Gratitude may seem like the last thing someone in Colorado drug rehab would feel. However, even in the midst of times when it feels like life is falling apart and the future is uncertain, an attitude of gratitude is important to cultivate as part of overcoming addiction.
There are many benefits to gratitude for those both in and out of rehab.
Help for Anxiety and Depression
Being grateful helps elevate your mood. If you are feeling anxious or depressed, it causes you to think about positive things, which has been shown to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. When you feel grateful or focus on things for which you are grateful, you get your mind off negative things and more focused on things that make you happy rather than depressed.
You Will Be Healthier Physically
Gratitude has a positive impact on physical health, according to research. A grateful attitude can make your immune system work better, lower blood pressure, and make aches and pains less bothersome. Other symptoms of illnesses can also be reduced, including physical symptoms that may persist after detox, which could be lessened with the practice of gratitude.
Your Relationships Will Improve
Cultivating and expressing gratitude toward the significant people in your life–partner, extended family, friends–can improve those relationships. Who does not feel close to someone who they feel appreciates and values them? Who does not like hearing that someone is grateful for them? If you are like many people who struggle with substance abuse, you may have spent a lot of time focusing on yourself, and being grateful gets you out of this pattern and more focused on others who are important in your life.
You Can Give Back
Gratitude often encourages a response. It is common to want to do something in return to help those toward whom you are grateful or to pay it forward and help someone else. Being grateful may lead to being more compassionate toward others and more able to sympathize with their struggles rather than remaining focused on your own.
Embracing New Experiences
When you have an attitude of gratitude, you are more likely to look at new experiences positively and see the possibilities for them to bring good into your life. Instead of backing away from new experiences because you can only see or expect negative results, you will be more likely to open yourself up to new things because you know there will be something positive that comes out of any experience you have.
How to Practice Gratitude
You can practice gratitude by journaling or making a list of things for which you are thankful. This practice is especially helpful when you are feeling down or depressed and you begin to feel that the negatives outweigh the positives.
You can also say out loud the things for which you are thankful. Instead of asking your kids or partner how their day was over the dinner table, ask what made them feel grateful that day. Social media is another place you can intentionally post positive, thankful statements rather than complaints.
Recovery Village at Palmer Lake offers treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. Learn about admissions to begin your journey toward a more healthy, positive lifestyle that will engender gratitude in you every day.