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Recovery blog

Gratitude Changes Everything

By: Rachel Tenny, MA, LPCA, Alumni Coordinator

Posted on November 19, 2018

You may have been asked to think about what you are grateful for and what you are thankful for a lot lately! Before you use #blessed and #thankful on your social media posts this week, let's take some time to understand the benefits of experiencing and expressing gratitude and small changes you can implement to create more gratitude in your life.

It is true that if we want to find the negative in something, we will. One of my favorite quotes is "Every day may not be good, but there is good in every day". When we shift our focus to the good in every day, we see our lives through a lens that is more hopeful. Gratitude is not about turning a blind eye to things that are difficult and challenging, but instead, experiencing them and making a conscious decision to find something good in a situation.

The movement of positive psychology has shown that individuals who experience and express greater; feel more connected, have relationships that are stronger, and improved health. Those are all areas of your life that may have been impacted negatively by your eating disorder. Through continued practice of identifying things that are positive and even neutral, you can begin to reprogram your mind to find alternatives that are less negative.

Ways to cultivate gratitude in your life:

1) Notice small things daily that amaze or surprise you, write them down. You may have heard of a gratitude journal (or even have one yourself!) and they are great, but not for everyone. If you are not a pen and paper kind of person, create a note on your phone. Try to add at least one thing per day.

2) Take a day (or week if you're feeling ambitious) without criticizing yourself. Each time you find yourself wanting to criticize something you said or the way you look, create an opposite statement and say it out loud.

3) Reduce your negative talk towards others and share your appreciation for someone else daily. When you don't feel good about yourself, it can be easy to be highly critical of things you notice others doing. Take time to thank you friends, family, co-workers, and peers for something they do for you and notice how it impacts them. Gratitude and appreciation can be contagious!

4) When you find yourself in a difficult situation continue to ask: what can I learn? What is there to be grateful for? This may happen after the situation, but it always helpful to come back to a time when you are challenged and look for ways you have grown because of it.

5) Find a way to give back to an organization or community that matters for you, whether it is giving time, money, or resources. One of the best ways to experience gratitude is to be a part of something bigger than yourself.

If you use any of these tips, feel free to send me an email or leave a comment and let us know what impact gratitude has on your life and recovery!

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