Hello everyone! I hope you're enjoying the start to your new year, wherever you're reading this from. If you ever feel the need to reach out to me for any reason, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Having been in addiction recovery for quite a while now, I've heard the word "gratitude" tossed around almost as much as I've heard the word "tattoo" tossed around.
The feeling we get when we are truly grateful for something that's going on in our lives, whether it's a simple prayer thanking the universe for our sobriety today, or the feeling of happiness and thankfulness we feel when we get a job that we really want, it's a really nice place to be.
Some important benefits of gratitude, according to tonyrobbins.com are:
Higher Self Esteem
More Drive To Give Back
These are not things that I would have ever associated with being grateful when I came into addiction recovery. In fact, other than that nice feeling, I wouldn't have thought that there was much more to it.
I'd like to take this a step further and talk about the importance of feeling gratitude for our PAST, PRESENT and FUTURE.
I am grateful for my past.
Each of us has a choice when it comes to remembering our past. We can see our past as something that happened TO us, or we can see everything in the rearview mirror as something that happened FOR us.
The past only exists in my memory, so the emotions of the past are actually driven by my present self. I remember the past how I choose to remember the past - I have complete power over the way I interpret it.
What if we created a rule that we give ourselves permission to reframe all events of our past into events that happened FOR us, instead of TO us?
As people in addiction recovery, I think the most important lesson we can take from our past is this: We fought a battle that not too many people have to fight. We were up against an opponent that wanted to see us dead, and no matter what our addiction threw at us, we beat it. Even if you don't have the long term sobriety that you're looking for yet, you have made it far enough to read this today.
You're a fighter, a survivor, make no mistake about it.
That teaches us a really important lesson: Since we can win that fight, there really is nothing we can't accomplish.
I am grateful to my past because it's proved to me that I am resilient.
I am grateful for my present.
It's super easy to have gratitude in the present if we have everything we want in life! Now, since pretty much nobody has everything they want in life, there are ways to "cultivate" gratitude. I STOLE these suggestions from Ryan Fehr from the UW Foster School of Business:
Put your gratitude on paper
Have a gratitude conversation with a friend or family member and share what you're most grateful for
Tell someone you appreciate them
Pay it forward
Commit to do one of the above per week and see how it changes you attitude
I am grateful for my present because having gratitude makes me a more likeable person and more useful to others
I am grateful for my future
This has to be my favorite! How can I be grateful for something that hasn't happened yet? Well, actually it's pretty easy and it's actually a life hack that people don't use nearly enough.
For literally hundreds of years, successful people in history have been using "visualization" to make their dreams a reality.
These people have realized the power of having a clear vision of their successful self and visualizing it until it becomes a reality.
Taking that one step further, when we spend a few minutes in prayer or meditation every day visualizing our ideal future and thanking God or the Universe or whatever force made that future your reality, we are taking a huge step forward in achieving it.
Pretend that it has already happened.
Here's a quote from Dr. Amy Palmer, neuropsychologist:
"Simply put, the brain has the same activity when it visualizes doing an action as it does when it is physically performing the action"
"By using visualization daily, your brain will more readily allow any opportunities to meet your goals into your conscious awareness. Here’s how: the RAS is a bundle of neurons that have several functions, including being a gatekeeper that decides what information is brought into your conscious awareness."
Yes, she is saying that we can actually fool our brains into thinking we are actually experiencing in real life what we are visualizing and by doing that, we train our brains to be on the lookout for things that are going to bring us closer to our goals.
We can actually change our brains by doing this daily exercise.
I am grateful for my future because it keeps me moving forward! Action creates motivation and motivation creates more action
So there you have it! Some food for thought on what the media is telling me is BLUE MONDAY - the day of the year that I'm supposed to be most depressed for some reason.
I hope you use these amazing techniques along with your program of recovery to take your life to a level of happiness and success that you have only dreamed of!
Nationally Certified Recovery Coach