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Recovering Joy

How a retreat leads to increasingly positive thoughts

Illustration Credit: The Backwoods Happening by Hollie Chastain

Painful moods and emotions can be confusing: “Am I just sad about a relationship breakup or am I falling into real depression?” “Do I need to change my life or change my attitude?” And, “How long have I been feeling this way?” As I said to my therapist recently, when struggling with my moods, “It’s not unreasonable to take a very negative attitude about much of what goes on in the world.” Sometimes I can talk myself into a bad mood just by reading the newspaper. But when I find that I’m doing that every day, I have to begin to wonder if it’s the world’s fault or my own.Fundamentally, then, one question is whether we are just in a difficult part of our lives situationally, or whether there is an underlying mental state or condition that is feeding negativity into our thoughts and feelings. I’m not sure we can answer a question like that without the help of someone else, particularly a therapist. But a daily mindfulness practice, both as formal meditation and as a check-in throughout the day, can help us to detect if our thoughts are in a rut. Responding to virtually every situation with the same attitude …

Excerpted from Recovering Joy: A Mindful Life After Addiction, by Kevin Griffin. Sounds True, June 2015. Reprinted with permission.

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