When you’re recovering from an addiction, the little things mean a lot. You’re rebuilding your life. You’re learning new skills. You’re reestablishing relationships with friends and family. You’re dealing with emotions without drugs or alcohol. Some days will be easier than others, but it’s essential that you keep a focused mind and a positive attitude as much as possible.
Here are eight quick and easy mood boosters that will lift your spirits and remind you of why you’re doing what you are.
1. Focus on the benefits of a clean and sober life.
Sometimes, you just have to take a deep breath and believe that everything will turn out okay. In a recent Santa Clara University in California study, 60 subjects exercised for a single session. Those who were told about the benefits of exercise before they worked outperformed better than the other group that was not told about the benefits. What does this mean for you? Think about the rewards of staying clean and sober to help cope with the stress and anxiety that creeps up.
2. Go outside and let the sunshine on your face.
Numerous studies have found a link between exposure to sunlight and a more positive mood, and sunlight early in the day seems to have an even greater effect. Going for a walk in the morning is one of the best things you can do since it gets you outdoors in the fresh air and provides the mood-boosting effects of sunlight and exercise. There will be days where you’re stuck inside, but try to open the windows and let in some natural light.
3. Force a smile.
Have you ever heard of the ‘smiling makes you happier’ theory? Experts agree that even forcing a fake smile can make you happier. One hypothesis claims that when you smile, there are certain effects in the brain that take place that are associated with happiness. So, when you’re feeling down, force a smile. Not to mention, smiling sets off positive vibes and makes others more comfortable around you.
4. Look at old photo albums.
After an addiction, you will never look at life in the same way. But, it’s important to remember who you are deep down and not what the addiction created you to be. Looking at old photos can put you in happy places and strengthen the emotional bond you have with friends and family members. Research conducted by a British psychologist showed that people who looked through personal photo albums had an 11 percent improvement in their mood compared to their counterparts who watched TV and ate chocolate.
5. Count your blessings.
Don’t just look at the obvious blessings in your life. Look deeper than that. Can you get out of bed in the mornings? Are you capable of walking and seeing? Do you have a safe, warm place to sleep at night? When you begin to look at life this way, you’ll have even more blessings to count. Researchers continually find that a grateful attitude leads to positive emotions, optimism, and satisfaction.
6. Don’t fly solo.
It’s important to spend time by yourself because you’ll need to decompress. But, forcing yourself to be with others is also critical. Addiction often makes people very isolated. You probably lost touch with your friends and family, and you may not know how to be with them in a social way anymore. The only way to learn, then, is through practice. Take part in social activities, or plan to go to places where other people are. This is the best way to learn to laugh and love again.
7. Pocket positive thoughts.
In early recovery, you’ll probably have many moments where you feel scared or overwhelmed. A simple trick that can help with this is by writing down good thoughts and keeping them tucked away in your pocket or purse. When you need a reminder of something happy and positive, you can pull out the piece of paper. Also, knowing that you have these thoughts tucked away may influence your thinking more.
8. Plan a getaway.
Recovering addicts are sometimes so scared of relapse, they fear that anything out of the ordinary could push them to their limits. But, this isn’t exactly true. As you grow in your recovery, you will need to try new things and move outside your comfort zone. If you do it in the right way – with positive intentions, good people supporting you and an exit strategy – you can take part in new things without much temptation. This summer, think about planning a getaway that can lift your mood and renew your spirits.