The Importance of Gratitude in Recovery

The Importance of Gratitude in Recovery

written by: Mr. Robert Mittiga
by: Mr. Robert Mittiga
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The Importance of Gratitude in Recovery

Gratefulness as the Key to Success in Addiction and Codependency Recovery

When people are grateful for what they have, they will experience a great deal of happiness in their life. When the individual is constantly lamenting their lot, it will be impossible for them to find peace of mind. Gratitude is not about what people have or do not have. There are billionaires who still do not feel satisfied and poor people who feel they have everything they need. The tendency to feel grateful is a mental attitude that can be developed. It is particularly important that people recovering from an addiction try to cultivate this positive outlook, because it can help to ensure their success in the future.

Gratitude Defined

Gratitude can be defined as an acknowledgement of a benefit that an individual has received. People can for grateful that something has happened or is about to happen. They can also have a general attitude of gratefulness, because they are happy with their life. It is also possible for the individual to express gratitude without actually meaning it.

Gratitude and Positive Thinking

Positive thinking can greatly improve an in individual's mental and physical health. It gives them energy and the confidence to do the things that will make their life better. Gratitude and positive thinking go hand in hand. In fact, it would not really be possible for people to experience much positivity if they are not happy with their life. If people feel grateful they will automatically be thinking positively.

The opposite to positive thinking is stinking thinking. This is where people are full of negativity. They view their current situation as unsatisfactory, and they might not have much hope that things will improve in the future. Stinking thinking is a dangerous for people in recovery, because it can easily lead to relapse. The key to combating this negative mode of thought is to become more grateful for the positive things in life. Everyone will find that they do have things to feel good about if they look.

Benefits of Gratitude

People who are grateful tend to experience a great deal of joy in their life. These are some of the benefits of gratitude:

* A much admired Hindi guru called Nisargadatta Maharaj told his followers that the key to happiness is gratitude. People become unhappy because they have things they do not want and they want things they do not have. The way to be happy is to change this thinking so that people want what they have and do not want what they do not have. If people can feel gratitude for their life now they can avoid much suffering.

* Grateful people are nice to be around so they tend to have many friends. They can always see the good in people and spending time in their company can feel rejuvenating. Those individuals who are always complaining about life tend to drive others away.

* When people are positive about things they will be more willing to take chances. In order to experience some of the real joys in life, the individual will sometimes have to be willing to accept some risk. The grateful person will be willing to take such risks. This does not happen because they want their life to improve, but it comes from a sense of adventure.

* People with this type of positive outlook will experience less stress in their lives. They do not go looking for problems, and when something challenging happens, they do not automatically assume the worst. Stress is known to be at least a contributing cause to many types of physical and mental illness. This means that cultivating a sense of gratitude can improve health and help people live longer.

* When people are grateful, they are less likely to come in conflict with other people. They have no deep need to always get their own way and they tend not to have hidden agendas. If people are happy with their own life, they tend to want the same for other individuals. It tends to be humans who are dissatisfied with their life who end up in regular interpersonal conflicts.

* When people have this attitude, they are far less likely to suffer from depressive symptoms. Gratitude and positivity are closely related.

The Importance of Gratitude in Recovery

If people are grateful to be sober, it is unlikely that they will relapse back to their addiction. This is because they will have to motivation to do what they need to in order to protect their sobriety. It is only when people take their recovery for granted, or they develop stinking thinking, that they begin sliding towards a relapse. A grateful attitude will mean that people can face the challenges that confront them in recovery calmly. They will tend to see problems as a chance to grow rather than some type of attitude. This positive way of dealing with things will lead them towards the ultimate goal of recovery, that is, compete serenity.

Self absorption can be a huge problem for people in recovery. When people are addicted to alcohol or drugs, they will spend most of the time only thinking about their own needs. When these individuals become sober, they may continue to be preoccupied with themselves. Self-absorption makes life difficult but when people feel grateful they have less reason to be so selfish. They feel satisfied that their own needs are being met so they can now focus at least some of their attention on the needs of other people.

How to Increase Feelings of Gratitude

If people feel grateful, it is going to benefit them in many ways. It is therefore wise that people should try to develop this attitude. These are some tips for achieving feelings of gratitude:

* A gratitude journal can be a wonderful tool for increasing this type of feeling. This is where people record all the things they have to be grateful for on a daily basis. This allows them to develop the habit of looking for the good things in life.

