Make gratitude a daily habit in addiction recovery with these 5 easy tips.
You might not see your glass as half full, but science shows developing an attitude of gratitude is beneficial to your physical, emotional, and mental health. When you’re in early recovery, learning to live life without drugs or alcohol, gratitude might not come as naturally as post-acute withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, depression, and fatigue.
Gratitude comes naturally for very few of us. And that’s okay. Studies show that practicing gratitude can change your brain, making you more attuned to it and focused on positivity in the future. So what are you waiting for?
Pump up your gratitude muscle like you would your thighs on leg day at the gym, with these 4 easy hacks:
1. Get your friends into gratitude on a group text.
Send out three things you’re grateful for on your lunch break at work, or when you’re waiting for your coffee. Get an extra bump of gratitude when they send a few back your way.
Can’t handle the constant text notifications? Make a gratitude Facebook group with friends, family, your recovery network, coworkers (or all four!) and post what you’re thankful for each day.
2. Express your gratitude to those around you.
Say thanks to the people who serve you coffee, and let them know when it tastes lovely or makes your morning. An added bonus of this? A study found that thanking new acquaintances makes them more likely to develop lasting relationships with you.
Take the time to write a gratitude letter to someone you appreciate, then hand deliver it to them, if possible. The Greater Good Science Center has an outline on how to do this, if it feels daunting. In several studies, writing a gratitude letter improved overall mental health, decreased depression, and improved happiness. The boost in happiness maintained even a week or a month after the letter itself was written.
3. Download a gratitude app.
There’s an app for everything, and making gratitude a daily habit is no exception. Check out one of these apps to get you grateful on the daily:
- My Gratitude Journal – A gratitude journal with pictures to capture your best moments in under 5 minutes a day.
- Five Minute Journal – “A toothbrush for your mind,” this includes a format based on positive psychology, including gratitude lists.
- Grateful: A Gratitude Journal – Grateful offers prompts to get your gratitude wheels turning. Like the other two apps, you’re able to add in photos.
- Gratitude Reminders – If you’re not up for journaling, this app will send you gratitude affirming mantras at intervals you choose. You can write your own or pick from a list.
- 365 Gratitude – Share your daily gratitude prompt’s to this app’s community, be inspired with daily gratitude quotes, and watch your gratitude grow over time with regular check-ins.
4. Flip the script on your negative thoughts.
Whenever you notice yourself complaining or thinking of something negative, try to flip your negative script and find something to be grateful for in the situation you’re facing. If you’re frustrated with someone, think of when or how they do show up for you. If you’re daunted by a situation, embrace how much you’re learning from the challenge. Exhausted? Be grateful you have a busy life that’s wearing you out. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of sobriety (cravings, discomfort), be grateful for what you’ve gotten in recovery (avoiding hangovers or withdrawal, saving money).
If you have Workit Health’s Auto Thought Card Deck, our cards can be a great tool to use in changing negative thought patterns.
5. Meditate on gratitude.
A gratitude meditation can be a powerful way to life your mood and open your heart. The Greater Good Science Center recommends a gratitude meditation from Dr. Kathi Kemper.
But why stop at just one? A search for gratitude meditation on YouTube brings up a list of recordings from everyone ranging from Deepak Chopra to Tony Robbins. Explore and find what works for you. You can even listen to Robin McIntosh, Workit’s CEO, share on her own morning gratitude ritual.
Still need a gratitude boost? Try Workit Health’s course on gratitude, unlocked from our online recovery program, just for you. Workit Health’s online addiction courses are broken into 5 sections, each with a different area of focus (Body, Mind, Heart, Spirit, Tribe). The Spirit section dives deep into gratitude, acceptance, and mindfulness. So join those of us #workingspirit, and get your gratitude on!