use To understand how heroin travels into the U.S. now, it’s important to understand the drug’s origin. Heroin was first synthesized in 1874 by English chemist C.R. Alder Wright. From the beginning, its intended purpose was f ...

    READ MORE
  • Treating Depression With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

    Life is a series of ups and downs, and like many people, you may feel down from time to time. Feeling down, or that life is against you, is an all too common feeling in today’s society. As many as 14.8 million adults in the U.S. are affected by Ma ...

    READ MORE

Testimonials