Everyone experiences positive and negative moments in life. For many with addiction, the negative moments can play a substantial role in the development of substance abuse. Navigating negative situations in recovery can be trying. A person may have previously turned to drugs and alcohol to try to escape a slump, but that is no longer an option. Developing new ways of coping with negative situations and emotions is critical to successful sobriety.
Stress is regularly encountered in everyday life. It can be a pitfall in recovery and interfere with a person’s success. It is important for those in recovery to develop the life skills to support a sober lifestyle, which may include developing new coping mechanisms to deal with stressors. While some of these coping mechanisms may be physical acts such as working out, playing music, making artwork, or writing, there are other exercises a person can engage in to encourage positive thinking and release negative feelings.
Increasing Positivity in Recovery
In recovery, it is important to not let negative thoughts weigh you down. It is often expressed in treatment that “this too shall pass” in order to help clients stay focused on the present. It is easy to dwell on negative experiences and focus on the wrong things, but positive thinking can help improve the outcome of treatment.
There are simple ways you can increase positive thinking and improve your outlook. Some skills are acquired through the recovery process naturally. Some ways to increase positivity are:
- Meditate: Mindful meditation is a commonly used practice both in and outside of treatment. It encourages individuals to make time in their day to focus on their breathing, relaxing, and energy. Regular practice can help a person stop thinking about the past and instead focus on the future.
- Take responsibility: In some cases, people may feel pinned down and paralyzed by addiction. Taking ownership of your life and recognizing that you alone can make the changes necessary to transform it is powerful. When you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.
- Surround yourself with positive people: This can happen naturally through the recovery process. As you begin to reevaluate the relationships in your life, new ones will begin to form. Make sure you are surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals who support you. By keeping positive company, you can empower one another to succeed and support each other through difficult times.
- Give back: Another way to increase positivity in your life is through volunteer work. Volunteer work can help you connect with others and feel good about the work you do. Becoming involved in causes you care about can improve self-confidence and self-worth while simultaneously improving someone else’s life.
- Take care of your health: Proper nutrition, adequate sleep, and exercise is all critical to a positive mindset. Engaging with these activities can boost mood and improve self-worth. Drugs and alcohol can often wreak havoc on the body, and these activities are easy ways to combat the damage it can inflict. If conventional exercise is not appealing, there are tons of other activities you can try including yoga and hiking.
- Explore new hobbies: Hobbies are a great way to explore your interests and improve your mood. Find what interests you and do not be afraid to try something new. Creative outlets such as painting, sewing, making music, or writing can be therapeutic and fun. Physical activities such as sports, horseback riding, and hiking can boost your mood. Find things you can lose yourself in and enjoy thoroughly.
- Be optimistic: There are a couple of ways to you can help yourself view things more positively. Identify when you begin thinking negatively about situations and actively move your thoughts in a positive direction. You can accomplish this through positive affirmations. Affirmations are phrases you can repeat to yourself to keep focused and stay motivated. Things like “I’m trying my best” or “I’m working hard at recovery” are simple phrases that can carry a lot of weight.
- Set goals: You can set goals to both challenge and motivate yourself. Whatever goal you set for yourself, make sure it is something you are interested in and want to work towards. Something that brings you joy is important. Working towards goals that bring you happiness allow you to get lost in activities and learn more about yourself.
- Talk things out: When feeling defeated or overwhelmed, be sure not to shut yourself off from the rest of the world. Sometimes it is helpful to talk things through with a loved one. Talking about issues can help you problem solve and handle difficult situations more effectively.
- Remind yourself of the good: There are always things that may seem like they are not going well or could be better. Focus on the things that bring you joy and what you are thankful for. Recovery can be a long and difficult journey and it is important to keep things in perspective. Some opt to keep a journal to remind themselves of the things that are most important to them. Journaling can be an effective way to make yourself think positively and not dwell on the negative aspects of life.
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