Thankfulness: 6th Day of Christmas

Happy Christmas!  We hope you are doing well this holiday season.  To set a festive mood, here’s a crackling fire below.  I think there’s something relaxing about staring into the flames of a warm fire.  But the loud cracking on this clip interrupts my peace.  I’ll keep the sound turned down on this one:

Here’s our 12 days of Christmas Recovery:

On the 6th day of Christmas, I chose to give myself…

Thankfulness!

Experts in mental health, the human brain, and psychology have all found that an ‘attitude of gratitude’ can help our wellbeing.   Finding something to be thankful for and expressing it can even help overcome serious trauma.  But the study mentioned here shows that it takes time, so don’t give up too soon.

What we think affects how we feel, and that in turn can make a big difference to our actions (not least of which can be misusing alcohol, drugs, or other addictive behaviours).  Of course it’s not that simple, but stopping what we are doing, and sometimes stopping the negative cycle of thoughts can make a real difference to our ability to avoid addictive behaviours.

Could practicing gratitude strengthen the decision making part of our brain?

“people who are generally more grateful … showed greater neural sensitivity in the medial prefrontal cortex, a brain area associated with learning and decision making” (emphasis mine)”

If so, this is very helpful to overcoming addictive urges and finding a way to say ‘no’ to having one too many drinks with our mates, a romantic entanglement that we know we’ll regret, or even just the next holiday treat that seems too good to resist.  A free tool we can pick up and use for ourself here is the practice of writing a gratitude letter.

“gratitude seems to help repair the psychological damage inflicted by disaster.”

6th day of christmas

 

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