Positivity is one of the most powerful tools in addiction recovery.
Have you ever heard the expression, “When you look good, you feel good”? Or perhaps, “When you feel good, you do good”? It seems to be that when you experience one form of positivity in your life, it’s easier for good things to grow upon it. Positivity creates a domino effect: positive thinking can help improve people’s mental and even physical well-being. While positivity can’t necessarily cure every one of life’s problems, it certainly can improve them.
The power of positivity has far reaches when it comes to building a new life in addiction recovery. Long-term focus on happiness helps people to live life to it’s fullest, sober, and in recovery from drugs and alcohol.
Positivity has its perks.
Feelings of anger and sorrow are a part of life, but they don’t have to be all of life. Positive thinking has plenty of pluses:
- Positivity has been shown to boost the immune system, meaning their body fights off infections more effectively – and they’re able to stay healthier longer
- Positivity has been shown to reduce levels of stress and inflammation in the body.
- People with positivity generally have a lot more energy to do the things they want to in life.
- Positive people are more likely to achieve their goals.
- Positive people typically handle problems and stress better.
- Positive people tend to attract positive people and relationships.
- Positivity can help you live a longer life.
Each of these factors are important in recovery because:
- Positivity reduces the risk of relapse back to drug or alcohol addiction.
- Positivity allows people to find happiness in their sobriety.
- Positive people are drawn to positive people – helping to build a strong recovery support network.
- Positivity allows the inevitable bumps along the road to recovery to be less stressful and painful
- Positive thinking allows individuals who have suffered from addiction to see the real cause of their suffering
Living a happy and positive life often takes a conscious effort. Below are our five best tips for living happily.
Seek the Positive Points in Negative Situations.
We get it, it’s easier said than done. And sometimes, you may need to give yourself a few moments to process thoughts and feelings when something goes wrong. But, once you’ve collected your feelings, looking for an optimistic viewpoint when things look like a bad situation can truly give you a better vantage point. Ask yourself:
- What is positive about this situation?
- Is there an opportunity in this situation?
Instead of getting down about yourself and expecting things to get worse, ask yourself how things can get better. Doing this can allow you to grow, rather than spiral into emotional turmoil.
Cultivate Positive Relationships
Studies show that people who tend to view themselves as very happy typically have close relationships with other people. Quality relationships are more important than quantity: it doesn’t matter how many friends you have – rather that you prioritize connecting with those you care about, establish meaningful relationships and spending time with those people. Invest in those you care about, and they will invest in you. Positive relationships, intimacy and commitment will all in turn lead to a happier, more positive life for you.
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Slow It Down
Have you ever noticed that when you are stressed or unhappy, you try to rush things, run around, and often have to retrace your steps? When you’re stressed and rushed, you tend to water things down – conversations are shorter and drier, your work is lacking, you forget things when running errands – all because you are pushing just to get them done.
Slow things down. Rather, slow it all down. Talking, eating, driving, showering, recovering.
There is no streamer finish line on the road to alcohol addiction recovery; no first-place podium for recovering from Oxycontin addiction; no balloons and medal for “finishing” recovery from heroin. Slow it down. Realize that your progress away from addiction, again, is quality over quantity.
Adding value and positivity to your own life often comes from adding value and positivity to someone else’s life. Maybe not everyone, and may not every single time. However, sending out positivity to others truly matters; the way you treat others is often what you’ll get back.
- Help Out: give back to your community by volunteering at a local event or charity, give a friend a hand moving; rake the leaves for an elderly neighbor
- Listen: Not everyone wants a helping hand – sometimes all he or she needs is an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on. Be there for a friend or family member when he or she needs to vent. They’ll be appreciative for it.
- Spread Joy: Smile, give a hug, encourage those around you. Sometimes the simplest gestures go the longest way.
Whether it be through your recovery community, or in other ways, making volunteer and service work a priority is essential to growing in your health, happiness, and recovery.
Let You Be You
Hydrocodone, alcohol, heroin, cocaine – whatever was once your drug of choice – was also your mask. Even without drugs and alcohol, many people wear masks out of fear of judgement. Pretending to be someone you’re not can eat away at you – significantly decreasing your positivity and happiness.
Accept yourself for who you are – and be you. If you’ve been wearing a mask for a long time, you may not even know who that person is anymore. Take the time to find out who you are and allow yourself to love yourself.
The way that you think will impact the way you experience the world – and it will impact your recovery from addiction. Taking positive action to generate positivity will help get you there.