What’s involved in kicking an addiction? You may imagine going cold turkey, attending therapy and support groups, taking up new hobbies, etc. However, there’s something missing from this list. More and more research suggests the importance of cultivating gratitude for long-term healing. So how can a grateful mindset help?
What’s Behind the Neuroscience of Gratitude?
Dr. Michael McCollough and Dr. Robert Emmonds conducted a study on the effects of gratitude on well-being. They divided their participants into three groups:
- The first group was simply asked to write in a journal every day. They could write anything they wanted.
- The second group was told to record unpleasant experiences.
- The third group was asked to write a daily list of things they were grateful for.
That third group experienced some striking improvements in their emotional state, mental health, and overall lifestyle. So what were the benefits of deliberately cultivating a sense of gratitude? The study’s participants reported:
- greater alertness
- more energy
- increased determination
- boosted enthusiasm
- a general sense of optimism
- less depression
- reduced stress
This fed into many healthy life changes including:
- regularly exercising
- helping others and building new relationships
- progressing toward their personal goals
Other research suggests that gratitude can also:
- increase creativity and mental flexibility
- improve your ability to recover from setbacks and adversity
- boost your immune system
How Does Gratitude Work?
The theory is that people naturally have a happiness set point. This works similarly to weight set points. If you haven’t heard of that, the idea is that there’s a certain weight that comes naturally to your body. Your body will return to that point.
Your emotions and psychological state may work in the same way. Practicing gratitude could adjust your happiness set-point higher. You’ll naturally feel happier no matter what happens during the day.
Four Methods of Cultivating Gratitude
People may respond best to different methods, so drug and alcohol treatment centers tend to offer a toolbox of options. If you’re interested in cultivating gratitude in your life, here are a few techniques to try:
- Keep a journal. Every day, list out three to ten things that you’re grateful for. You can do it first thing or before bed.
- Write a letter. Choose a person who has changed your life for the better. Write a letter thanking them for everything they’ve done.
- Take up a gratitude challenge. Try to go for a set period of time, for example, three weeks, without complaining or criticizing.
- Create a gratitude keepsake. This could involve a bracelet, keychain, or other accessories. Add charms that remind you of what you’re grateful for, such as a heart for your loved ones.
The Best Drug Treatment Ogden Offers
Sobriety isn’t just about beating your addiction. It’s about cultivating a rich and rewarding life. A key part of this process is learning to appreciate life’s small joys and victories.
At the Renaissance Ranch Ogden rehabilitation center, our experienced staff are here to help you regain balance in your life. Contact us today or fill our online form to get started. We’re looking forward to working with you.