* People today tend to have an inner drive that is always telling them that they need more. This hunger can never be satisfied and can only lead to unhappiness and disillusionment. The individual needs to decide on what is really important in their life and focus on that. This is usually other people and not possessions. It is not common for people on their deathbed to lament their lack of belongings.

* Gratitude is an attitude that people can learn. It only takes a month to 90 days for something to become habitual. If people make an attempt each day to be grateful, they will eventually begin to do this automatically.

* Metta (loving kindness) meditation involves deliberately cultivating feelings of good will towards other people. Those who practice this technique can even begin to love their enemies. Most importantly, by practicing metta cultivation, the individual learns to love themselves more. This increases their sense of gratitude for what they have.

* One of the things that cause people to feel ungrateful is when they compare themselves to other people. Such comparisons are unhelpful and also misleading. Other people may be successful in one area of their life, but a complete failure in another. In short, no one is perfect.

* Humans are highly influenced by the people they spend their time with. If the individual is always surrounded by negative people, they may begin to absorb such an outlook themselves. If people eat bad food it will harm their health, and spending time with negative people works in a similar way. It can therefore be beneficial if the individual tries to spend as much time as they can with positive role models – people who are full of gratitude for what they have.

* Learning to be grateful is a skill that requires practice and patience. The individual will have days where they seem to be making progress and days where they feel they are going backwards. If people are persistent at cultivating a grateful attitude they will undoubtedly see progress over time.

Tips For Making A Gratitude List

Whether we notice them or not, we are sprinkled with an abundance of blessings on a daily basis. Some big, some small; but blessings just the same. Making a gratitude list helps us to recognize these blessings and keep our focus on the good things in our lives. This is especially helpful when times get a little tough and extremely beneficial during substance abuse recovery. But how can you feel more grateful?

Creating and reading gratitude lists will promote a positive attitude every day. It is a good tool to have to lift your spirits when you need a little lifting, or a great way to start the day off on the right foot. Searching out and documenting the good things in life is also a good way to monitor your recovery progress by noting and being thankful for milestones as you reach them. If you need help getting started, get involved in recovery coaching for guidance.

How To Begin A Gratitude List

A good place to start is to be thankful for recovery itself and all that it provides. Research has proven that people in recovery who focus on all that they have to be thankful for are less likely to relapse. It will also help you not take your recovery for granted over time.

When recovery becomes the norm, it is easy to let your guard down or not work as hard to maintain your new sober lifestyle. A daily reminder of all that recovery provides will keep you strong and motivated moving forward. Following these tips will get you started in the right direction.

Tips To Establish Gratitude

1. Commit to writing something every day. Maybe you want to just write a word or two; my mom called. Or write your list of blessings with more detail; my mom called to see how I'm doing, invite me to dinner, and to tell me she loves me; this really made my day!

2. You can create your gratitude list with pen and paper, on your smart phone, keep it in a Word document on your computer, or use a calendar with large boxes to write your blessings on each day. You can format it any way that feels comfortable to you. Create it someplace safe as you may want to keep it and reread it for years to come.

3. Make your gratitude list an essential tool in your relapse prevention toolbox. When you get overwhelmed, take it out and read back over all the good things in your life. The gray clouds will soon go unnoticed; as will your thoughts of drugs or alcohol.

4. How can you express your gratitude every day? There will be days when you think there is absolutely nothing to be grateful for. Make an entry on your gratitude list anyway. There is always some little thing you can find. Maybe the sun is out, there's a bird singing outside your window, or you didn't burn the toast today – anything. Just write.

5. Incorporate time to be grateful into your daily structure. It's been proven that documenting thankfulness just before bed produces a more restful night's sleep and sweeter dreams.

6. Ask someone to be your gratitude buddy. Sharing gratitude lists with each other will give you one more thing to add to your list, look forward to, and keep you accountable to keep your list going.

7. Over time, you will begin to notice you seem happier every day by seeking out and spending time on each day's blessings. Don't give up your gratitude list when things are grand. Just write a longer list!

Start today. Be grateful you found this blog post to help you get started! Always be grateful you are alive, making good choices for yourself, and you're now sober.