November is a season of giving thanks. You can give thanks for the people in your life, the experiences you’ve had, and the progress you’ve made during your recovery. However, if you don’t take time out of your day to deliberately practice gratitude, it is easy to forget what you have to be thankful for.
Practicing gratitude can also help you manage some of the unhealthy thoughts that provoke your mental health symptoms. It can help with stress and anxiety reduction, improve mood, and have a positive impact on the relationships in your life. The intentional practice of gratitude will become easier the more you do it. The practice of gratitude can bring positive change in your perspective, life philosophy, and overall well-being.
Thankfulness vs. Gratitude
Thankfulness can be described as an emotion that usually is synonymous with happiness and contentment. You may experience thankfulness when you are rewarded for your hard work or are surprised by an act of kindness. Thankfulness can be experienced whenever you appreciate the things you love about your life. You can express thankfulness through acknowledgment of what you are thankful for. This acknowledgment can be verbal, written, or an act of kindness.
When you seek thankfulness in your life, you do so through the practice of gratitude. Practicing gratitude requires an awareness of the advantages you have in your life. They can take the form of your skills, support networks you can rely on, or the benefits of your physical environment. The practice of gratitude is often coupled with the practice of giving back. This could mean cooking a meal for a friend who has provided you with great emotional support. It might mean donating to a community that made you feel a sense of belonging or planting a tree in your yard to honor your appreciation of nature.
Feed Your Spirituality by Practicing Gratitude
Practicing gratitude can be a spiritual experience. For instance, seeking gratitude by expressing thankfulness towards a god-like figure combines the practice of spirituality with the practice of gratitude. Spirituality can also be found in prayer and meditation, which allow your mind to wander, giving you the opportunity to focus on thoughts of gratitude. You can further strengthen your concentration on thoughts of gratitude through guided gratitude meditation or gratitude prayers.
Taking time out of your day to experience thankfulness can bring you closer to your spirituality by strengthening your connection with a god-like figure, nature, or the universe. It can help you feel safe and secure like a spiritual being is looking out for you. This spiritual being has given you all these beautiful things you are thankful for; because of this, you can trust that they will be there to hold your hand when you fall.
Practice Gratitude to Soothe Mental Health Symptoms
Feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression can be soothed with the practice of gratitude. Practicing gratitude will make you aware of your cognitions and, in doing so, make it easier to dispel toxic thoughts. This may be especially helpful if you feel your life is spinning out of control and experiencing a sense of impending doom. In addition, practicing gratitude will make you realize the tools and resources you have in your life that you can use to manage these thoughts and navigate difficult situations.
Practicing Gratitude and Mindfulness
Gratitude and mindfulness go hand-in-hand. Mindfulness is the practice of being present, which allows you to detach yourself from anxieties about the future or depressed feelings from your past. It requires you to separate yourself from the stress of everyday life, put down your phone and look up from your computer screen. Once your head is cleared from daily distractions, it will be easier to recount everything you have to be grateful for. It will open up and free your mind so you can experience thankfulness. Mindfulness, like gratitude, is something you should practice every day. The more you do it, the better control you’ll gain over your thoughts, the more present you’ll feel, and the more thankfulness you’ll experience.
Practicing Gratitude by Giving Back
However, gratitude doesn’t have to be practiced only through meditation. You can use gratitude to foster connections among your loved ones and in your community by giving thanks to those who have helped you in the past. Giving back is one of the best forms of expressing gratitude besides saying a mere “thank you.” It sends the positivity once given to you back into the world. Acts of service are generally the most rewarding way to give back to a person or community, but monetary gifts and the gift of giving someone your time can also serve as an expression of thankfulness.
Practicing gratitude can invite positivity and perspective into your life and help you manage your mental health symptoms by forcing you to investigate your toxic thoughts. Restoration Recovery Center can help you live a life of gratitude by providing modalities such as yoga and meditation, allowing you to explore your thoughts objectively and may help you discover what you are thankful for. In addition, we believe that community and family are essential for recovery, which is why we don’t cut you off from the outside world during your treatment by fostering a technology-friendly environment. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use, please call (888) 290-0925 to learn how we can help you achieve long-term sobriety.