Many of us have developed thought patterns that repeatedly flood us with the thoughts we most associate with fear and sadness. It can feel like we’re drowning in our emotional pain. One way to transform these vicious mental cycles is to consciously choose to focus on gratitude.
Oftentimes when we are suffering, we have come to believe that there is nothing to be grateful for. This is a belief we can change. We can choose to believe that there are things to be grateful for all around us and within us. Developing a gratitude practice allows us to approach our addiction, depression and other mental health issues holistically. Rather than targeting our symptoms separately, gratitude transforms us from within and touches every aspect of our lives.
In this moment, what can you find to be grateful for? Maybe the sun is shining. Maybe you just saw birds flying by or clouds floating by. Did you have enough to eat today? Do you have clean drinking water? Do you have functioning eyesight to see beauty in the world around you? Maybe you can hear music and allow it to lift your mood. Maybe you have a friend who checks on you to see how you’re doing. Maybe you have support in the form of family, a therapist or community group.
We are blessed even when we are struggling, even when it’s hard to recognize. A gratitude practice helps us to focus our energy on our blessings rather than on our pain. What we focus our attention on we allow to expand, so the more we focus on our blessings, the more we allow them to grow in our minds and hearts, and the more powerful, healing and transformative we allow them to be.
When you wake up in the morning and/or before going to sleep, try listing things you are grateful for. You can develop this into a journaling practice. You can add to your gratitude list throughout the day. Gratitude can be part of your meditation practice, where you meditate on what you’re grateful for and on the feelings of peace and calm that gratitude can bring. You can return to your gratitude practice any time you feel panic or anxiety coming on.
The more we repeat these new thought patterns of gratitude, the more we can reprogram our minds to look for things to be grateful for. Gratitude can help us to tap into our joy, to lift our spirits, and to heal and transform from within.
The Riverside community is here to support you in your recovery. Call (800) 871-5440.