gratitude list

Benefits of Writing a Gratitude List

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

The best free therapy one can find is a pen and some notebook paper. It may be hard for some to get into, but scribbling down thoughts onto paper is an extremely beneficial thing for those of us who have wandered over to the sobriety side of the road. Really, it’s a good hobby for anybody to pick up because it gives us an opportunity to reflect on our thoughts, emotions, and expressions of any sort. For many, there are things we want to say and are just not able to articulate them correctly or even process them as a dialect. It’s often found that writing out the things circling our minds is the most productive way to communicate with ourselves even. Now this doesn’t mean we have to stop conversing with ourselves- I talk to myself on a regular basis.  However, this side of things can give a different approach.

Emotion can run so many different aspects of our lives whether we like it to or not. Emotion can take a hold of our rational thought patterns and make us look like we belong in a mental asylum of sorts. Once feelings get involved, it can cloud so many different perspectives of our lives. We start seeing things through an emotion dipped lens and it doesn’t matter if happiness or anger is the culprit. Often times, mountains are forged from the little molehills we encounter and things begin to build up in our watch towers. Putting these to paper can be one of the healthiest tools available to maintain sanity and gratitude.

In a lot of circumstances all it takes is for a few unfortunate things to pile up and our mindsets begin to shift in another direction. The saying goes, “when it rains it pours”. For myself, all it would take is a little drizzle and I would be preparing for floods and wonder if drowning in the chaos was the better solution. A pessimistic thought process would start to accompany the bad hand I was dealt and then all the good in life would slowly go sloshing down the drain. An immediate aura of ungratefulness would take a hold and that’s when the thought process would take place. You know the thought process- the one that we all lived in for years in our active addiction and alcoholism. We all know relapse starts in the mind before the physical act of doing so. So the point is to prevent that negative mindset at all costs.

What to Do

Dripping some ink out of a pen can be one of the most therapeutic and inexpensive utensils we have easy access to. Writing a gratitude list can really open the eyes of the author and allows them to truly see some of the things physically in front of them. It doesn’t matter if you consider yourself to be extremely intelligent or uneducated; we all need some form or expression. Then you couple that expression with a little bit of introspection and voila- you have a way to continuously keep yourself in check. Journaling in any form is always a positive way to handle things. When we as individuals write about hardships and our daily struggles, it allows us to put things into perspective that would ordinarily be difficult to do mentally. Keeping a mental list of our struggles can be confusing and heavy. It will really weigh you down after some period of time. Writing out a gratitude list and the things we are grateful for can really allow some huge growth and change in a person.

we are grateful

The fact of the matter is that we live in a hard knock life where things are unfair and we don’t necessarily get all the things we desire. I’m not referring to just material possessions either, but included can be health, peace of mind, and pure circumstance to work out in our favor. However, it may be how one looks at the situation, the world we live in today, many would say it’s easier to keep a negative frame of mind. Just remember, though, that for every single coin that is flipped, there is also another unseen side to it. Maintaining a gratitude list on paper or even if it was just in the mind, is a healthy way to see the opposite perspective on everything life throws our way. Studies over time have shown that individuals who have looked back on the excellent things in their life were more prone to being grateful. Those who’ve gone back and reflected once a week onto paper were more positive and motivated about their future and current situation. Sometimes writing out our character defects or our list of gratefuls can depict a much clearer picture for us to diagnose.

Writing down this list of things we are grateful for not only clears up some of the static in our already overcrowded minds, but it can also be extremely profitable for our physical, emotional, and spiritual health as well. We know by this point that writing out the things we are thankful for is hale and hearty mentally. Doing such an exercise can improve mood functioning, stress factors, and emotional well-being linked to depression or anxiety even. What hasn’t been specified yet is how improving some of these factors can correlate and direct some physical ones as well. Recognizing the things we are appreciative of can in turn lower blood pressure and even improve lung and liver functioning as well. Overall, this is an effective tool that can change the dynamic of our love and appreciation as we know it.

Need something to be Grateful For?

Sometimes it’s difficult to step away and get to a point where we can recognize how much we have to be grateful for in this life. Much of the time when in active addiction and alcoholism, we feel so clouded and can have a hard time reflecting on the good aspects. Sometimes we need somebody to point out these things and teach us the way. If you or a loved one is struggling with chemical dependency and are ready for help, please call 1-844-489-0836 or visit We are ready to give you any suggestions possible and set you or your loved one on a path that we can all be proud of.

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