| Basic Beginning: Transforming to Attitude of Gratitude
| Feeling gratitude and basic goodness are vital to successful addiction recovery. When individuals experience and focus on resentment and rage – addiction recovery is not possible. Gratitude is the opposite of resentment. Feeling gratitude also has health and psychological benefits.
But how do we go about developing gratitude in the midst of overwhelming daily noise and daily living situations?
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough” — Melodie Beatty
Attitude of Gratitude – Often Challenging in the Beginning
For many individuals – gratitude is a difficult concept to grasp. And when individuals are told, “You should feel grateful!” – that’s actually a form of subtle psychological violence. Gratitude has to come from the heart – it cannot be forced into being.
With multiple stress situations in our modern living, it is often challenging to think of anything for which to be grateful. Should we be grateful for traffic jams, long work weeks, social media overload, difficult relatives? In other words: the bustle daily life?
STOP. Breathe In.
Focus on the wind on your face and the smell of falling leaves.
For a few moments – focus on become a human BEING rather than a human DOING.
That’s it! That is the beginning.
Gratitude needs free space from constant busyness in order to be noticed – and felt.
Start small. A good beginning might be simply appreciating sunshine, clouds or even the smell of rain.
Build on small successes.
Continue expanding the warm feeling of connection with something larger than oneself.
Now, you can begin to feel grateful – from the heart.
“Wherever you turn, you can find someone who needs you. Even if it is a little thing, do something for which there is no pay but the privilege of doing it. Remember, you don’t live in a world all of your own.” Albert Schweitzer
Gratitude arises from appreciating the positive aspects of life
A 2010 study by the NIH, Gratitude and Well-being, found that gratitude is strongly related to well-being, however defined.
The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In Praise of Gratitude, Harvard Health
The effect of a grateful outlook on psychological and physical well-being was examined. Results strongly suggest that a conscious focus on positive elements in our lives – and a resulting feeling of gratitude – has beneficial emotional and interpersonal impact.
Dr. Emmons says that gratitude has two key components.
Gratitude is an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received.
We recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves. We acknowledge that other people (or a higher power, from a spiritual mindset) gave us many gifts, big and small. These gifts help us achieve the goodness in our lives.
Emmons and other researchers see an inter-personal dimension as being especially important to gratitude. “I see it as a relationship-strengthening emotion,“ writes Emmons, “because it requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people.”
Mindfulness – The Key to Unlocking Heart-felt Gratitude
Gratitude is about feeling and expressing appreciation: for all we’ve received, all that we have (however little it may be), and for all that has not befallen us. It functions as an antidote for attachment to what we want but don’t have – and aversion to what we have but don’t want. Gratitude is the opposite of being discontented. Dan Mager NSW, Psychology Today
Mindfulness creates the emotional space – and pause – that is necessary to begin to feel gratitude. At Arrowhead Lodge Recovery, Mindfulness is an integral part of our addiction recovery program.
In a Harvard study, results revealed structural change to brains from the group that meditated. These changes included increased density of the hippocampus. The hippocampus is associated with memory, feelings and self awareness. Some patients scans also revealed a decrease in the density of the amygdala*. This change was observed in patients who said they experienced stress relief.
Antidote to Anxiety: Mindfulness
Being in the NOW = Personal Inner Strength. We often fantasize about “what’s next?” Or, we project our thoughts on a destination, or future outcome of a situation – constantly anticipating the future while oblivious to the present.
Anxiety and the future are inexorably linked. It is a troubled mindset that obsesses on “what-if?” worst-case scenarios that usually do not materialize in actual experience. The slang term for this condition is “future tripping.”
By bringing the mind back to the present moment and being aware of this very moment at the level of body, mind and soul, we gain a sense of being “okay” at that point in time and space. And to the degree that we can accept the current situation for what it is – rather than an expectation of what it could be or should be – serenity is attained through that degree of acceptance.
We use a multi-disciplinary addiction treatment approach implemented by licensed professionals. The Arrowhead Lodge Recovery Staff includes a Physician-Addictionologist, Addiction Psychiatrist, Doctor of Clinical Psychology, Registered Nurse, several Licensed Therapists, and an addiction Nutritionist.
Start your journey to Addiction Recovery by contacting Arrowhead Lodge Recovery. Our men’s addiction recovery center is located in the pristine mountains above Prescott, AZ.
Your confidentiality is assured when you contact us.
You are invited to speak personally and privately with Executive Director Dr. Kenneth Chance at (888) 654-2800.
* Amygdala: Shown to play a key role in the processing of emotions, the amygdala forms part of the limbic system. In humans and other animals, this subcortical brain structure is linked to both fear responses and pleasure. Its size is positively correlated with aggressive behavior across species. Conditions such as anxiety, autism, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and phobias are suspected of being linked to abnormal functioning of the amygdala, owing to damage, developmental problems, or neurotransmitter imbalance.