The Benefits of Gratitude in Sobriety
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Science has proven a daily practice of gratitude is transformational, improving physical health and mental well-being. November is national gratitude month and the perfect time to explore, grow or start a gratitude practice.
For starters, what constitutes a gratitude practice and why is it so powerful?
To put it simply, a purposeful (some might say mindful) practice of gratitude trains our minds towards a default or baseline “attitude of gratitude.” Grateful thoughts breed grateful thoughts, improving our outlook and helping to reduce stress and depression, while also improving sleep and lowering blood pressure, just to name a few of the health benefits.
Other health benefits of gratitude include:
Maybe your job isn’t going well, or maybe other material parts of your life aren’t where you’d like them to be. Practicing gratitude retrains the mind to focus on what is good, instead of what is missing, stressful or disappointing. A good night’s sleep, a delicious meal or easy commute to work are all things that you can be grateful for. These small moments of gratitude are cumulative and over time can add up to a larger and more consistent feeling of contentment.
Stronger Immune System
Stress, anxiety, and depression can compromise our immune systems. Reducing those issues with a daily practice of gratitude helps keep us well. Addressing issues in mood also helps us sleep, and a good night’s sleep goes a long way toward avoiding illness.
Comparison is the thief of joy and another component of gratitude is changing your outlook from a self-centered one to one that is more focused on helping and connecting with other people. Small acts like asking someone how their day is going or showing up to help a friend move a couch — even holding the door for a stranger — can help create more connection and less comparison.
In the end, gratitude can take many forms, from taking the time to say thank you to important people in your life to simply reflecting on the positive, or just observing how far you’ve as an individual. Maybe you’ll start a gratitude journal or volunteer at a community event. Our next post will go over even more inspiration for how to practice gratitude.