Gratitude in 2020: Finding the Good in Difficult Times

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“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie

Although 2020 has been full of extraordinary challenges, in between the difficult times, we can still find the good by recognizing the big and small moments that fill us with gratitude and joy. 

While the recovery community has known the power of gratitude for a long time, practicing gratitude is an increasingly popular focus area for scientific research. Study after study has revealed a myriad of benefits for emotional and physical health built by regularly exercising the gratitude “muscle.”

And, in times like these when the anxieties and fears of everyday life are exacerbated by the combined forces of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic stress and political turmoil, it is more important than ever to strengthen and flex that gratitude muscle.

When we build an “attitude of gratitude,” the benefits occur almost immediately with significant impact on your recovery success and overall well-being. Gratitude strengthens your recovery, ushering in joy, peace and selflessness that will empower your journey and positively impact, even inspire, your loved ones.

Develop a personalized gratitude routine and give yourself relief from the negativity with these best practices:

Daily Affirmations

Start your day in gratitude. Reserve five minutes each morning to offer appreciation while you enjoy a cup of coffee, head out for an early run or even after you hit the snooze button (the first time). Keep it simple or more profound, but make sure to start each morning in thankfulness and set the tone for the day.

Appreciate the Little Things

Be grateful for the little things that make life great. Be grateful for the simple beauty of a clear blue sky, the grace of a flock of birds, the majesty of a starry night – things that went long unnoticed and unappreciated before recovery.

Love in Action

Gratitude involves more than self-reflection; it should be practiced as love in action. In recovery, the brain begins to heal and as it heals, with practice, selfishness and other damaging attitudes begin to fade away. Replacing selfishness with gratitude can be revealed through intentional service to others by volunteering, charitable giving and even supporting others in recovery.

Show Appreciation

Throughout each day, be mindful of your interactions and observations of others. Be mindful of sharing your gratitude for others as they cross your path or as you observe good deeds on behalf of strangers. Be generous in sharing and showing your appreciation for their actions and efforts as you go about your day.

Write It Out

Gratitude journals are a popular resource for cultivating mindfulness. Keeping a gratitude journal is a simple activity that can further deepen and exercise your attitude of appreciation. At the end of the day, simply write down a list of what you are grateful for in that moment. Some days your entries may be brief, other days may encourage an intense, lengthy entry. If you are having trouble, experts recommend asking the following questions: “Who or what inspired me today?” “What made me smile today?” “What’s the best thing that happened today?” No writing skills required – the practice itself is enough to work on your gratitude “muscle.”

Even in a challenging world, you can be grateful for a fresh start, for possibilities and opportunities. Be grateful for your recovery.

If you or someone you know may have a problem with alcohol or other drugs, the addiction experts at Valley Hope can provide a free level of care screening to determine if you require clinical treatment. Because addiction remains a public health crisis in America, Valley Hope provides an essential public health service and continues to welcome new patients at each of our 19 treatment centers with medical detox services, residential treatment, online outpatient treatment and virtual recovery support programs.

We know that the dangers of addiction dramatically increase in the face of heightened anxiety, stress and isolation. That’s why our team of treatment experts stand ready to provide help and healing for substance abuse in a safe, compassionate environment.

For immediate help 24/7, call our Patient Access Center at (800) 544-5101.

With extensive precautions in place, Valley Hope is continuously working with public health officials, staff, communities and partners to ensure safety and remain open to new patients. Learn more:

Help 24/7: (800) 544-5101

Impact of COVID-19 on People with SUD

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