This blog post was written by Recovery Help Now’s, Cindy Nigro, MFTi.

The theme for this month is gratitude, which seems ever so appropriate given the recent hurricane in NY.  It is extremely easy and common to get caught up in negative patterns of thinking and to stress the small stuff.  When a natural disaster strikes, it is quite an awakening and reminder to be thankful and appreciate everyday blessings that are often overlooked or taken for granted.  However practicing gratitude is something that can be done everyday and not just in the wake of a disaster.

Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that you receive.  It means learning to live your life as if everything were a gift, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you’ve been given.  Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present.  Giving thanks has bee shown to strengthen relationships, improve health, and reduce stress.

Do you tend to take for granted the good that is already present in your life? One way to practice gratitude is to start finding joy in the small things instead of holding out for big achievements—such as getting a promotion, getting married, having a baby, and so on–before allowing yourself to feel gratitude and joy.  Another way to appreciate life more fully is to use gratitude to help you put things in their proper perspective. When things don’t go your way, remember that every difficulty carries an opportunity of an equal or greater benefit. In the face of adversity ask yourself: “What good can come out of this?”, “What can I learn from this?”, and “How can I benefit from this?”

Once you become oriented toward looking for things to be grateful for, you will find that you begin to appreciate simple pleasures and things that you previously took for granted. Gratitude should not be just a reaction to getting what you want, but the kind where you notice the little things and look for the good even in unpleasant situations.  What are you thankful for today?  Tell us about it.. we’d love to hear!

Elana Clark-Faler
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