Many of us know about the benefits of having a daily gratitude practice. Gratitude can be especially important for the newly sober or anyone trying to live without the influence of substances. In the early days of sobriety, people can be overwhelmed by many feelings: irritability, anger, loneliness, fear and boredom to name a few. Part of what contributes to these feelings is our negativity bias, built into the human species so that we can track any situation for threat or danger. When this tracking system is in overdrive, we fail to see the beauty and gifts in everyday life. A gratitude practice moves our thinking into the frontal lobe of our brain where we can operate from clarity, calmness and rationality. This takes practice and patience.
While there are many ways you can practice gratitude, one method that has proven to be very effective is finding three things throughout your day for which you are grateful. Searching for these things, as you move through the day, pushes your brain out of survival mode. At the end of the day, you are encouraged to list the three items and a sentence or two about why you are grateful for these specific things. Having to write a descriptive sentence pushes our thinking even further into gratitude mode. For example, your list at the end of one day might look like this:
Today I am grateful for:
- Sunny and warmer temperatures. This allowed me to get my outside jobs done, comfortably.
- The light traffic on my commute. I was able to pick up a coffee before work.
- The fall colours. They remind me that life is always changing.
You could try this practice for 2-3 weeks and see what happens to your thinking. It’s one way that could move your glass from being half empty to half full.
Margaret is a Certified Professional Life Coach, Certified Professional Recovery Coach and a Certified She Recovers Coach. She holds a B.A in Psychology, a Masters Degree in Education and has worked in the field of Education for over 30 years.