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Alcohol and Mental Health

10 Benefits of a Daily Gratitude Practice

July 28, 2023
11 min read
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Written by
Reframe Content Team
A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
July 28, 2023
11 min read
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Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
July 28, 2023
11 min read
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Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
July 28, 2023
11 min read
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Reframe Content Team
July 28, 2023
11 min read

Think about the last time you stumbled upon an unexpected surprise, such as finding a forgotten $20 bill in the pocket of an old jacket or hearing an out-of-the-blue compliment from a colleague. Remember that instant glow, that burst of happiness you felt? That's gratitude! And it turns out that this humble emotion can be a game-changer, particularly when we are navigating the tricky path of alcohol reduction or total abstinence.

The decision to cut back on alcohol or let go of it completely is enormously challenging. During such demanding times, the seemingly simple act of cultivating daily gratitude can come to our rescue. What are the benefits of gratitude? And why is gratitude important during our alcohol journeys? By focusing on the abundance of good in our lives and being grateful we can shift away from the feelings of deprivation or loss that might be tied to changing our drinking habits.

How can we express gratitude more and reap the benefits of gratitude in our own lives? Here are ten science-backed benefits that make a daily gratitude practice an investment worth making.

1. Amplifies Psychological Well-Being

The power of gratitude lies in its ability to fend off our toxic emotions. From resentment and regret to frustration and envy, being grateful helps keep these at bay. Studies show that those who practice gratitude regularly experience enhanced happiness and a significant decrease in depression. When we train ourselves to focus on what's going well in life, we increase our body’s happiness hormones (such as serotonin and dopamine) and reduce the stress-inducing ones, such as cortisol.

2. Bolsters Physical Health

Gratitude isn't just good for the mind, but it's also beneficial for the body. The evidence proves that people who expressed gratitude report fewer aches and pains and generally felt healthier than those who didn't. This underscores the power of the mind-body connection: our thoughts and feelings can greatly influence our physical health, and vice versa.

3. Instills Resilience

Gratitude can also help us navigate traumatic experiences. A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We know that stress resilience is a fundamental component in living a healthy, happy life, and gratitude can help us get there, even when we face inevitable challenges and hardship.

4. Improves Sleep Quality

Scientific evidence has also suggested that writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep. By spending just 15 minutes before bed jotting down a few things that we're grateful for, we might find ourselves sleeping more soundly and for longer periods. This is because we intentionally shift our mindset away from worries and onto the positives, reducing our stress levels and promoting relaxation.

10 Benefits of a Daily Gratitude Practice

5. Boosts Self-Esteem

A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that athletes who expressed gratitude had increased self-esteem, which is vital for optimal performance. This positive impact on self-esteem can extend to other areas of life, helping us navigate various challenges, including reducing alcohol consumption.

6. Strengthens Mental Fortitude

Evidence over the years has demonstrated that gratitude is a key ingredient in reducing stress and developing mental strength. It plays a crucial role in helping us withstand and manage uncomfortable situations, such as criticism or toxic behavior. Practicing gratitude actually bolsters our ability to act appropriately in such situations and make decisions that support our overall well-being.

7. Enhances Relationship Quality

Expressing gratitude doesn't just foster new friendships; it also enriches existing relationships. Studies have indicated that regularly expressing our thanks could help people make new friends and maintain a healthy relationship with existing ones. We humans need to feel loved and appreciated, and meeting this need for others can go a long way in supporting our social connections.

8. Fosters Empathy and Deters Aggression

Grateful people are more likely to act kindly, even when others aren't so nice. Research has proven that gratitude reduces aggression and fosters empathy. This is important, since not everyone we encounter will be understanding or well-mannered. When gratitude has given us the emotional intelligence to cope with such situations, we can navigate these interactions with more ease and less reactivity.

9. Augments Mental Clarity and Focus

When we reflect on what we're grateful for, we are effectively decluttering our minds. This process can lead to increased focus and mental clarity, helping us make better decisions and handle thorny situations more effectively. It can also help us perform better at work and show up more fully in our relationships.

10. Enhances Positivity and Happiness

At its core, expressing gratitude makes us happier and more positive. This positivity can be especially beneficial when we're trying to moderate or quit alcohol, as it helps us stay focused on our goals and makes the process less daunting. When we focus on all that we gain, we realize how much is going right — and this shifts us away from the million things we feel we’re lacking.

Embracing the Benefits of Gratitude: A How-To Guide

So, how can we tap into this amazing resource and bring gratitude benefits into our daily lives? Here are a few actionable steps to kickstart a daily gratitude practice:

  • Maintain a gratitude journal: Dedicate a few moments each day to jot down things you're grateful for. These can be anything from small everyday occurrences to big life events.

  • Be mindful: Cultivate an awareness of the good things in life. Take a moment to appreciate the beauty of a sunset or a stranger's kind gesture.

  • Express gratitude to others: Verbalize your appreciation to the people around you. A simple “thank you” can go a long way in boosting your mood and enhancing your relationships.

  • Utilize apps to stay accountable: Technology can be a great ally in building habits. Numerous apps are available to make cultivating daily gratitude easier and fun — ours is one of them!

  • Meditate with gratitude: Incorporate gratitude into your mindfulness meditation practice. This can help instill a deeper sense of appreciation for life's blessings.

  • Reframe unpleasant experiences: Gratitude can also help us shift our focus from the negatives within a situation to the positives. Over time, we can get less fixated on what’s going wrong and train ourselves to acknowledge what’s going well. 

Embracing the Power of Gratitude

A regular daily routine of gratitude yields a multitude of benefits, helping us navigate life’s ups and downs — including the challenge of modifying our relationship with alcohol. This straightforward but powerful technique, when maintained consistently, can lead to significant changes in our perspective and life experiences. So, why hesitate? Start your gratitude practice today and experience its far-reaching rewards!

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Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually, with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

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At Reframe, we do science, not stigma. We base our articles on the latest peer-reviewed research in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral science. We follow the Reframe Content Creation Guidelines, to ensure that we share accurate and actionable information with our readers. This aids them in making informed decisions on their wellness journey.
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