Gratitude is Powerful
In the pantheon of human emotions, love and gratitude are among the most powerful entities. Love can keep you alive against all the odds. Gratitude can transform not only the way you see the world—It can change your reality. Maybe you feel like you have never experienced the influence a grateful heart can have though. You are not alone in that. But chances are you have crossed paths with people who live in gratitude. Think about that person you’ve known who seems to be able to find the bright side in nearly every situation. The one who stays humble when most people would brag. The one who always says ‘thank you’ and sounds like they really mean it. What does their life look like from your perspective? How happy do they seem? Does it seem like truly little really upsets them? As if most things come to them easily? It almost seems as if they have discovered a secret to living well, doesn’t it?
It Doesn’t Always Come Easily
Let’s be honest. All the platitudes about gratitude can seem a bit saccharine when you’re feeling like life has kicked you in the nether regions. When the most recent chapters of your life sound like the lyrics to a sad old country song, how can you possibly change your attitude? Why should you? The ‘why’ is easy. Because it works. Choosing to have a grateful outlook despite dire circumstances is the surest way to start feeling better. Not only does it make you feel better, but the effort changes your perspective. Suddenly you begin to see solutions and possibilities where there were none. Your heart gets just a little lighter. Your troubles seem just a little less overwhelming. You’ve probably heard the phrase “fake it until you make it”. It absolutely applies to gratitude and attitude. You say you are miserable and pessimistic? Fine. Act like you are happy and content anyway. If you don’t feel grateful, pretend to be. The truth is you can ‘trick’ yourself into being in a better mood and once you’re there you can build on that. It genuinely works. Try it for an afternoon, you have nothing to lose but a bit of misery.
Gratitude Works – We Can Prove It
Maybe you are still not entirely convinced. What if we told you that there are more than a few studies
which show that actively practicing gratitude creates measurable changes
in the way our brains work? Gratitude works. Even when you are not starting from a grateful place, going through the motions will still bring genuine gratitude and its rewards into your life. Activities as simple as writing thank-you notes, keeping a gratitude journal or listing things you are grateful for, cultivate fertile ground for these feelings. Prayer and meditation focused on what you are grateful for is enormously powerful as well. Remember, you can be as skeptical as you like about all of this. But do it anyway
. You will undoubtedly be surprised by the results.
Give Yourself a Reason
Gratitude is especially vital in recovery. Just the fact that you are in recovery at all is something to be deeply grateful for. Recovery is a way of living and much of it, especially early on, is about retraining your brain. In fact, almost everything we do in recovery is designed to rewire our thinking and behavior. Gratitude exercises are hands down one of the most productive ways to do this. They change our perspective and our attitude. Most people begin to see some results quickly. If you stick with it consistently over time, you are likely to be amazed at the person you become. Gratitude is one of the most useful tools you can have in recovery. No recovery toolbox is complete without it.
If you or a loved one is living with a substance use or mental health disorder and you would like help, please give us a call at Blue Hills Health & Wellness. We are available 24/7 to answer your questions and provide guidance about treatment options.