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Growing Gratitude in the Garden of Your Mind

Written By: Harris House

Category: Blog, Recovery


You don’t have to pretend that negative things don’t exist. Just give proper attention and care to the good in your life.

Gratitude. It’s not something that happens overnight, especially for someone who has struggled with difficult life circumstances. But day by day, one decision at a time, it can grow like a rare and delicate flower. And like a flower, gratitude needs protection against assailants that would cause it to wither away.

In a garden, those assailants are easier to avoid. A weed here and a pest there can starve and destroy what’s beautiful, but a little attention keeps them at bay. In the garden of your mind, the foes are more cunning and determined. But through nurturing the good and plucking out the bad, envy and entitlement don’t have a chance to take root.

Gratitude Matters for Life and for Healing

Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny. – Mahatma Ghandi

Recovery is a healing process, both of the mind and the body. It’s as much psychological as biological, according to Dartmouth University. The relationship between mindset and physical health is quite complex. But when you focus on positive thoughts, your sense of well-being improves and symptoms of illness diminish. Perhaps that is because of the link between positive thoughts, brain chemistry, and endocrine function.

It’s possible to train yourself to be grateful, even if it doesn’t come naturally, according to Dartmouth. You don’t have to be grateful if you burn your lunch or stub your toe. But chances are you can find other things to be grateful for, such as a day without rain, good food to eat, or a bed that’s comfortable and warm. Each thought of gratitude is like sunshine and good soil in your garden where only good things can grow. In fact, you can even learn to be grateful for the rain.

Negativity Destroys Beauty

Do not allow negative thoughts to enter your mind for they are the weeds that strangle confidence. – Bruce Lee

Everyone has a bad day now and then. The important thing is overcoming it and forging ahead with gratitude. Bruce Lee, a martial arts legend, imagined negative thoughts as weeds that can kill what’s green and growing in the mind. Those negative thoughts might be about yourself, but often they’re about envying what you don’t have.

Envy is a fruitless emotion that serves no purpose other than to destroy. There’s no good in envy, because it wears down what’s healthy. Entitlement is often envy’s partner. Think of it as the rich soil where the weed of envy can grow. But if you’ve ever planted a real garden, you know that weeds and flowers can’t occupy the same space, at least not for long. One will overpower the other. Weeds are strong, but you can be stronger with practice and patience.

Growing gratitude

What begins as fragile can grow stronger with attention and care.

No One Can Do Gratefulness For You

We must cultivate our own garden. – Voltaire

You’ve got a support system. Maybe it’s your family, and maybe it’s the experienced and caring staff at Harris House. Maybe you have both. But rehabs, friends, and family can only do so much. You must tend the garden of your mind to keep it healthy and free from envy and entitlement.

Make it a practice and start small, recommends psychologist Dawn Huebner, PhD. Turn gratitude into something that you do not just every day, but also throughout the day. Seek out things to be grateful for, and you’ll soon learn that they’re easier to find. The more that you find, the fewer weeds you’ll have and the healthier your garden will grow.

Envy and entitlement don’t have a place in a healthy mind, and they won’t wither away on their own. It’s human nature to slip once in awhile, but you’re stronger than they are. It takes focus and determination to defeat negative thoughts, at least at first. But in time, finding gratitude becomes easier; it becomes a habit.

As Mahatma Ghandi said, your thoughts will ultimately become your destiny. As long as you pluck out what’s negative, the garden of your mind is destined to become a fruitful place where beautiful things grow.

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If you’re looking for a rehab in St. Louis, Harris House can help. Call us to learn about admissions and the personalized programs that we offer, and start a new journey toward a healthier life where beauty thrives.

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