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3 Easy Ways To Stay Happy and Motivated in Early Recovery

When someone makes the decision to turn their life around and get clean/sober from drugs and alcohol it is imperative that they enjoy their new way of life. If one is not happy in early recovery it will be very difficult for them to stay clean and sober. There are some easy and free tricks to be happy in early sobriety. This will help keep the person in recovery on the right path and will help them avoid relapsing. When life is fulfilling, lived in the moment and simple pleasures are enjoyed, the idea of using drugs and/or alcohol will be a fleeting thought. Even if you are not in recovery from addiction/alcoholism, these simple tricks to a happy life will improve your overall quality of life.

Set Obtainable Goals
Setting and achieving goals, even ones that may seem minimal, can have a large impact on one's life. Try making a weekly to do list with a variety of tasks on it, some of which can be done in just a few minutes, others that may take some more time. It can be something as simple as " make the bed", "go to a meeting", or "do laundry". Maybe get a bit more difficult like, organize junk drawer, (everyone has one), "meet/talk to someone new" or "go to gym/exercise". When one of these actions is crossed off the list, one will feel a sense of accomplishment which is typically accompanied by a small burst of dopamine. This leads to increased happiness and can also help maximize one's self worth.

You can also try making and completing a monthly goal. You can add in pieces of your monthly goal into daily goals. That way you are working toward achieving that longer term goal every day. This can make it less overwhelming and can also prevent last minute stressors that can occur if you hurry through a project.

Make a Gratitude List
Keeping or going over a list of things you are grateful for is super helpful and only takes a few minutes. You don't need to write or type out a gratitude list, it's fine to just say it outloud or in your mind. I suggest going over at least 5 things you are happy to have in your life, the more the better. Once again it doesn't have to be anything crazy, just anything that brings you any type of joy, peace or happiness in your life. For example, I am currently grateful for:

* A roof over my head
* An amazing wife
* My dogs
* Food in my stomach
* The shoes on my feet and clothes on my back
* The sun in the sky
* My family
* My friends
* Being able to see the stars at night
* The birds chirping outside my window
* Clean socks (a fresh pair of socks is one of my favorite things in the world)

While some things on my list are obviously more important than others, I am grateful to have them all in my life. Sometimes time can really pass us by and we forget about the amazing things we have going right for us. Forgetting about the little things will lead to us taking things for granted. When we reflect on what we hold dear and what makes life good we can become negative and depressed. I personally like to do my gratitude list in the shower every morning, it helps keep me in a routine and it's a great way to start my day.

Exercise/Meditate/Eat Kind of Healthy
Getting into an exercise routine is not easy, especially when it's combined with a strict diet. You don't need to go all in on this, just try to be conscious about what you put into your body and how active you are (both physically and mentally). Just 30 minutes of physical activity 3-5 times a week has been scientifically proven to increase brain activity and helps regulate mood.

Add in good foods; think fruits, veggies, water, tea, eggs and meats. You don't have to become the next Miss America or Mr. Olympia with a hardcore diet, just try to stay away from soda, fast food, ice cream and late night refrigerator visits. You'll notice a huge difference in your overall mood and energy levels in no time, I promise. Meditation is a great way to quiet the mind and the outside world. There are free guided meditation videos available online for anyone doing this for the first time!


Bill Weiss


Pesticide Action Network North America

Seeks to reduce the use of pesticides through more economically viable alternatives.

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Maintaining good health is an essential part of achieving happiness and success in life. Pain and discomfort can stop you from living an active and productive lifestyle, because when the body doesn’t feel good, the mind doesn’t either.

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