When we’re battling addiction, it can feel as though we’ve lost sight of what truly matters in our lives. We become focused on seeking out substances, thereby missing the opportunity to grow in our personal and spiritual journey to wellness; in this downfall, we may lose aspects of ourselves that once meant so much to us – such as our health, relationships, career path, hobbies and more. Before we know it, we may find ourselves battling unhealthy emotions like guilt, isolation, anger and resentment – and if we continue spiraling down this path, we may go on to experience even more hardship and destruction in our lives.
Recovery is incredibly difficult for this exact reason – with so much to overcome, we must push ourselves harder than ever before to find the light amidst the darkness. By adopting crucial positive emotions while healing – gratitude, acceptance and faith – we are much more likely to carry out recovery in beautiful ways we never thought were possible.
Why Perception is So Important
A few years ago, Forbes Magazine likened perception to a mathematical equation that becomes complex;
“This infinite mathematical equation continues throughout our lives and it is too awesome for the human mind to calculate. Exponentially it builds a calculation that is way beyond our capabilities to imagine. No wonder our perceptions are unique to only us.”
As human beings, it’s completely natural for us to focus more on what’s going wrong rather than what’s going right. If you’ve ever taken an inventory of how your day went before you went to bed, it’s suddenly easier to remember the small moments of disappointment or frustration rather than to recall the singing birds outside the window, the gentle rain that was so relaxing or the kind word that was said by a friend or loved one. Why is this?
The Huffington Post explains that used to be an effective mode for survival – if we were able to perceive problems, we were more likely to survive – but nowadays, it only perpetuates mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. So how can we combat this natural tendency to look at everything negatively?
Use These Tools
There are several small steps we can take each day to increase positive thoughts and emotions; we just have to make the time to do them:
- Relish in the moments that bring us joy – When something happens that makes us smile, we can tune into all of our senses to really enjoy the present moment. By basking in this beautiful instance, we’re appreciating the good that’s just come into our lives – which ultimately leaves us in a happier state of mind.
- Maintain a gratitude journal – It may sound silly but writing down the things we’re grateful for each day can help us remain satisfied in our daily lives. Sometimes we forget the small, precious moments that have added beauty to our day – and a gratitude journal will ensure that we don’t forget them.
- Take a break from the news – journalists often report gore and tragic events because that’s what draws attention; but for many people, the news only adds negativity. Take a break from watching the news, and instead fuel up with some positive things – such as uplifting music.
- Use critical thinking with your judgments – the next time you find yourself judging a situation negatively, utilize your critical thinking and assess – is that completely accurate? Could there have been another meaning that could be derived from the situation? By challenging yourself, you’re helping change those habits in the mind that perpetuate a state of pessimism.
Using 12-Step Programs to Foster Mental, Physical and Spiritual Wellness
There are many beautiful areas of recovery that also foster this type of growth. Mindfulness and meditation, for example, are evidence-based, holistic practices that teach individuals how to focus more on the present moment. In doing this, the chaotic thought processes that typically occur are gently guided to more positive, simplistic ways of being – and this is the start of a beautiful journey to recovery for many.
12-Step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), also encourage positive thinking by helping individuals work through what has previously held them back. No matter what we’ve gone through in the past, we can’t fully heal until we’ve worked diligently in recovery – and 12-Step programs provide a safe space for people to do this alongside others in similar situations. In fact, the following are what you can find amongst the 12-Steps:
- Soul Searching
- Making Contact
It is through these steps that many people find a more enriching life, with healthy connections to others and tools to help them navigate challenging situations. Rather than feeling lost and abandoned, those in recovery can share and learn from others in a setting that promotes healing and growth. Sponsors further support individuals by guiding them through some of life’s greatest challenges, and perceptions become shaped more towards a life of healing as time goes on.
Begin Your Journey Today
Even if it feels scary to take the leap forward, recovery is a positive change that can enhance a person’s life in ways they never thought imaginable. Don’t wait and allow those negative thoughts to take over your life any longer – make a pact to start the journey to increased happiness, gratitude and faith today by speaking with a professional from Cumberland Heights today.
Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of two 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers, and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first. For more information, call 1-800-646-9998 today.