Having a gratitude practice is a very useful and effective tool when dealing with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues, as well as addiction. Many of us might not have grown up thinking about gratitude as a practice. We might express our gratitude at certain times, before meals, during prayer, or on specific holidays. Developing a gratitude practice where we give energy to finding things we feel grateful for on a daily basis can be a powerful way of reminding us of our blessings, lifting our mood, and helping us maintain our calm and happiness when dealing with challenging emotions.
When we are depressed and struggling with our addictive behaviors, sometimes gratitude is the last thing we feel. We feel sad, afraid, angry, hopeless, alone. We can, however, direct our thoughts and emotions in any way we want to. Very often we feel so powerless over our thoughts and feelings that once we start feeling them, we think we just have to ride them out until they leave. At any point, we can choose to focus our thinking on gratitude, which can immediately make us feel better and more at peace.
The next time you’re feeling anxious, sad or any other emotion that you find challenging, take a moment to pause and think about anything and everything you can find to be grateful for in that moment. It might have to do with the situation at hand. There might be a silver lining you can find once you reach for it. There might be a lesson or epiphany waiting for you to open yourself up to the possibilities. You might have other things to be grateful for that have nothing to do with the situation. Maybe the sun is shining, you made it to your destination safely today, you are generally in good health, or you had plenty to eat today. Whatever they might be, think about those things that bring you nothing but feelings of positivity and appreciation.
When we’re depressed, it can be especially hard to hold onto positive feelings, but try to return to them as much as possible. When your mind wants to go negative, try to pull your thoughts back to the feelings of gratitude. Just like with meditation where you gently pull your attention back to your breathing, visualization or affirmation, try to pull your mind back to your gratitude. Meditate on the feelings of open-heartedness, clarity and joy that gratitude brings with it. The more you work on this gratitude practice, the more it will reprogram your subconscious mind to look for gratitude on a regular basis, which will make you happier and help you attract even more to be grateful for.
The multiple therapies and holistic treatments at Vista Taos can help you develop the wellness tools you need to help you in your recovery. Call us today at (575) 613-4810 for more information.