“Not all of us can do great things, but we can all do small things with great love,” said Mother Teresa, a well-known missionary dedicated to love and service.

It’s often the small acts of kindness that can make the biggest difference in someone’s day, or even impact their entire life. For some reason, it’s these small acts of kindness we often dismiss the most without realizing how powerful they are, for ourselves and the people around us. 

Kindness and gratitude have been shown to have considerable influence over the state of both our physical and our mental health. 

When you’re in recovery, practicing kindness is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal for fostering and maintaining a positive outlook on your life, just as gratitude is. These habits help keep you hopeful and forward-focused and provide a myriad of benefits for your mental and physical health.

In this article, we’re going to break down why practicing kindness and gratitude in recovery is so important, as well as the benefits of kindness and gratitude on your mental health.

Why these habits matter

Practicing gratitude and kindness is one of the most powerful ways to positively influence our mental health. The state of our mental health matters because it not only impacts every area of our lives but is one of the most influential (if not the most influential) factors in our lives.

Poor mental health has been linked to a variety of short- and long-term health issues, such as insomnia, weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Individuals often turn to self-sabotaging behaviors (such as self-harming or addiction) in an attempt to cope with the state of their mental health and at worst, develop suicidal tendencies.

The state of our mental health matters.

One of the best ways to take care of your mental health is to treat people with kindness (yourself included) and practice gratitude on a daily basis.

Consistently practicing gratitude and kindness has been linked to countless benefits.

Benefits of kindness

Words of kindness and acts of kindness are exhibitions of compassion, consideration, respect, and tenderness towards yourself and others. 

Some of the top benefits of practicing kindness are:

  • Strengthened heart and mental health
  • Boosted immune and gut health
  • Reduced anxiety and depression
  • Increased natural production of “happy hormones”
  • Builds and repairs relationships

Kindness plays a key role in sustainably improving our mood, well-being, self-esteem and can actively heal emotional triggers that would be exacerbated if unhealthy or aggressive behaviors were indulged instead. When paired with gratitude, it’s even more powerful.

Benefits of gratitude

Gratitude is the practice of being thankful; it is especially impactful when used to appreciate the small things in life that we often take for granted, like the ability to see, hear, or breathe. 

Some of the benefits of practicing gratitude include:

  • Improved overall physical health
  • Healthier, more positive mental and emotional health
  • Increased empathy and decreased impatience or aggression
  • Better, more restful sleep patterns
  • Heightened, sustainable sense of peace and joy

The more consistently we practice gratitude, the deeper our awareness and appreciation for life become, and the more our mentality will gravitate to the positive rather than the negative.

Ways to practice kindness

There are countless opportunities within our personal relationships and community (the recovery community specifically as well as your city), and day-to-day life to practice kindness.

Practicing kindness doesn’t have to be complicated — in fact, the most meaningful acts of service are often the most subtle.

Some examples of practicing kindness are:

  • Practice manners and common courtesy (smiling, saying please and thank you, being courteous of others)
  • Holding the door open for someone
  • Helping an elderly person carry or lift something heavy
  • Offering genuine compliments
  • Not interrupting others when they’re speaking

There are countless ways to practice kindness; just remember to be authentic, intentional and kind.

Receive personal support today

Real Recovery Sober Living specializes in sober living programs for adults. We offer transitional housing that provides structure and support while immersing you in an environment that feels like home. 

Real Recovery provides standard treatment programs and medication-assisted treatment programs, each of which offers structured daily activities, individual therapy sessions, and monthly family therapy. We believe full-spectrum care is essential for achieving and maintaining long-term recovery, which is why we integrate a variety of holistic practices into our programs. 

Our top priority is your safety and your comfort, and all housing staff is committed to providing you with the highest level of care and support through every phase of your recovery journey.

To speak with one of our intake specialists directly and learn more about how we can help you, submit a form or call us directly today at 855-363-7325.