22 Nov Gratitude to Support Recovery by Kris Winslow, LMFT
One concept that is a common theme for those in recovery is that of gratitude. An “attitude of gratitude” is thought by many to be the key to happiness and hopefully to sobriety. Unfortunately I have noticed that those who seem to be the biggest vocal proponents of gratitude are the people who really can’t tell what it is or how to practice being grateful. Being grateful is an attitude that can be acquired, but it does take practice. There is a big difference between giving lip service to a phrase and holding it as a belief.
Life is not fair. If anyone ever told you that it is, they were doing you no favors. One of the biggest hurdles I see to feeling gratitude is giving in to the tendency to compare ourselves to others and what they have or don’t. People who are truly grateful can see their life for what it is and acknowledge the benefits that they do have. They stay away from thoughts of what should be or what might have been. They focus on now, positive choices and the results of those choices.
Stay mostly positive. I have a tendency to be realistic about a person’s ability to remain positive 100% of the time, so I usually say stay mostly positive. If you find yourself sinking into negative thought patterns a lot, that is a great reason to seek out therapy. Some of the biggest changes I see in clients are people who learn skills that help them with this.
There are benefits to gratitude:
- ● People rate their levels of happiness higher when they appreciate what they have versuswanting what they can’t have.
- ● Positive people attract other positive people. Whining and negativity get tiring
- ● People who are grateful for their own lives tend to want the best for others which is a quality to which others gravitate.
- ● Gratitude leads to positivity which leads to less stress, which we all need at timesSo:
- ● Actively look for things to be grateful for in your life. They are there.
- ● Keep a journal of things you are grateful for. It teaches you to look for them.
- ● Decide what really matters to you and focus your gratitude on what is important
- ● Surround yourself with other people who appreciate gratitude as well
- ● Have patience with yourself. True gratitude can be learned, but it requires practice