The Science Behind Counting Your Blessings in Recovery

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The Science Behind Counting Your Blessings in Recovery

Sometimes in recovery, it may not seem like you have a lot to be grateful for. However, sitting down and counting your blessings may surprise you and change your attitude to one of gratitude. There is increasing research about the power that living a life of gratitude can have on your recovery.

Making Time for Counting Your Blessings

There is no better time than now to sit down and count your blessings. Taking stock of what you have instead of focusing on what you do not can feel strange if you have never done it before. In recovery, however, taking the time to notice and be grateful for the blessings in your life can help you to heal and maintain your recovery.

Counting your blessings may not come easily or naturally to everyone. Regardless, making a conscious effort to sit down and look at your life and acknowledge the gifts that you have, whether temporal or spiritual, can be a difference-maker in your recovery process. Being willing to change your focus from the negative things in your life to all of the best parts of your life demonstrates your commitment to yourself and your recovery.

How Gratitude Can Change Your Perspective

The value of seeing the glass half full vs. seeing the glass half empty has been discussed extensively. People gravitate toward someone who is positive and optimistic because those are qualities that make others feel good to be around. Living with gratitude has that same effect on you. Not only will others enjoy your company, but you will enjoy your own company more as well. Your overall perspective changes when you count your blessings and focus on the good things in your life.

Even in the general population, studies have shown that gratitude has positive effects not only on improving perspective but also on improving overall mental wellness and physical health. Participants in one 2019 study on gratitude demonstrated greater happiness and satisfaction with their lives. The participants also experienced more positive emotions and interactions with others, as well as the ability to manage negative emotions better and avoid symptoms of depression. Counting your blessings can not only change your perspective but can also impact your overall wellness.

Transformations Coming From Counting Your Blessings 

As you continue your treatment process, counting your blessings can help with your transformation. For example, in a 2015 study, participants who were in outpatient treatment for alcohol use disorder were asked to take part in a gratitude-oriented web-based exercise known as “Three Good Things.” Participants noted increased feelings of calm as well as an improved ability to manage negative emotions and symptoms. Expressing gratitude in the form of counting just three blessings in their lives each day had the ability to improve resilience and coping during treatment.

Being grateful for the things you have can improve your ability to manage your emotions. By managing your emotions better, you have more control over your overall ability to make decisions and maintain abstinence from substances. Restoring your sense of control after active addiction can be a very welcome transformation.

Why Counting Your Blessings Can Prevent Relapse

Once you have completed treatment and are in recovery, preventing a relapse becomes a high priority. Counting your blessings can help you do just that, as gratitude can help manage your emotions. According to a study published in 2017, individuals who practiced gratitude and were successful in their recovery had greater future success with abstinence than others. Additionally, remaining abstinent led to an increase in gratitude, creating a situation that helped to prevent future relapses.

Living in gratitude is one step that you can take every day to help decrease your chances of a relapse. By being grateful, you can improve your chances of maintaining your sobriety. That success becomes yet another blessing that you can add to your list of blessings to count.

The Power of Gratitude in Your Recovery

Beginning a new year is a great opportunity to reflect on how grateful you are for what you have. Rather than focusing on what is not going well in your life or what you do not have, try counting your blessings. In doing so, you invite the power of gratitude into your life and your recovery.

Allowing gratitude to change your perspective and improve your ability to cope with emotions will give you more control over your decision-making processes. Whether you are managing a craving or facing a trigger, the protection that gratitude provides by allowing you more control over your emotions will help you prevent relapses and maintain your recovery. You can feel more positive emotions and prevent negative emotions and symptoms of depression. Simply taking the time to count your blessings each day will give you this power in your recovery.