Do you ever feel that, even with tobacco treatment medications and a quit plan, it can be a daily battle to maintain a positive attitude about stopping smoking? One challenge is that just about everything seems to change when a smoker stops smoking. From the physical withdrawal symptoms to the mental and emotional stressors, we can have “bad days” that make it difficult to stay optimistic about giving up cigarettes.
So how does a person prepare for these kinds of days?
One concept that has been prominent in recovery communities for many years and is gaining more traction in the field of health and wellness is the idea of gratitude. Gratitude is considered an attitude or expression of thankfulness and appreciation for what one has. Simply, gratitude is about focusing on the positives in our lives instead of dwelling on the negatives. Researchers are finding that an attitude of gratitude not only increases happiness and well-being, but can lessen feelings of stress, anger, and depression.
If you think you could benefit from a positive boost in your recovery, here are five exercises you can use to incorporate gratitude into your life.
1. Keep a gratitude list – Each night try jotting down several things you are grateful for in your life. They can be as simple as having a good book to read or being able to breathe fresh, clean air.
2. Help others who are struggling – Being of service to others can help us appreciate what we have in our lives and can provide us with a different perspective on our own challenges.
3. Keep an attitude of gratitude– Compare these two statements: “I can’t smoke today.“ & “I don’t have to smoke.” How we choose to think about a situation can determine how we feel and act. Think positive!
4. Develop a mantra - Many people in recovery recite the Serenity Prayer to appreciate what they can control and accept what they cannot. Consider memorizing a favorite phrase or prayer that brings peace and positivity into your life.
5. Find symbols that represent gratitude– Whether it’s writing down inspirational quotes, creating a gratitude board on Pinterest, or keeping a picture of your loved ones at work, surround yourself with the things that motivate you.