A positive outlook can often mean the difference between recovery success and relapse. A positive outlook reduces stress and enables the person struggling to feel that he or she has value and is defined by more than just addiction. But keeping a positive outlook can be a struggle, especially when a person in recovery is faced with relapse triggers. Finding and keeping a healthy emotional balance is the key. Using the coping strategies learned in rehab at those moments when stress and temptation are at their worst can help.
Learning to recognize and eliminate negative self talk is an important part of developing a positive outlook on life. According to the Mayo Clinic, optimism and pessimism can affect many areas of your health. Optimism can increase your overall sense of well-being, and pessimism can actually weaken your immune system, leading to decreased health and vitality.
One of the first signs of a pessimistic frame of mind in someone who struggles with addiction is the presence of negative self-talk. Negative self talk begins as thoughts about how you think others perceive you. This turns quickly to thoughts of your weaknesses and the shame you feel in not being able to control your actions. Negative self-talk changes to self-loathing as you begin to feel you are not worthy of saving; that no matter how hard you try you are always going to have the same struggles. It is true that most people have at least one issue they struggle with throughout life. The difference is the frame of mind with which one approaches those struggles.
Not only does a positive outlook on life reduce stress, it also provides many health benefits. The Mayo clinic suggests the following health benefits of positive thinking based on current medical research:
A positive outlook also makes you better able to cope with everyday stress. Many times, for those struggling with addiction, it’s the day-to-day challenges that can derail recovery. Learning to look at life through a positive lens rather than a negative one helps bring balance and focus to daily challenges and keeps life’s stressors in the proper perspective.
Positive thinking in recovery can also change your expectations. Expecting success rather than failure can actually fuel your ability to produce positive change in your life. For those struggling with addiction, expecting the best outcome from your treatment, ongoing support group and your therapy can actually increase your ability to prevent relapse. If you expect failure before entering a challenging situation, you are more likely to see that result than if you expect success.
The power of expectation is also important when it comes to how you see challenges in your life. If your attitude is primarily positive, you are a person who sees challenges as opportunities for change. A person who is predominantly negative sees challenges as road blocks to happiness. A positive person is more likely to look at a situation and find a path to success in spite of hardship, while a negative person is more likely to see the difficulties ahead and give up.
Changing your attitude is a vital part of changing your life. As a person who struggles with addiction or as the family member of an addicted loved one, you have the power to change your thoughts from negative to positive. With the help of treatment and other support systems, developing a positive attitude can empower you to make and keep your life-long commitment to staying clean and sober. The following tips, taken from Inc.com, can help you along the way:
If you or a loved one struggles with drug or alcohol addiction, we are here for you. Call our toll-free helpline 24 hours a day to speak to an admissions coordinator about available treatment options.