Positive thinking is the practice of focusing on the good things in life, rather than dwelling on the negative. It’s easier said than done, but you have absolutely nothing to lose by thinking positively. The more you do it, the easier and more natural it becomes. This can be incredibly helpful, as you stay motivated and focus your energy on your recovery goals.
Addiction is a difficult journey, with many ups and downs. Over time, the goal is to have more good days than bad days, which will happen as you move further away from active addiction and into your new life. But how can you get through those tough days in one piece? While there are many tools for early recovery, one of the most powerful comes from within – positive thinking.
Positive thinking can also help you manage stress and anxiety, common relapse triggers. And, it can help you build more resilience and develop a more positive self-image. Let’s explore in more detail the power of positive thinking in addiction recovery, and how to change your mindset for the better.
What is Positive Thinking?
Positive thinking is the practice of focusing on the good in any given situation. So, when you face something unpleasant, you approach it more positively and productively. This type of thinking can greatly impact your mental and physical health.
Of course, being upbeat doesn’t mean you ignore life’s challenges or pretend everything is okay. Toxic positivity is a real thing and can be damaging to your recovery. Healthy positivity means looking at the positives and knowing that things will turn out okay.
What are the Benefits of Positive Thinking?
Positive thinking has many benefits, which have been proven through research. Researchers aren’t sure what comes first – the positive mindset or the benefits – but there is no harm in staying upbeat.
The physical benefits of positive thinking include:
- Longer lifespan
- Improved physical health
- Reduced risk of heart attack
- Lowered blood pressure
- Better pain tolerance
- Better stress management
- Greater resistance to getting sick
The mental benefits of positive thinking include:
- Better mood
- Clearer thinking
- Improved coping skills
- Reduced risk for depression
- Better problem solving
- More creativity
What if You’re Naturally Pessimistic?
If you are naturally pessimistic, you can still develop a positive mindset. You can learn this skill, not a personality trait set in stone. Like recovery, you have to keep an open mind and be willing to put in the work. Some tips for doing so are:
Identify negative thoughts
Pay attention to the negative thoughts in your head, such as predicting disaster or taking the blame. Then, shift your thinking to be more positive. Negative thinkers often assume the worst.
Smile more often
Even fake smiles are effective at changing your mood. But to be genuine, think about the things that make you laugh and smile, such as your favorite movie or best friends.
Reframe the situation
When something happens that’s out of your control, appreciate the good parts of the situation. Sometimes, the most aggravating situations are the best stories to tell!
Keep a gratitude journal
Take time each day or week to write in a gratitude journal. This forces you to pay attention to the good things in your life. People who keep gratitude journals are more positive, thankful, and optimistic.
Focus on your strengths
We all have strengths. Focus on yours and how you can use them to make a difference in the world. Helping others with your strengths can boost happiness and lower depression.
Positive thinking is within reach!
Who would have thought positive thinking could have such an impact on your recovery? By focusing on positive thoughts and attitudes, you can improve your mental and physical health, boost your self-esteem, and increase your overall sense of happiness and well-being. Are you ready to give it a try?