Negative thinking can be poisonous to the mental well being of even the healthiest of individuals. It can hold you back from achieving your full potential, diminish your self-worth, and reduce happiness. For individuals in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, negative thinking often precedes a relapse.
It is easy to get caught up in negative thinking and let it control your life. When you get into this mindset. It can be difficult to focus on the positive things in life. However, it is possible to consciously change your negative thoughts into positive thoughts. When you are able to do this, you are able to take control of your emotions and appropriately care for your mental state. Making a conscious decision to negate negative thinking can help you enhance your life and your emotional state while maintaining sobriety.
Perhaps you are beating yourself up for the mistakes you made in active addiction or are struggling to find a job and feel hopeless. Maybe you are telling yourself that you will never be in a place to pay off old financial debts. Or, you may be struggling with cravings and are telling yourself that you simply can’t stay sober. Whatever the case may be, there are ways out of these negative thought patterns. If you are struggling with negative thinking in recovery, here are some steps you can take to help you combat your negative thoughts and enhance your mental well-being.
IDENTIFY WARPED THINKING
The best way to identify distorted thinking is to take pen to paper and write your negative thoughts down. Writing can help you see things more clearly and put your thoughts into perspective. Once your thoughts are written down, you can read them back to yourself. This can be difficult, but it can help you gain perspective from an objective standpoint. Often times, practicing this can help you see where fear or insecurity is playing a role in your negative thinking.
LET GO OF SELF JUDGEMENT THROUGH MINDFUL MEDITATION
Comparing yourself to others or being too hard on yourself only breeds dissatisfaction. However, letting go of self-judgment can make you feel more at ease. One way to help let go of self-judgment is through mindful meditation. Mindful meditation is a form of holistic therapy that has several benefits in recovery such as promoting relaxation and helping individuals shift their focus. Through mindful meditation, you can learn how to observe your thoughts objectively and let go of them without judgment. There is always room for individual improvement – but this is no reason to be too hard on yourself or judge your shortcomings. Mindful meditation can help you release this self-judgment.
TALK TO YOUR SUPPORT GROUP
Negative thoughts are going to happen, after all, you are human. However, what is important is what you do with these negative thoughts. Talking to your trusted friends or mentors about your thoughts can help you see whether or not your thoughts are realistic.
Having a support group in recovery is essential. Not only can these people provide you with advice and a shoulder to lean on, but they can help you work through your negative thinking to help you turn it into a positive. When you talk about your feelings and fears with others, the weight it carries on your emotions is often lightened. In addition, your support group can help you sort through your emotions and put things into perspective.
MAKE A GRATITUDE LIST
Living in gratitude is an integral part of living a happy life. When you find yourself getting caught up in negative thinking, take time to write down a list of things you are grateful for. This can be a short, brief list, or a long, extensive one. Take some time to read these things out loud and really contemplate the blessings you have in life. Focusing on things that you are grateful for can help you realize that whatever you are going through really isn’t as bad as your thoughts are making it seem.
HELP SOMEONE ELSE
One thing that is essential in recovery is having the willingness to help others without expecting anything in return. By helping others, you will be able to let go of your thoughts and refocus your energy on doing service for others in need. Not only can this help you get away from negative thinking, but it can promote a sense of self-worth and give you a sense of purpose. You can sit down and talk with a newly sober addict or alcoholic, volunteer within your community, or simply call somebody who you know is struggling. Helping others doesn’t have to consist of grandiose gestures – even the smallest gesture of service can help you combat your negative thinking.
Author Bio – Cassidy is an avid writer who advocates spreading awareness on the disease of addiction. Her passion in life is to help others by sharing her experience, strength, and hope.