Gratitude: The Cure-All for Wellbeing
How Gratitude Can Be The One-Size-Fits-All Solution to Peace Of Mind
Around the clock peace of mind seems like an impossible task. The Idealism of lofty gurus and monks is that they have devoted their lives to meditation and spiritual matters, shuttered in monasteries and temples high on distant mountain tops. Lots of ways exist to bring a sense of ease and comfort in our lives. We don’t all have to put on robes and sit for hours on end. A powerful tool that can be adopted and applied by everyone is simple: Gratitude.
Perception = Reality
Lets start first with what gratitude solves. Gratitude is way of perceiving our worlds. When we change our perception, we change our reality. And this perception is a choice. We can choose to see the world a threatening place. A place where we must hoard our resources, trust no one, feel victimized by the things in life we believe are unfair. If this negative perception is our view, we will feel isolated, anxious, and depressed. These perceptions and feelings sound a lot like our lives before recovery!
Let’s take a real-world example. Most of us experience traffic. Imagine heading to work and an unforeseen car accident has blocked the road. With nowhere to go, you are stuck and must simply wait it out. This hiccup will make you late for work. This is can be a frustrating experience, if we choose to let it. We can choose to be upset, cursing those drivers for inconveniencing everyone and making ME late; they were probably staring at their phones – can’t they just pay attention!?” We’ve all been frustrated by traffic, but let’s look at changing our perception.
Can You Really Be Grateful for Everything?
Let’s look at the same situation through the lens of gratitude. It can actually be a simple exercise. I am grateful that I have a job to go to. I am grateful that I have a car to get me to work. I am grateful I have a phone so I can call work and let them know I’m stuck in traffic. I am grateful that I have this phone, this car and this job at all! Lots of people in the world would have immense gratitude for the things we complain about. This attitude could even lead to compassion and empathy: I hope those people are OK. Add the layer of recovery and it takes on a whole new meaning. I’m grateful to be sober, so that I can show up for my job. I’m grateful that I am sober, so I can pay my phone bill and my car payment.
Recovery Brings Gratitude to Everything
Phones, cars, jobs – these may seem like simple things to be grateful for, but that way of thinking is for those who do not understand the brains of individuals with substance use disorder. Those of us in recovery have every right to be grateful for everything – large and small. Every breath we take is a miracle. When we have a particularly challenging day, we can take a breath and be grateful for the challenges that come our way in recovery and our ability to face them clean and sober. We may have made mistakes or acted poorly, but we are sober and have the opportunity to make amends and do better tomorrow. Having another tomorrow is the most wonderful thing we have to be grateful for.