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Habits and Self-Talk Can Improve With Practice

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines a habit as “[S]omething that you so often and regularly, sometimes without knowing that you are doing it.” A habit is doing something enough times that it becomes second nature.

How you regulate your self-talk and outlook on life can be profoundly helpful to your long-term recovery. Your attitude and how you look at the world are connected to your success and overall health. Making a habit of positive self-talk can reduce your stress levels and increase your resilience.

Training Yourself to Practice Positive Self-Talk

When you train yourself to see the glass half full, you gradually can train yourself to develop positive thinking skills, which results in you responding to situations rather than reacting. Negative thinking doesn’t work well for anyone; our subconscious brain can’t process negative thinking. The subconscious makes most decisions for you, but you are not aware of that.

Your conscious brain is what processes negative words, and therefore, it is possible to train yourself to focus on the positive and look at situations in a different way. Since your subconscious makes a lot of your decisions, it is possible to undermine yourself in recovery by the way you consciously think about things.

Changing your thinking and communication habits can make recovery go in a much more positive direction. When you allow your subconscious to do its job well by using positively framed words, everything changes. Changing your thinking long-term can change your life and your overall health. Creating positive communication and thinking is one way to prepare yourself for long-term recovery success.

Positive Thinking and Self-Talk

Being positive and thinking in a positive way doesn’t mean that life is always perfect. It doesn’t mean that you ignore negative situations and events; it means that you approach them in a productive way designed to make negative situations as positive as possible. What you tell yourself is where positivity starts. Everyone has unspoken thoughts; those automatic thoughts can change how you look at life. If you train yourself to see life with gratitude and resilience, eventually, it automatically colors how you respond.

Health Benefits of Positive Thoughts

When you train yourself to think positively and identify and remove negative thoughts, you may improve your health in several ways:

  • Less stress and distress
  • Pain relief
  • Less depression
  • Improved immunity
  • Lower blood pressure and a healthier heart
  • Better coping skills

Turn Negative Into Positive Thinking

It is possible to train yourself to think positively. Positive self-talk just takes practice and developing better habits. Optimism can be learned by:

  • Noticing what types of events cause you to react negatively
  • Paying attention to your response and actively change your thinking; instead of thinking, “I can’t do that because I have never done it before,” actively change your thought to “This is a learning opportunity”
  • Remembering to reevaluate your thoughts throughout your day and actively notice your mind’s response before deciding on your actions
  • Learning to identify and develop your sense of humor
  • Surrounding yourself with like-minded peers who support your recovery and positive outlook
  • Not saying things to yourself that you would never say to someone else
  • Focusing on what’s going right
  • Being thankful

Practice Gratitude

Develop an attitude of gratitude. End every day by writing down one positive event that happened that day and one thing you are grateful for. By doing that, you fall asleep in a positive place, and positivity will get easier and easier. As you strive for long-term recovery, practicing gratitude is one way to recommit to your recovery every day.

Small Changes Can Grow

If you start by taking one positive action every day, positivity and gratitude grow on their own, and your response to life changes. Eventually, the words you say to yourself will not be critical and will cause you to accept yourself. You will not simply react but respond with an action plan.

Activities That Foster Positivity

If you want to encourage gratitude and positivity in your life, the following activities may help:

  • Volunteer in your community; when you focus on helping others, your mind drifts to happier thoughts
  • Be active in recovery meetings; when you lift up someone else who is struggling, it lifts you up, too
  • Spend time in nature; when you are outdoors and active, you feel balanced and well
  • Create a healthy lifestyle with good sleep habits and plenty of exercise
  • Meditate to keep your mind calm

What Is a Negative Thought?

It is important to identify what a negative thought is before you can actively work on changing them. Examples of negative thinking are:

  • Blame
  • Anticipating the worst without knowing all the facts
  • Making things into something bigger than they are
  • Black and white thinking
  • All-or-nothing thinking
  • Thinking in terms of “always” and “never”

Don’t forget to look at your environment. Creating new habits requires that your environment continues to change as necessary. Your environment is not just about where you live or spend your time. Your environment also is the people around you and your self-talk. If your environment is rich in positivity, it supports your positive thinking.

When you are in recovery, it is essential to develop new ways of looking at life along the way. Making habits that improve your thinking and actions are critical to sobriety. It is not a sprint; it is a long-distance run. Remember that everyone can continue to grow and learn. Responding rather than reacting gives you more control; while you cannot always control what happens, you can control your response and make it a positive one for you. Even though growth can feel uncomfortable at times, it is important to be courageous rather than become complacent. At The Guest House, we understand that long-term sobriety requires continued commitment and support. Our alumni program is here to help and support you in your recovery journey. For more information on our treatment and alumni program and how we can help support your recovery, call us today at (855) 483-7800.