Over time, substance abuse leads to selfish behaviors, harmful decisions and misplaced priorities. As a worsening addiction chips away at the foundations of your relationships, it fosters dysfunction by harming your ability to relate to others. Gratitude is the opposite of all this toxicity and unhealthiness, but you will need to pursue this mindset with intention and purpose.
Why You Should Deliberately Cultivate Gratitude in Your Daily Life
Actively embracing gratitude will help you keep an open mind and a positive attitude, even when you encounter setbacks. Remember, every challenge also offers an opportunity to learn and grow.
As with every other milestone on your recovery journey, learning to be open and accepting is a gradual process. First, you will need to break the patterns of negativity that probably characterized your addiction with a therapeutic approach like cognitive behavioral therapy. Then, you’ll start developing specific, actionable habits that help with your recovery goals and add thankfulness to your life.
Action Steps for Creating More Gratitude
Here are some involved activities you can adopt to become a happier, more grateful person.
1. Write Thank-You Notes
In today’s world of email and text messages, handwritten thank-you notes are somewhat of an artifact of a bygone era, but you can reclaim this lost art by doing things the old-fashioned way. Your recipient will appreciate that you took the time and effort to write out a letter to express your appreciation. Whether you choose to write letters and mail them to people you love, or leave anonymous encouraging messages on strangers’ cars, you will be brightening someone’s day immeasurably.
2. Maintain a Journal
Journaling can be an excellent habit for your overall mindfulness goals. Establish a daily habit of jotting down two or three things you have to be happy about and two or three actionable steps you’re taking to improve. Every three to six months, revisit previous journal entries so you can assess your progress and note areas where you can continue to get better. If you’re working with a counselor, you might consider sharing these notes with them and asking them to suggest strategies that will help you achieve more.
3. Practice Mindfulness Meditation
While there are many meditation styles to try, loving kindness meditation is excellent for people who are trying to be more compassionate and live without judgment. When you practice loving kindness meditation, you focus on directing benevolent, healing energy toward yourself and the universe as a whole. Practice this technique for a few minutes each day, and gradually work your way up to longer meditation sessions.
Take an Active Role in Your Recovery
Consciously honing your gratitude can help you rebuild damaged relationships and give you a framework for being more resilient in the face of adversity. Don’t merely tell people in your life you are grateful to have them – show them through your deeds. Committing to your recovery from a substance use disorder is one of the first actions you can take to get your life back on a positive track.