Earlier this year, website Happier Human, which posts articles related to happiness, health and overall wellbeing, explained that gratitude is a sense of feeling happy – which stems from appreciation. When we’re feeling more grateful, we’re likely to be in a better mood and to experience more positive emotions: Gilbert K. Chesterton once stated, “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”
Gratitude is a powerful force for many in recovery because it’s all about acknowledging the people, places, circumstances, thoughts, emotions, and otherwise series of events that have led us to where we’re at today. When we express gratitude, we send out positivity into the world – and rather than expecting to have received help from someone, or from assuming that we deserve everything that comes our way, we acknowledge all of the life forces that have come together to get us to where we’re currently at in life.
Taking Hold of Gratitude
Of course, it can be hard to feel grateful when things aren’t going our way. Last year, the Greater Good Science Center at U.C. Berkeley explained that genetics can even make it more challenging for some people to be grateful compared to others – and scientists are even saying that there may be differences in brain structure for those who are more prone to gratitude over others. However, if you have troubling looking on the “bright” side of things, you’re not doomed – in fact, we could consider gratitude a “muscle” that needs to be exercised and which can become stronger over time and with practice.
After working so diligently in recovery, many people report feeling more gratitude; it is through this journey of ups and downs, and overall hard work that can really help a person gain perspective on their life. A 2018 study published in the journal Psychotherapy Research assessed nearly 300 individuals who were attending university-based psychotherapy services. The researchers wanted to explore gratitude patterns, and this is what they found:
- After 4 weeks of participating in a writing intervention, participants reported feeling significantly more gratitude
- The more gratitude individual members felt, the less likely they were to experience health issues and negative emotions
Holistically, it’s safe to say that gratitude can have some major positive implications on a person’s life – and this can be achieved from reminding oneself of the good things that have come their way, along with engaging in meaningful activities such as meditation and yoga to stay grounded and achieve clarity.
How Gratitude Can Change Your Life
Forbes Magazine states that gratitude not only opens the door for more relationships, but it also improves physical health, such as with:
- Less aches and pains
- Lower blood pressure
- Strengthened immune system
- Better sleep
- Increased exercise
Individuals who practice gratitude are more likely to experience positive emotions, along with greater alertness and pleasure in life. From others’ point of view, gratitude certain comes across as a wonderful trait – and more compassion towards others means that forgiveness comes easier, and a person is likely to feel less lonely and isolated over time.
A 2017 study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment found that not only is gratitude a central component of recovery, but it’s also linked to future abstinence; as it turns out, focusing on what we do have rather than what we don’t can yield incredibly transformative results.
In many cases, gratitude can help us heal from the pain that’s held us back for so many years. Rather than tightly holding onto the people or circumstances that have done us wrong, we can focus on what’s lent to our growth overall – and this changes our entire outlook on life itself.
Begin Your Journey Today
There is no special occasion that needs to take place in order for gratitude to occur. Anytime, anywhere, we can focus on the ways that our lives have been blessed – and by doing so, we’ll find that we’re able to take greater strides towards recovery because our mind, body and spirit are more adequately prepared. Gratitude places us in a position to not only recognize how far we’ve come, but to recognize and thank the people who’ve helped us get to where we need to be.
If you’re ready to take steps towards holistic health, speak with a professional from Avalon Malibu today.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 844-857-5992 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you – it’s never too late to begin taking steps towards a happier, healthier life.