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Many of us living with addictions, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues develop certain thought patterns that can contribute to our challenges and exacerbate them over time. We form these thought patterns by continually, habitually choosing to focus our attention on certain thoughts. When we are in the midst of our cycles of addiction and depression, our thought patterns tend to be highly negative. They might be pessimistic and focused on worst-case scenarios. They might be filled with limiting beliefs about ourselves. How can we use gratitude to develop new thought patterns that will ease our pain and help us to recover?

Any time we can direct our focus towards gratitude, we are intentionally giving our difficult emotions less power over us. Over time this intentional refocusing of our energy helps us to create new thought patterns. We start to look for the good in everything we see instead of constantly focusing on the negative. Our minds start to default to what we can find to appreciate in our lives, in ourselves, and in the world around us. We begin to see things in more hopeful, optimistic ways.

Let’s take a common thought pattern many of us experience and use gratitude to shift it to more positive ones.

“My life is so depressing.”

In this statement we are focused on how depressed we feel, how all-encompassing our pain can be, how it can take over us and make us feel like our entire life is our pain. Within this one sentence, believe it or not, we can find many things to be grateful for. For one, we’re still alive, which means we still have the chance to recover. We can reflect gratitude, even when we’re in emotional pain, by saying things like “I am grateful for the gift of life. I am grateful to be alive. I am grateful I still have a chance to get better.” From this statement, we can also see that we have the ability to feel our emotions, which is a gift in and of itself. When we learn how to handle our emotions, we can work with them in order to heal. “I am grateful that I can feel. I am grateful I have the ability to feel my emotions, which reflect the vast beauty of life. I am grateful for everything my emotions can teach me about myself and about life. I am grateful for every opportunity to heal and be happy.”

As we repeat these new thought patterns of gratitude and infuse them with our intention, attention and energy, the more they will replace the old ones that have been bringing us down and causing us so much distress. Gratitude helps us to open our hearts to find the blessings in everything, including our most difficult pain.

You don’t have to recover alone. We’re here to help. Call (800) 871-5440.