An attitude of gratitude is often talked about in recovery circles, but what is that? “Attitude” is a word that gets tossed around a lot. We say people have a bad attitude or a good one. when we’re angry, people saying we’re giving them attitude. When someone’s in a bad mood we say they need an attitude adjustment… What exactly is attitude anyway? It’s hard to define, but we all seem to have a grasp of it and understand it when we hear it. Let’s explore it a little since it seems so important in recovery.
What’s a Bad Attitude?
When we say some has a bad attitude it usually implies that that person is difficult to deal with in some fashion. Perhaps they are unmotivated, uncooperative, very negative or even angry. Somehow we feel at odds with a person who has a bad attitude. They simply aren’t on board or are on a very different page. It’s hard to feel close to someone with a bad attitude. Communication is difficult or maybe even shut down. It’s also hard to feel connected or to want connection with someone we thingk has a bad attitude.
So why would all of this be a problem in our recovery? First of all, others with such attitudes would not offer much support to our goals at all. They are disengaged and have a negative take on things. If we are the people with a bad attitude, it warns us that we are disengaging from others, shutting down connections and communication, stewing in negativity–all warning signs of possible relapse ahead.
What’s an Attitude of Gratitude?
An attitude of gratitude is probably the opposite mindset to all a bad attitude is. Gratitude is opening–it connects you to the world and generates expansiveness. It prompts you to look at the positives and to savor them. It increases your happiness and your creativity. You can be ‘in the solution’ rather than ‘in the problem’ of a bad attitude. Some believe that an attitude of gratitude is healing even at a physical level, increasing one’s energy level, stamina and immunity. Gratitude is also contagious just like negativity is. If you generate gratitude, chances are the people around you will reap the benefits of it, too. Consequently, an attitude of gratitude increases not only your level of well-being and health, but that of your social group and support system.