Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks for all our blessings. It is also a time to pause and reflect on the goodness in our lives, especially in a year that has brought challenges to us all.

For people in recovery, cultivating a mindset of gratitude is essential. Gratitude isn’t simply a feeling, it’s a practice. Taking time out of each day to acknowledge all that we have elevates mood, improves health and wellbeing, and allows us to view the world with a perspective of thankfulness.

A daily gratitude practice has a positive effect on our self-esteem, resiliency, compassion, and self-respect all essential components in recovery and our core beliefs at Herren Wellness.

Gratitude in Early Recovery

Many people in early recovery are working through the damage done by substance use and the resulting feelings of guilt, remorse, and shame. Gratitude is the antidote to the difficult emotions that can arise in this process and allows us to maintain a perspective of hope.

Gratitude doesn’t only help heal our minds, but our bodies as well. Practicing gratitude helps to:

  • Increase energy
  • Reduce symptoms of depression
  • Build the immune system
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improve sleep
  • Reduce stress

Learning to embrace gratitude helps us appreciate others and look outward to all the wonderful people and things around us, rather than focusing inward which can lead to feelings of negativity and despair.

Building a Gratitude Practice

At Herren Wellness, guests learn tools and techniques that nurture gratitude. In early recovery, our bodies and minds are healing from the damage done emotionally and mentally. Establishing a mindset of gratitude is a key element to practicing self-care and allowing ourselves to heal.

How do you build a gratitude practice? Here are some useful tips:

Start your day being grateful. How we begin each morning has a profound effect on our outlook for the rest of the day. Instead of rushing out of bed with a mind cluttered with all the things you need to accomplish that day, pause for a few minutes and think of all you are grateful for. When things are tough and the bigger picture feels overwhelming, start small. Be grateful for a roof over your head, a warm soft bed, or for another day and a fresh start

Keep a gratitude journal. Set aside a time each day to write down five things you are grateful for. The end of the day, right before you go to bed, is a good time to do this. Push aside the worries and details of the day and focus on your blessing instead.

Do something for others. A great way to bring gratitude into your life is to do things for others. This gets you out of your own head and allows you to focus on helping people who are less fortunate than you. Volunteer for a cause you care about, do a kind thing for someone in need, or compliment a stranger.

Practice mindfulness. One of the greatest gifts of recovery is the ability to be present in your life. Cultivate awareness and mindfulness by paying attention to what is going on inside you and around you. Notice the little things. Listen to your body. Slow down the hectic pace of life and appreciate small joys. Living in the present, instead of being preoccupied about the past or the future allows you to notice the little things you are grateful for.

Practicing Gratitude on Thanksgiving

On Thanksgiving, practice gratitude with those around you by sharing an engaging in activities with your family or recovery community.

Here are a few ideas:

Pass a gratitude basket: Provide everyone with little slips of paper and ask them to anonymously write a few things they are grateful for. While you are sitting around the table, pass the basket around and have everyone read one out loud.

Gratitude Show and Tell: Ask everyone to bring along something that reflects what they are thankful for that year. Then each person, in turn, can share it with the group and tell their story.

Express gratitude for each other:  Go around the table and invite each person to say why they’re thankful for the person sitting next to them.

Make a Thankful Tree: Write down what you are grateful and thankful for on each leaf and pin it on the tree while sharing what you wrote and why.

We are grateful for all our guests, their family members, and our team members. Together as a community, we help individuals and families recover.

About Herren Wellness

When you come to Herren Wellness, you are immediately connected with a thriving community of people at all stages of their recovery journey. We introduce healthy habits and routines centered around emotional, physical, and spiritual wellness that provide a solid foundation for rediscovering your interests, experiencing joy in sobriety, and building structure and routine.

We provide several alumni support communities, including a weekly recovery support group, monthly alumni meeting, and online alumni community you can access anytime.

Your connection to Herren Wellness doesn’t end when your stay ends; we are there for you throughout your recovery journey. If you, or a loved one, is looking for help, please call us at (844) 443-7736, email us at, or fill out a contact form. You are not alone.