When we are struggling with addictions and mental health issues, it is extremely common for us to become consumed by our negative thought patterns. We tend to think in worst case scenarios, we tend to jump to negative conclusions, and we catastrophize. We focus on the bad elements of everything around us, and it becomes increasingly difficult to see the good. We tend to make our mental and emotional health challenges even worse by perpetuating our toxic ways of thinking.
Having a gratitude practice is one of the best ways to reprogram our thinking to look for the good in the world, in our lives and in ourselves. When we are suffering, it can feel impossible to find anything to be grateful for. It can take some work and effort on our parts to start focusing on gratitude, but once we make a habit of it, it can totally transform how we perceive everything.
List things you feel grateful for upon waking, before going to bed, and/or throughout the day. Make it a part of your journaling. Keep a gratitude list in your phone to add to whenever you think of something. You can make this a ritual with family and friends and share what you’re grateful for when you’re together, when sharing meals, or when speaking to each other.
Your gratitude practice can be done as a meditation, spoken out loud, or in writing, which allows you to look back and remember everything you’ve listed before. Focusing on gratitude can really add to your sense of happiness, wellbeing and inner peace. When you feel tense, sad, anxious or afraid, it can be tremendously therapeutic to re-read prior gratitude lists, and it can inspire you to create one in that moment, which oftentimes will make you feel much better. “I am grateful I had plenty to eat today. I am grateful I got to see the beautiful sunset. I am grateful I got home safely. I am grateful I have friends and family who love me.”
As you list the things you feel grateful for, you might notice it helping to decrease your anxiety. It can be extremely calming and comforting to focus on all the good things in our lives, no matter how small they may be. As we focus on all we have to be grateful for, our minds are literally being rewired to look for the good and to focus on the positive. We are shifting our minds away from our common thought patterns of complaining, pessimism and negativity. As we continue to focus our thoughts on gratitude, we are reprogramming our subconscious minds to look for more things to be grateful for. Soon gratitude becomes our new default thought pattern, which can make all the difference in our mental and emotional wellbeing.
The community at Vista Taos is here to support you in your recovery. Call (575) 586-5078.