Thanksgiving is a time for saying, “Thank you!”
Colonists offered the holiday as a time to celebrate thankfulness for their survival and good harvest. Today, the tradition continues in the celebrated Thanksgiving, where turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin are served. While it is one day dedicated to this giving of thanks, research shows that gratitude has a valuable effect on one’s mental and physical health.
In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” – Harvard Medical School
Living in recovery, whether in a hospital or in daily life is a battle.
Fighting urges, going to meetings, working towards your goals and dealing with past trauma or memories can wear you down. The struggle and the complications that make the journey rocky can discourage even the most positive addict.
But gratitude can be a lifeline when the road begins to feel dark and unlovable. This isn’t a Pollyannaish-everything-is-fine type of gratitude, but an ability to see that within the struggle and within the fight are moments, people, and situations to be thanked.
A grateful attitude will mean that people can face the challenges that confront them in recovery calmly. They will tend to see problems as a chance to grow rather than some type of attitude. This positive way of dealing with things will lead them towards the ultimate goal of recovery, that is, complete serenity.” – Alcohol Rehab
Do it not only for your mental health, but physical health as well.
Gratitude improves psychological health. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.” – Forbes
So how do you start and where do you begin?
A simple way to start is with a three-a-day thank you.
Tell yourself you are going to write down three things you are grateful for every day in the month.
Harvard Health Publications has a great suggestion of three ways to say thanks:
- Past. Retrieve a positive memory of being thankful for elements of childhood or past blessings.
- Present. Find something you are grateful for today.
- Future. What are you hopeful and optimistic for? Give thanks for these hopes and dreams too.
And did you know, you can be angry and thankful at the same time!
The human mind can only experience one emotion at a time. Anger focuses on lack, what’s missing, unfair, or wrong. Gratitude sees the possibilities, the lessons, the value and purpose.” – Self growth.com
Smart small with the three-a-day gratitude list and see how it improves your overall outlook of life of recovery. You might be surprised how it alters your brain and your outlook as you continue on this journey of recovery.
In addition to building our own happiness, choosing gratitude can also bring out the best in those around us.” – NYTimes
If you find holidays to be stressful and triggering, read more here about how to survive the holidays without a relapse.
We at Beauterre Recovery Institute are grateful for you!
*photos from Flickr